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Multnomah University (MU) is a private non-denominational Christian university in Portland, Oregon, with a teaching site in Reno, Nevada. Composed of a college, seminary, graduate school, and online distance-learning program, the university offers bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements.

Multnomah University
EstablishedFebruary 14, 1936
PresidentDr. Craig Williford[citation needed]
Location, ,
United States

45°31′35″N 122°34′36″W / 45.5265°N 122.5766°W / 45.5265; -122.5766Coordinates: 45°31′35″N 122°34′36″W / 45.5265°N 122.5766°W / 45.5265; -122.5766



On February 14, 1936, Rev. John G. Mitchell called a meeting of Portland-area ministers and Christian businessmen to discuss the idea of creating a Bible school in the Pacific Northwest. Mitchell, working with Dr. B.B. Sutcliffe, Dr. Willard Aldrich and others, founded Multnomah School of the Bible that year.

The following October, classes began with 49 students and a half-dozen faculty in a former mortuary.[1][2]

In 1943, Willard Aldrich became president of the school. At 34, he was the youngest president of a college in the United States.[3] Willard served as president up until his retirement in 1978. During his time as president, Multnomah came to reside on its current campus and became a degree-granting college.[4]

Willard's son, Dr. Joseph C. Aldrich, followed in his father's footsteps and became the next president of Multnomah. He was affectionately referred to as Dr. Joe.[5]

The Multnomah Graduate School of Ministry was founded as a related institution in 1986 and was renamed later to Multnomah Biblical Seminary. In 1993, the college was renamed Multnomah Bible College. On July 1, 2008, the name of the institution was changed to Multnomah University.[6]

Campus locationsEdit

Northeast Portland campus

The original campus was located adjacent to the site of the present Lloyd Center shopping mall in Northeast Portland. In 1952, the school purchased the 17-acre (69,000 m²) former campus of the Oregon Blind Trades School, a branch of the Oregon State School for the Blind, located at NE 82nd Avenue and NE Glisan Street, and the university's main campus still remains there today.[7]

In 2008, Multnomah announced a satellite campus in Reno, Nevada. Today, Reno students can choose from a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology or graduate degrees in Bible, theology, or church leadership.[8] Multnomah's Reno campus is also home to Reno Technology Academy, which exists to resolve the information technology labor shortage in Northern Nevada by providing industry certifications.


In 2009, Multnomah University was named among the top 25 non-profits to work at in Oregon.[9] The Seattle Met, in their 2008 rankings of Northwest colleges, put Multnomah as #6 in the region.[10]

Starting Point for MinistriesEdit

Over its history, Multnomah has been the starting point of several independent ministries and businesses, including: Mission Portland,[11] International Renewal Ministries,[12] and Multnomah Press (now Waterbrook-Multnomah Publishing Group, which no longer has any connection to Multnomah University).[13]


Multnomah offers bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements.

Undergraduate programEdit

MU's Summit program allows students to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology and a Master of Divinity in just five years instead of seven. The university also offers two TESOL certificate options for people wanting to teach English to speakers of other languages.

Graduate SchoolEdit

Multnomah Graduate School offers four Master of Arts programs. There is also an online version of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice degree that kicks off with two weeks of classes in Rwanda or Thailand before transitioning to fully online classes. There is also an online version of the MA in TESOL degree.


Multnomah Biblical Seminary

Students at Multnomah Biblical Seminary are offered a standard track (for those without formal Bible and theology education) and an advanced track (for those with formal Bible and theology training) that eliminates one year of graduate studies.[14]

Students in the seminary program are allowed the opportunity for learning in the classroom and practical application through Multnomah's internship program. Pastoral mentors work with students to help in their ministry training by providing guidance, experience, and constructive feedback.

The seminary also offers a doctoral program, the Doctor of Ministry, which offers several specialized tracks, including: Cross-Cultural Engagement, Contextual Leadership, Global Evangelism, and Youth Ministry.

Online degreesEdit

Multnomah University offers online bachelor's degrees, online graduate degrees, and online seminary degrees.


Multnomah's intercollegiate sports include men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross-country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's track and field, and women's volleyball. The university is a member of both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC).[citation needed]

The men's basketball team holds the NAIA record for three-pointers taken in a game (79) and three-pointers made in a game (29).

Notable peopleEdit




  1. ^ "Our History". Multnomah University. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  2. ^ Balmer, Randall (2004). Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press. p. 396. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  3. ^ "Multnomah University co-founder Aldrich dies at age 100". Christian News Northwest. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  4. ^ "Multnomah Bible School Founder Dies at 100". Oregon Faith Report. Dec 3, 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  5. ^ Haught, Nancy (March 28, 2010). "Books from Multnomah Bible College are bound for Rwanda and a new theological library". The Oregonian. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  6. ^ Richard Koe. "Two More Colleges To Make Jump To University Status". Christian News Northwest. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved Nov 29, 2010.
  7. ^ Balmer, Randall (2004). Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press. p. 396. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  8. ^ "Multnomah University Expands to Nevada". Christian News Northwest. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  9. ^ "100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon". Oregon Business Review. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Northwest College Rankings". Seattle Met. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Our History". Multnomah University. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  12. ^ "International Renewal Ministries". Mission Portland. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  13. ^ "About Us". Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  14. ^ "Degrees Offered". Multnomah University. Archived from the original on 24 April 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2010.

External linksEdit