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Messiah College

Messiah College logo
Motto "Christ Preeminent"
Established 1909
Type Private
Religious affiliation Brethren in Christ Church
Endowment US$99.8 million[1]
President Kim S. Phipps
Provost Randy Basinger
Faculty 170 Full-time
Students 2,900
Location Grantham, PA, USA
40°09′19″N 76°59′36″W / 40.155269°N 76.99325°W / 40.155269; -76.99325Coordinates: 40°09′19″N 76°59′36″W / 40.155269°N 76.99325°W / 40.155269; -76.99325
Campus Rural
Former names Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home, Messiah Bible School
Colors Navy and white         
Mascot The Falcon
Athletics NCAA Division III, the Middle Atlantic Corporation
Affiliations Christian College Consortium, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Middle Atlantic Corporation

Messiah College is a private Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences in the unincorporated village of Grantham in south-central Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church as the Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home.

Messiah's mission is to "educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character, and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society." [2]



Covered bridge on Messiah College campus

Messiah College was founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church, and was originally called Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home. The school moved from Harrisburg to its current location in Grantham, PA in 1911. In 1921 it became a junior college and changed its name to Messiah Bible School. By the 1950s the school offered four year college programs, and changed its name to Messiah College. Messiah discontinued its high school program in 1959 and added liberal arts programs during this period. It was accredited in 1963, and continued to expand its liberal arts programs. In 1968 Messiah College opened its Philadelphia Campus in a unique partnership with Temple University.[3]

Messiah continues to be influenced by its traditions primarily in the Anabaptist, but also the Pietist and Wesleyan holiness movements. President Kim S. Phipps is one of only two female Presidents at a Christian college or university.[citation needed]

In 2003, Messiah College's Harrisburg Institute was founded in downtown Harrisburg, PA. Its purpose is to serve as an academic and research center and connect students with the unique needs of an urban environment. The Institute also provides housing for up to 25 students.


Messiah College offers over 60 majors in five schools: Arts; Education and Social Sciences; Health and Natural Sciences; Humanities; and Mathematics, Engineering, and Business. In addition to major requirements, there is a general education curriculum, required for all students. General education requirements include but are not limited to Bible courses, a philosophy, a literature, a social science, an art course, a world views class, physical education courses, first year and senior seminars, and a class added for 2009 and later graduates called Created and Called for Community.

In 1963 the College was accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.[4] Academic programs in engineering, dietetics, nursing, athletic training, music, social work, and education are each accredited by professional associations.

Messiah College uses the 4-1-3 academic calendar system where the academic year is divided into Fall, January, and Spring Terms. The January Term, or J-Term, is a three-and-a-half-week period where students can choose to take one or two courses intensively, participate in a cross cultural study program, sign up for the popular Skiing and Snowboarding class, or simply stay home for an extended vacation.

Messiah College is named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten best colleges for comprehensive bachelor's degrees in the North.[5]

External programs and affiliations

Messiah College maintains a small satellite campus, known to students as the Messiah College Philly Campus or MCPC, on Broad Street in North Philadelphia. The campus is an academic partnership with Temple University.

Messiah College is a member of the Christian College Consortium and Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.


The Falcon

The Messiah College Falcons compete in NCAA Division III athletics with 22 different intercollegiate athletic teams. Messiah is a member of the Middle Atlantic Corporation. Men's and women's soccer teams won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2005, 2008 and 2009. The men's team won the NCAA Men's Division III Soccer Championship in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. Messiah College is the only college in the NCAA to win both the Men's and Women's soccer National Championship in the same year with their wins in 2005, 2008, and 2009. The women's field hockey team has appeared in the NCAA division III final four twelve times, making four of these appearances in the past five seasons.[6] The college mascot is the Falcon, which was given the name Fandango in 2006.[7] The Women's softball team won the 2009 NCAA Division III national championship.[8]

Spiritual life


The Community Covenant

Students at Messiah College are required to sign a Community Covenant upon entering. The document states that every person is created in the image of God, and that there are certain responsibilities of living in community that must also be assumed in relation to God, others, and his creation.

First and foremost, the Community Covenant affirms belief in God and the Bible. Specifically, the Community Covenant requires commitment to academic integrity, responsible decision making in light of Christian values, and balancing personal freedom with concern for others. Practically, the Covenant bans the usage of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco both on and off-campus. It also prescribes the avoidance of drunkenness, stealing, dishonesty, profanity, and sexual immorality. The Covenant also prohibits certain attitudes, such as greed, lust, and jealousy, but admits that these attributes are typically expressed less outwardly.

The text of the Covenant can be found on Messiah College's website.


The mission of Chapel reads:

"Chapel at Messiah College is a central expression of our identity as a community of Christians with a deep commitment to spiritual growth and academic excellence.
In chapel we seek to nurture holistic Christian faith through:
  • worship that expresses our faith with a full range of contemporary and traditional form
  • teaching that connects God's Word and our world
  • community building that affirms our common identity in Christ and celebrates our diversity"

Students are required to attend 24 chapel services each semester.

Each student is required to have twelve common chapels, however the rest of the necessary 24 can be fulfilled through alternate chapels on a variety of different topics ranging from discussion forums to videos to special speakers.

Student Activities

Students sometimes complain of lack of night life in Grantham[citation needed] and pass the time by joining intramural sports leagues, participating in various clubs, watching on-campus movies, and hanging out at local diners among other things. Underclassmen also participate in floor activities organized by their RAs. The Student Government Association funds 40+ organizations on campus that aim at providing for a co-curricular atmosphere conducive to a holistic education and enjoyable experience while enrolled at both Grantham and Philadelphia campuses. The S.G.A. also provides students with unique access towards influencing governance and overall institutional prerogatives.

Messiah College's Student Activities Board (SAB) is an executive organization that attempts to help students engage with popular culture by bringing different concerts, films, and other forms of entertainment to campus. In recent years, Messiah College has, through SAB, hosted such musicians and bands as Bob Dylan, Counting Crows, Janelle Monáe, Connor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band, Nickel Creek, The Decemberists, Regina Spektor, Iron & Wine, M. Ward, Mates of State, Exit Clov, Feist, Wilco, Rosie Thomas, Copeland, mewithoutYou, Phantom Planet, Erin McKeown, Rilo Kiley, 4th Avenue Jones, Jason Mraz as well as Christian artists Jeff Deyo, Jars of Clay, Cross Movement, Matt Wertz and Out of Eden, among others. They also plan dances, coffeehouses, and other special activities (like outings, Broadway trips, and festivals) for students. SAB hosts a free concert series every Wednesday night, known as "B-sides", which is held in the Larsen Student Union building. Local, indie and up-and-coming bands and artists play every Wednesday night throughout the school year. These concerts are free not only to students, but to the public as well.


Messiah College has, over the years, accumulated a number of traditions. One of the oldest traditions is known as "creeking". This tradition started out as a way of congratulating male students who had recently gotten engaged. The student would be taken to the nearby Yellow Breeches Creek by his friends and thrown in. It is also common for people to be "creeked" on their birthdays.[9] The tradition has been extended to the female population.

The Compassion Forum

The Compassion Forum was a question-and-answer session in which CNN commentators Jon Meacham and Campbell Brown as well as select members of the audience posed questions about Faith and Politics to Democratic political candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.[10] The Forum took place at Messiah College, in Grantham, Pennsylvania on April 13, 2008 and was given live national coverage by CNN.[11] The event was organized by the religious organization Faith in Public Life. John McCain was offered an invitation to participate in the event, but declined the invitation, citing a schedule conflict.

Messiah College in popular culture

Following the US Justice Department Scandal in which Messiah College alumna Monica Goodling was involved, several members of the media ridiculed Messiah. Jon Stewart referred to Messiah as a school "where people have faith that they'll receive a quality education, but somehow it never arrives," and "a savior school," on the July 30, 2008 episode of The Daily Show.[12] Bill Maher took a more issue with her law education at Regent University, but still mocked Messiah, calling it "the home of the Fighting Christies."[13]


Name Known for Relationship to Messiah College
Ernest Boyer Chancellor of the State University of New York (1970 to 1977)

Appointed to various national commissions under the administrations of Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush

1948 graduate
Ray Crist Chemist, Worked on the Manhattan Project. Still writing scientific papers at the time of his death at age 105. 1916 graduate of "Messiah School"
Brennan Swain Amazing Race Season 1 Winner/ Actor 1993 graduate
Monica Goodling Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Justice (2001 to March 2007 — resigned April 6, 2007), involved in Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy 1995 graduate[14]
Chris Boyles Internationally competitive decathlete [15] 2002 marketing graduate
Brian Sell Olympic-qualifying marathon runner.[16]
Chris Heisey Minor League Left Fielder for the Cincinnati Reds 2007 graduate


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "About Messiah: A Brief History." Messiah College. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ Messiah College: The Bridge - Mascot
  8. ^ "Division III Softball History". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  9. ^ "The Bridge -- Yellow Breeches"
  10. ^ - Transcripts
  11. ^ The Compassion Forum at Messiah College
  12. ^ The Daily Show, July 30, 2008, via Hulu
  13. ^ []
  14. ^ McClatchy Washington Bureau | Homepage
  15. ^ Chris Boyles Official Website
  16. ^ Brian Sell

External links


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