Judson's roots extend back to 1913 and the founding of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. From its very first day, NBTS offered both graduate and undergraduate education to men and women training for the ministry. When the seminary portion of Northern Baptist moved from Chicago to Lombard, Illinois, in the early 1960's, it was decided to make the college an independent entity. Under the guidance of Dr. Benjamin P. Browne, college and seminary president, the "new" college was founded in 1963 in Elgin, Illinois, along the shores of the Fox River. It was named after Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary to foreign shores.
From its birth on a 19-acre private estate, Judson has grown today to a campus of 90-acres of woods and spacious lawns. Sixteen buildings dot the campus including four student residence halls, one of which is also a seven-story classroom and office facility; a campus apartment building; a center for science and mathematics; a fine arts center; an education building; a fitness center; a campus commons; a university center; athletic fields; and as a center of spiritual life, a 430-seat chapel.
A state-of-the-art academic center to house the Architecture and Art and Design Departments and an expanded library opened in the summer of 2007. This facility, the Harm A. Weber Academic Center, employs innovative “green" technology and is one of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings in the U.S.
Judson's first president, Dr. Browne, retired in 1967. Dr. Amos B. Barton served as president through 1969 and Dr. Harm A. Weber from 1969-1992. In 1992, Dr. James W. Didier was appointed president. He retired in 1998, and Dr. Jerry B. Cain became Judson's fifth president. Dr. Cain retired in June 2012. Dr. William Crothers joined Judson in July 2012 as Interim President. Judson celebrated the installation of its sixth president, Dr. Gene C. Crume, Jr. on October 24, 2013.
Judson is an American Baptist-affiliated, evangelical Christian university of the liberal arts, sciences and professions. It is coeducational and offers an associate degree, three baccalaureate degrees; a variety of master's degrees, as well as three doctoral degrees.
In 1994 Judson introduced a new academic program concentrating on continuing education for non-traditional students. Since its inception, the Division of Professional Studies has offered innovative majors with a high level of student service on our main campus and in 1999, a second location was established in Rockford.
Judson's size and intimate campus setting allows for close personal associations among students, faculty and staff. Campus life does not end in the classroom; co-curricular activities provide personal recreation and social development. These include intercollegiate and intramural athletics for men and women, Christian ministries, drama, choir, reach-out teams, student publications, volunteer programs, student government and special campus festivities such as Homecoming and seasonal banquets. A majority of Judson's traditional-aged students live in campus residence halls and apartments.
Judson is also home to the annual World Leaders Forum which has brought such world leaders as George W. Bush, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice to Judson's campus since the event began in 2011. The World Leaders Forum offers our students and area professionals the opportunity to be in the presence of and be inspired by World Leaders and served as a catalyst to raise the capital necessary to begin an Entrepreneurial Studies Program at Judson University.
Today, Judson University is home to over 1,200 traditional and adult professional students from 35 states and 21 countries.
1968 Statement of Purpose
It is the conviction of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees of Judson University that education is more than the acquisition of knowledge. Education is also the growth of an individual that results from the total experience of the living-learning situation involving the experiences in the classroom, the chapel, the residence halls, the athletic fields, as well as other meaningful associations with persons in the University community.
It is the conviction of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees of Judson University that education is at its best when it provides experiences of liberation—that is, when it helps to free persons from bigotry, provincialism, and unexamined belief systems. We consider it imperative for intelligent, searching minds that issues be discussed and options evaluated with humility, since education involves a process of discrimination among alternative answers to the great issues of life. Accordingly, we affirm the values of liberal education, realizing that it is as likely to raise questions as it is to provide answers.
It is the conviction of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees that higher education at Judson University should involve a personal intellectual encounter with the Christian revelation. Viewed from this perspective, both knowledge and faith are dynamic, not static. This is consistent with our belief that it is not possible to have worthwhile education where there is uncritical devotion only to the accepted, the safe, and the sanctioned. Christian education is at its best when it involves consideration of both new and familiar truths. The Christian, above all, should hold unswerving allegiance to honesty and integrity in the pursuit of knowledge.
It is the conviction of the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees of Judson University that Christian higher education should include a consideration of commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It is hoped that every Judson student will experience this commitment during their years at the University.
A Conservative, Evangelical Christian Institution
Judson University is and has been a conservative, evangelical Christian university that represents the Church at work in higher education, equipping students to be fully developed, responsible persons who glorify God by the quality of their personal relationships, their work, and their citizenship within the community, the nation, and the world. In addition, and as stated in the "1968 Statement of Purpose" and reflected in other documents, the academic experience at Judson is founded within the context of the liberal arts tradition.
Judson's faith identity is defined by three foundational principles. First, and as mentioned above, Judson is a conservative, evangelical, Christian university, reflecting the commitment to share God's love through Jesus Christ throughout the world. Second, Judson is a Baptist institution of higher education, and its historical faith perspective shapes its academic and co-curricular programs. Third, the evangelical Baptist commitment provides a learning environment that is predominantly, but not exclusively, Christian.
There are ten qualities that clearly reflect how Judson University Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni are to live out the three foundational principles of the University's faith identity. To learn more about these ten qualities, read Judson's Faith Identity Statement.
We, at Judson University, do not wish to be conformed to the standards of this world, but pray to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Therefore, for the advancement of the Kingdom of God and wellbeing of the Judson University community, we pledge ourselves to strive to embody the fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
- Love. We will seek for others what we desire for ourselves.
- Joy. We will cultivate a deep sense of contentment in every situation.
- Peace. We will exhibit the serenity that comes from our awareness of God’s presence.
- Patience. We will show tolerance when events or individuals behave contrary to our expectations.
- Kindness. We will balance clear standards with a generosity of spirit.
- Goodness. We will strive to live morally upright lives in relation to God and others.
- Faithfulness. We will be trustworthy in our relationship to God and others.
- Gentleness. We will be submissive, teachable and warm in spirit.
- Self-control. We will channel our desires and energies into biblically acceptable expressions.
We humbly ask God to supply through His Holy Spirit, the power and the will to attain these goals.