Mennonite Brethren in Christ (MBC) founder Daniel Brenneman first called for a training institute in 1893. Then, for many years, J. A. Huffman pressed the case for a Christian liberal arts college, even suggesting the name Bethel, meaning ï¿½house of God.ï¿½ Formal church approval finally came in 1944, and land was purchased in Mishawaka, Indiana during 1946 under the leadership of Q. J. Everest, Seth Rohrer, and Warren Manges. Twenty-seven-year-old Woodrow I. Goodman (1947ï¿½1959) was appointed the first president, at that time the youngest in the United States. Bethel College opened in the fall of 1947 with ninety-four students. During that same year, the MBC became the United Missionary Church. The Administration Building was completed in 1951, the first of many projects dependent upon sacrificial giving and volunteer labor. Bethel established some 11 academic programs during its first decade, capped by the Teacher Education Program in 1955. Intercollegiate athletic programs were approved in 1958, with the first intercollegiate basketball game played in 1959. On March 31, 1971, President Ray P. Pannabecker (1959ï¿½1974) and Dean Wayne J. Gerber welcomed North Central Association accreditation. Bethel College grew steadily until it reached an enrollment of about 500. Bethel College continued moving forward under the presidencies of Albert J. Beutler (1974ï¿½1981), James A. Bennett (1982ï¿½1988), and Walter L. Weldy (interim 1988-1989). Among the more notable additions and innovations were the adult programs, the division of nursing, and the Otis Bowen Library, which anchored a new architectural style. In 1986, the baseball team won the first of what are now some 25 team national championships. Bethel experienced a renaissance under the presidency of Norman V. Bridges (1989ï¿½2004). A dynamic team of administrators, repeated record enrollments, greatly expanded curricular offerings, the hiring of nationally known scholars, an aggressive, aesthetically attractive plan of campus development, and notable periods of spiritual renewal have helped make Bethel College a school of choice for many from the region. In addition to a burgeoning traditional student body, adult and graduate degree programs have helped fuel the growth of the college. With notable new majors in Sign Language Interpreting, Environmental Biology, Criminal Justice, Philosophy, and Spanish complementing traditional strengths in Music, Theatre, Religion, Business, and the service professions, Bethel College increasingly reflects a national and international student body. The college also participates in a broad range of study abroad programs and annually sends out dozens of Task Force ministry teams around the world. Dr. Steven R. Cramer (2004-2013)served as the sixth president of Bethel College. During his presidency enrollment continued to climb to more than 2,100 students, as Bethel continued to rise in its ranking of the Midwestï¿½s Best Baccalaureate Colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Bethel study abroad offerings were expanded; the music department received NASM accreditation; and the campus became more intentional in its multi-ethnic programming. Cramer worked to secure the long-term financial future of Bethel during a period of national economic crisis. The college was able to move forward with multiple building projects, including the Pannabecker Math and Science Laboratories, a new west campus entrance and a renovated Helm, the Lodge residence hall, a renovated Dining Commons, and an enlarged College Bookstore/ Coffee shop. The campus borders were also expanded with the purchase of approximately 13 acres to the south. There were several firsts during this time, such as the appointment of the first two female vice presidents, the launch of online degree programs, the visit from a sitting U.S. President (George W. Bush), and hosting the Missionary Church General Conference. In February 2011, the campus was once again touched by a profound spiritual revival. In 2006, Bethel College was reorganized on a university model, divided into seven schools: Arts & Sciences, Business & Social Sciences, Education, Nursing, Religion & Philosophy, Adult Studies, and Graduate Studies. In 2013, these schools were reorganized and consolidated into two divisions: Natural & Social Sciences, Humanities & Education while the School of Nursing was retained.