Three more alternatives to Ambassador University

By Linda Moll Smith

BIG SANDY, Texas-This is the second of a two-part series offering alternatives to Ambassador University's tradition of small, Christian, liberal-arts schooling. The schools featured in the first installment, in The Journal's Feb. 26 issue, were Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich.; Bellevue University, Bellevue, Neb.; and Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.

If you are approaching college age and are trying to decide where to attend now that Ambassador University, because of its closing in two months, is no longer a possibility, here are three institutions of higher learning you might want to consider:

n Wheaton College, Wheaton Ill.: Billing itself as an interdenominational Christian liberal-arts school, Wheaton lies 25 miles west of Chicago. It was founded in 1860 by Jonathan Blanchard and named for community pioneers Warren and Jessee Wheaton.

It enrolls 2,250 undergraduate students who work towards bachelor's degrees in 32 majors and 300 graduate students pursuing master's programs in seven disciplines. The graduate school offers a doctorate of psychology in clinical psychology. Ten courses of study are available at the music conservatory.

Widely known for its programs in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Wheaton also extends itself academically at its Black Hills Science Station in South Dakota and Honey Rock Camp in Wisconsin.

Among its nearly 30,000 alumni are orchestra conductor John Nelson, formerly with the Indianapolis Symphony; Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate; Kenneth Taylor, who wrote the paraphrase that is the Living Bible; and evangelist Billy Graham.

Wheaton College is home of the Wade Center and its collection of the works of seven British authors, including C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; the Center for Applied Christian Ethics; and the Billy Graham Center.

The Artist Series at Wheaton brings to campus celebrated performing artists, including Leontyne Price, Yo Yo Ma and James Galway. The annual Sacred Arts Exhibit at the Graham Center is said to be one of the largest shows of contemporary Christian art.

Contact Wheaton's student development office at (630) 752-5022.

n Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Mich.: This private, four-year liberal-arts institution is south of Detroit, near where Michigan, Indiana and Ohio meet. About 1,200 students from 43 states and 13 countries are enrolled.

Founded in 1844, the school is famous for having never accepted government funds for its operations. The college is widely known for its stand against bureaucracy and dedication to liberal-arts education, free enterprise, limited government intervention and self-determination.

Typical of the school's independent stance is its statement of nondiscrimination: "Hillsdale proudly adheres to a policy of nondiscrimination regarding race, religion, sex and national or ethnic origin, which it has maintained since long before governments found it necessary to regulate such matters."

Hillsdale focuses on public policy. Four week-long seminars are on campus each year sponsored by Hillsdale's critical-issues forum, the Center for Constructive Alternatives. Two-day programs are conducted throughout the country by the Shavano Institute for National Leadership, a policy-analysis organization operated by the college.

Hillsdale offers bachelor's degrees in 26 majors ranging from accounting to theater arts; six interdisciplinary majors from American studies to political economy; and 10 preprofessional programs from predentistry to preveterinary medicine.

Some 80 percent of Hillsdale students receive financial assistance. Academic scholarships are offered for full and partial tuition that are renewable over four years and are granted regardless of financial need. Other forms of financial assistance are available, including athletic, academic and leadership scholarships.

Hillsdale is proud that over the past five years 95 percent of graduates have been placed in jobs or graduate schools within six months of graduation.

Most students live on or near the 200-acre campus. Its 40 buildings include fraternity and sorority houses and student residences. Campus life offers students active fellowship with other students.

Hillsdale has 89 full-time faculty members, of whom 83 percent have terminal degrees in their fields. There are also 35 part-time instructors. With an average class size of 25, the student-faculty ratio is 1212 to one.

Hillsdale is a member of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and offers eight men's and eight women's varsity sports.

In the past five years Hillsdale has produced 18 conference-championship teams and 18 teams that finished 10th or better in the United States, as well as 100 academic and athletic all-Americans.

Contact Hillsdale at (517) 437-4198.

n LeTourneau University, Longview, Texas: The hallmark of this small private college is its distinction as a nondenominational Christian school. Members of its student body of around 2,200 represent 40 church denominations from 46 U.S. states and 27 countries.

Although LeTourneau offers 40 majors, the three largest divisions for which the school is internationally known are engineering and engineering technology, aerospace and aeronautical science and business administration.

Founded in 1946 by entrepreneur, inventor and businessman R.G. LeTourneau and his wife, Evelyn, the school has ranked in the top 10 in its division in a U.S. News & World Report survey of colleges and schools for five years.

Tuition at LeTourneau is $10,220 per year, not including room and board, but 80 percent of students receive some form of scholarship.

About 900 students live on the 165-acre campus, with the remaining attending off campus in Longview and other Texas cities including Tyler, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston.

LeTourneau offers a master's in business management or an M.B.A., which a student can obtain in 23 months, beginning with a bachelor's degree and fulfillment of three prerequisite courses in business, finance and accounting.

LeTourneau has grown every year for the last five years and announced this month that it will add elementary education to its roster of degree programs. Secondary-education certification was already available.

To contact LeTourneau, call (800) 759-8811 or visit its Web site at

Other possibilities

Other possibilities as suggested by those interviewed by The Journal include Golden Gate University, San Francisco, (415) 442-7800; Seattle Pacific University, (206) 281-2021; and Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, Pa., (412) 222-4400.

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