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Judson University

Judson University is an evangelical Christian liberal arts university in Elgin, Illinois. It was founded in 1913. Judson was formed out of the liberal arts component of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. When the seminary moved from Chicago to Lombard, Illinois, it was decided to make the college separate from the seminary. Originally known as Judson College, it was named after Adoniram Judson, the first American Baptist missionary to foreign shores. The university has campuses in Elgin and Rockford, Illinois, and a student body of approximately 1,300[2]. Judson College became Judson University on August 28, 2007.[3]

Judson University
Judson Logo.gif
Former names
Judson College (1913-2007)
MottoChristus Lux Mundi (Latin)
Motto in English
Christ, the Light of the World
TypePrivate, Baptist
EstablishedFounded in 1913, and established in its current location in 1963.
PresidentDr. Gene C. Crume, Jr.[1]
Location, ,
ColorsNavy Blue      White     
The Higher Learning Commission


Judson was formed out of the liberal arts component of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), which was founded in 1913.[4] In the early 1960s, when the seminary portion of Northern moved from Chicago to Lombard it was decided to make the college an independent entity.[4] Under the guidance of Dr. Benjamin P. Browne, the college and seminary president, Judson College was founded along the shores of the Fox River in Elgin in 1963.[4] The college was named after Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary abroad, who went to Burma in 1813 and would spend 37 years overseas.[4]

The land where Judson College was founded was an estate belonging to Mrs. Margaret Deuterman, a doctor's widow.[4] Mrs. Deuterman was ready to sell the estate at $150,000 to a business that was planning to convert it into an entertainment club, but she was willing to listen to Browne and the other men from NBTS in their effort to use the estate to build the college.[4] Mrs. Deuterman agreed to sell the estate for $100,000, and all she required was $500 earnest money to secure the property.[4] No one else had any cash, except for Browne, who had $5.[4] But Dr. Amos Barton, a college trustee who owned a construction business, had his company checkbook, and he agreed to “loan” the college the $500 needed to secure the property.[4] The college received a charter from the State of Illinois, dated March 11, 1963.[4]

Judson College was financially strapped for most of its first ten years of existence and faced fierce opposition from the trustees of NBTS, other Baptist seminaries, other Baptist colleges, and even from the leadership of the American Baptists.[4] Despite this, enrollment continued to grow, and by its fifth year, Judson was sending more graduates to Baptist seminaries than all the other established Baptist colleges.[4]

Judson College became Judson University on August 28, 2007.


  • Dr. Benjamin P. Browne (1963–1967)[4]
  • Dr. Amos Barton (1967–1969)[4]
  • Dr. Harm Weber (1969–1991)[4]
  • Dr. James Didier (1991–1999)[4]
  • Dr. Jerry Cain (1998–2012)[4]
  • Dr. Gene C. Crume, Jr. (2013–present)[5]


Judson University has more than 60 undergraduate majors, minors and pre-professional programs and is currently the only evangelical Christian college or university to offer a fully accredited graduate program in architecture.[6]

Judson University is the only private Christian university that has an accredited school of architecture in the United States and is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[7] The Master of Architecture degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB),[6] and the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the Master of Arts in Human Services Administration, the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Education in Literacy, the Master of Leadership in Ministry and the Doctor of Education in Literacy program are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Judson was ranked 24th in the list of Midwest Regional colleges by U.S. News & World Report in 2014.[8]


The university offers programs and extra curricular activities in fine arts, including degrees in art and design, music, and concentrations in theater.

The Draewell Gallery, housed in the Harm A. Weber Academic Center, hosts student work as well as exhibits from artists across the country and around the world. The School of Art, Design and Architecture features a Lecture and Exhibition Series each fall and spring semester. Invited artists tend to show three-to-five times a semester along with one-to-three student shows mainly for senior exhibition.

The Judson University Theater Program, directed by faculty members Dr. Brenda Buckley-Hughes, Professor Kimberly Schmidt, and alumnus Dave Hunter, offers a musical, traditional play and a Nowhere Near Broadway production each fall and spring semester. In recent years, the theater program has produced Shakespeare performances and such plays as Steel Magnolias, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and coming October 2011, Children of Eden." Off-Stage Improv is a student-led, school-approved group that performs once a month.

The Music Department at Judson University offers degrees in professional music performance, music education, music ministry, and most recently, music business and entrepreneurship. The university has a variety of performing musical groups including symphonic and orchestral bands, choral groups and ensembles.


Judson is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as well as the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). The university competes in the NAIA Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC). Judson University teams, known as the Eagles; sponsor men's sports including baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.[9]

Judson also offers a variety of summer sports camps open to the community. The camps are designed to give students (through grade 12) the opportunity to develop and enhance their skills in sports in a non-competitive environment. Summer camps offered at Judson include:

  • Soccer Day Camps (Grades K–7)
  • Soccer School of Excellence (Overnight; Grades 5–12)
  • Basketball Day Camps (Grades 1–9)
  • Girls' Volleyball Clinics (Grades 5–10)

University eventsEdit

World Leaders ForumEdit

The World Leaders Forum at Judson University brings recognized world leaders to the Judson University campus each year "to give students a chance to hear an inspiring message, take an active interest in the framework of leadership, understand how leaders develop, and even ask questions and seek advice from someone who has made a global impact on our world".[10] All proceeds are donated to the Entrepreneurship Studies Endowment Fund and Judson Student Scholarship Fund.[11] Past guest speakers have included former U.S. President George W. Bush, former General Secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Mexican President Felipe Calderón.[12][13]

Queen Noor of Jordan is set to be the 2016 keynote speaker at the World Leaders Forum.[14]

World Leaders Forum Inspirational SeriesEdit

The World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series is based on the World Leaders Forum. Its inaugural speaker was Nick Vujicic, who spoke on October 12, 2015.[13][15]

Imago Film FestivalEdit

The Imago Film Festival is five-day film festival held every spring at Judson University.[16] It has been held every year since 2004.[17] The Imago Film Festival showcases independent films dealing with faith issues, and it emphasizes images and stories about the spiritual journey of the human experience through any genre.[18]

Literacy in Motion ConferenceEdit

Judson's School of Education annually hosts its Literacy in Motion Conference in June.[19][20] The conference welcomes hundreds of educators from all over the world to hear from a diverse group of speakers about new instructional methods for elevating literacy in K-12 students.

Judson University Founders' DayEdit

Judson University was founded in 1913, and established in its current location in 1963. It celebrates Founders' Day every Fall to celebrate its foundation.[21][22]


Main Elgin CampusEdit

Judson's 90-acre (36.4 ha) campus is located on the banks of the Fox River, about 45 miles (72 km) west of Chicago. The university campus was purchased in 1963, when Dr. Benjamin Browne visited the original 19-acre (7.69 ha) country estate, known as Braeburn-on-the-Fox, and offered the owner $100,000.[4]

The Elgin campus now hosts to 17 different buildings, among them the new Harm A. Weber Academic Center, established in 2007. The 88,000-square-foot (8,200 m2) Weber Center, which is home to the campus library and School of Art, Design and Architecture, is a LEED Gold certified building and one of the most energy-efficient buildings of its kind in North America.[23]

Rockford CampusEdit

In 1999, Judson University established a campus in Rockford, Illinois.[24]

Notable alumniEdit

Namesake collegesEdit

Judson College (Alabama), a Baptist women's college in Marion, Alabama, is the namesake of his wife, Ann Hasseltine Judson.


  1. ^ "Judson University Announces Dr. Gene C. Crume Jr. as President | Judson University Christian College". 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  2. ^ a b c d "College Navigator - Judson University". Retrieved Oct 5, 2019.
  3. ^ "Quick Facts | Judson University Christian College". 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Our History". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  5. ^ "Judson University Announces Dr. Gene C. Crume Jr. as President - Judson University Christian College".
  6. ^ a b "NAAB Website: Architecture Programs (Judson University)". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  7. ^ "Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  8. ^ "Judson University | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  9. ^ "Judson Eagles". Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  10. ^ "Purpose and Vision | World Leaders Forum at Judson University". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  11. ^ "World Leaders Forum at Judson University". 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  12. ^ "Past Speakers - World Leaders Forum - Judson University". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  13. ^ a b Krishnamurthy, Madhu (March 27, 2015). "Judson Kicks Off New Inspirational World Leaders Series This Fall". Daily Herald. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  14. ^ "2015 Speaker | World Leaders Forum - Judson University". Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  15. ^ "Inspirational Series with Nick Vujicic | World Leaders Forum | Judson University". Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  16. ^ "Imago Film Festival".
  17. ^ "Judson University's Imago Film Festival Wraps Its 10th Year - Judson University Christian College".
  18. ^ Krishnamurthy, Madhu (March 11, 2015). "Imago Film Festival Returns to Judson". Daily Herald. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  19. ^ "Master of Education in Literacy Program Distinctives | Judson University Christian College". Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  20. ^ "Literacy in Motion Conference | Judson University Christian College". Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  21. ^ "Judson University Founders' Day Honored Historic Legacy and a Future Poised for Change | Judson University Christian College". 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  22. ^ "Judson Celebrates Rich History, Bright Future at Founders' Day Events | Judson University Christian College". 2014-09-01. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  23. ^ "Judson University's LEED Gold-Certified Building on Display for "Green" Elgin Tour | Judson University Christian College". 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  24. ^ "Ten Years in Rockford: Judson University Christian College". 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2015-04-16.

External linksEdit