Strategic Plan - Extending Our Heritage


Extending Our Heritage

On Christmas Day 2014, we begin a one thousand-day countdown to the celebration of our transition in identity to Greenville University. While there is much to celebrate, identity as a university is not our ultimate goal; our goal is to use that identity to extend our heritage to new generations of students. This echoes prior times in Greenville College’s history when clear identification of “who we are and what we do” paved the way for meeting emerging educational needs. 

In 1947, for example, the North Central Association first fully accredited Greenville College and identified it as a “college of quality.” For persons unfamiliar with the College, the designation immediately clarified its capabilities and answered questions about Greenville College even before they were asked.

The College emerged from that rigorous accreditation process with a compelling mission statement that drew key elements like Christian service and blended faith and learning from its Wesleyan and Free Methodist backgrounds. In short order, two new groups of students benefited from the stamp of excellence and the well-defined mission – World War II veterans who returned from overseas with a host of unique educational needs, and public school teachers faced with new professional standards that included a bachelor’s degree.

The timeless themes that shaped our responsiveness to the needs of these students and others from generation to generation remain central to the mission, vision and core values we hold today and take with us into the future.


Extending . . .

Our Mission

Greenville College empowers students for lives of character and service through a transforming Christ-centered education in the liberal arts, sciences and professional studies.

Our Vision

Greenville College believes that God created each of our students to uniquely shape the world!

Therefore, we:

  • Offer a transformational Christ-centered educational experience that empowers, enriches and endures
  • Focus on the development of the whole person so that each student thrives spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, relationally and physically
  • Inspire our students to embrace God’s Call
  • Give our work as worship and welcome the presence of the risen Christ to fill us, equip us and send us

This is Greenville College, and we invite you to join our community.

Our Institutional Core Values

A Christ-Centered Education 

Greenville College’s roots lie in the Christian college movement of nineteenth-century America that was concerned to provide an education centered in the implications of the life, death and resurrection of Christ. This means that the backdrop of God’s work in Christ – through acts of creation, redemption and restoration – frames the educational process both in and out of the classroom. It also suggests that education is never for its own sake but is seen as part of the larger bending of the created order back to God and to God’s purposes in and through Jesus Christ.

An Open-Minded and Welcoming Community

Greenville College recognizes and welcomes each person as a key part of the larger group – a group that loves, respects, and supports its members. While the community advocates certain standards for its members, it also values each individual’s identity and strives for openness regarding each one’s background and experiences. In cultivating an environment that welcomes diversity of opinion and tradition, Greenville College promotes open-mindedness and authentic actions of hospitality among its students, faculty and staff.

Holistic Teaching

Greenville College aims to facilitate the transformation of students through teaching. By following the scriptural admonition to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, faculty take this mandate into the classroom as they teach from the heart to instill a Christ-like character in their students. They strive to impart authoritative and contemporary knowledge in the discipline of the mind as well as inspire passion in their students for a chosen vocation.

Global Awareness

Greenville College challenges students and faculty to demonstrate awareness, sensitivity, and responsiveness to differences across cultures, social practices and religions. This also means we keenly recognize the interconnectedness of God’s people. In addition, Greenville College stresses to its community the need for reaching out to other cultures and nations in order to address the world’s problems.

Creative and Critical Thinkers

Building on the foundation of the liberal arts, Greenville College models and fosters a creative and critical approach to ideas and challenges. Through an academically rigorous curriculum, faculty members encourage original and imaginative thinking while valuing disciplined and reasoned analysis.

Character and Service

Greenville College challenges students to know themselves, recognize their identity through self-discovery, and the development of the special talents they have been given by God. We strive to instill students with skills of introspection that allow them to constantly evaluate their character and develop a deep awareness of how they can look outside of themselves and meet the needs of others. Students best realize their potential through the lifelong practice of serving others. 

Our Institutional History

When the Free Methodists of Central Illinois acquired Almira College in 1891, they gained a neglected, but useful, four-story building on a 10-acre campus. The Greenville site suited their plans to educate young men and women with a blend of learning and religion that church leaders advocated.

The “Father of Free Methodism” B.T. Roberts believed deeply in the Christian liberal arts college. “Education and religion should by no means be separated,” he said. The new owners of Almira College believed the same. They soon renamed the school Greenville College and installed Wilson T. Hogue as its first president in 1892.

A pastor and accomplished scholar, Hogue had already helped build a Christian liberal arts college in New York. Over his 13-year tenure in Greenville, he proved masterful at bringing clarity and purpose to this fledgling school. His sound grasp of Christian culture, clear definition of policy, and skillful administration left such a mark that later, one observer proclaimed, “Greenville College stands as a living monument of Wilson T. Hogue.”

Today, that monument consists partly of a 50-acre campus with spaces that facilitate learning, computing, performance and practice, art exhibition, athletics, science and research. It also encompasses study abroad on various continents and a “virtual” community that reaches far beyond campus and across the world to connect students with faculty and other students.

This global reach echoes the keen awareness of international influence that permeated campus during the College’s first 50 years. Then, with many students preparing for missionary work, the college community stayed tuned to its graduates’ activities overseas. In 1924, for example, when an alumnus/physician arrived in Peking to serve with a medical college, a student reporting the news observed: “In this way, the influence of our institution for God and Righteousness is being extended from year to year to the far corners of the earth.”

The “living” parts of Hogue’s monument are today’s students who fully engage in pursuits that fulfill his vision for “true and thorough Christian education.” Their learning takes place on campus, online, and across the world in places like Rwanda, Costa Rica, Israel and Uganda. In recent years, these have also served as host sites for a Greenville College education.

Our Faith Commitments

Greenville College is strengthened through its connections to the Free Methodist Church, its rich Wesleyan theological heritage, and its call to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Centered on Christ, we are determined not to stray from this path. The following convictions briefly summarize our identity, shape our practices and point to our destinations.

We embrace:

  • the Bible as the authoritative rule for faith and life
  • the historic forms and rituals of the church
  • the evangelical missionary impulse, which preaches the gospel of Jesus
  • the continuing search for truth in all arenas
  • the affirmation of the good
  • the preeminence of Jesus Christ
  • the active ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all people
  • the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty
  • the ministry of love through works of service and mercy as the goal of Christian practice
  • the struggle for freedom and justice in all parts of the earth
  • the necessity of an individual encounter with and commitment to God in Christ

Our Distinctives

When we celebrate our transition in identity to Greenville University, we will celebrate our capacity to provide distinct opportunities for students to learn, grow, practice, perform, and excel. Recent distinctions include:

  • 90% admittance rate of applicants to medical schools,
  • 98% successful completion rate in over 60 years for engineering students enrolled in University partnership programs,
  • 96% first-time passage rate for graduate students taking the Illinois State Reading Specialist Test,
  • 30 athletic conference league championships and 4 conference tournament championships in the last 15 years
  • Consistent ranking as a top regional college in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges.”

Our Distinct Innovation and Agility

Greenville College was the first U.S. campus with fully wireless network capabilities and one of the first two strengths-based campuses in the U.S. It also offers:

  • 3 Year Degree options for motivated students
  • Early access for students to advanced instrumentation in chemistry and physics programs
  • Unique learning opportunities on and off campus throughout the year

Our Distinct Community Engagement

Greenville College has gained recognition in the contemporary Christian music community for its acclaimed alumni musicians including Jars of Clay, Augustana, Paper Route, The Madison Letter, and Stephanie Smith. On campus, students enjoy the strengths of community through:

  • A low student-to-professor ratio
  • Opportunities for collaboration with professors on research, research presentation, and publication
  • 38 weekly student-led Bible studies
  • Frequent opportunities for engaging dialogue with guest speakers, including nationally-acclaimed authors and leading figures in business and ministry
  • Community-wide focus on “character and service” that draws frequent conference recognition of athletes for sportsmanship.

Our Distinct Focus on the Future

75% of our faculty members have earned doctorate or terminal degrees, a continual march forward initiated by Greenville College’s longest serving president, Dr. H.J. Long. Future-focus has also proved rewarding in other areas:

  • A new eight-lane track plus ten NCCAA national championships in 15 years for the men’s track program sets the stage for future championship runners.  
  • A building dedicated to digital media plus 35 American Advertising Award medals and four Best of Show honors since 2010 pave the way for further engagement in this popular field.
  • 94% of alumni reporting full-time employment or enrollment in graduate school within 9 months of graduation affirms our focus on preparing students for life after college.

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