Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University
Former names
Beulah Heights Academy and Bible School
Oklahoma Holiness College
Oklahoma Nazarene College
Bethany-Peniel College
Bethany Nazarene College
Motto "Character, Culture, Christ"
Type Private
Established 1899
Affiliation Nazarene
Endowment $17,167,060[1]
President Loren P. Gresham
Vice-president Melany Kyzer (Academic Affairs)
Students 2,110
Undergraduates 1,656
Postgraduates 454
Location Bethany, Oklahoma, U.S.
35°30′50″N 97°37′51″W / 35.513940°N 97.630920°W / 35.513940; -97.630920Coordinates: 35°30′50″N 97°37′51″W / 35.513940°N 97.630920°W / 35.513940; -97.630920
Campus Suburban 200 acres
Colors Crimson and Gold          
Athletics NCAA Division IIGAC
Nickname Crimson Storm
Mascot Thunder Cat
Affiliations CCCU, NAICU, NCACS

Southern Nazarene University (SNU) is a Christian liberal arts college located in Bethany, Oklahoma, United States.


Centennial Plaza

The history of the institution is one of various mergers and, therefore, one of differing institutions.[2] While SNU claims its founding date as 1899, that founding date refers to an institution that merged with what is now SNU: Texas Holiness University. As an Oklahoman institution, SNU dates back to 1906, with the founding of the Beulah Heights Academy and Bible School.

The roots of the original Southern Nazarene University are primarily in an orphanage of downtown Oklahoma City, founded by Miss Mattie Mallory. Mallory used her inheritance to buy property north of the city, which she named Beulah Heights, and relocated the orphanage there. Then, in 1906, the Beulah Heights Academy and Bible School opened. In 1909, the school was renamed Oklahoma Holiness College[3] and new property was purchased to the west of Oklahoma City at Bethany.[4] That same year the surrounding holiness community became Nazarene and, as its church base swelled, the school’s financial problems "proved less threatening than those at other institutions."[5] The school eventually changed its name in 1918 to Oklahoma Nazarene College,[6] when the first Nazarene Educational Regions were established.[7]

When Peniel College merged with Oklahoma Nazarene College in 1920, the name changed to Bethany-Peniel College.[4] Peniel was the first of four fellow Nazarene institutions that would be absorbed by the Oklahoma school. The second institution was Central Nazarene College, another Nazarene school in Texas, in 1929. Two years later, Arkansas Holiness College was absorbed by Bethany-Peniel. The last merger was Bresee Theological College, in 1940. As historian Timothy L. Smith wrote, "It eventually outdistanced and absorbed the schools at Hutchinson, Kansas, Peniel and Hamlin, Texas, Vilonia, Arkansas, and Des Arc, Missouri. Bethany became the Nazarene center for the whole Southwest.”[8]

In 1955, the name changed again from Bethany-Peniel College to Bethany Nazarene College (BNC) to avoid confusion with the term "penal" or "penal colony",[6] and again in 1986, from Bethany Nazarene College to Southern Nazarene University (SNU).[9]


The main campus is located in Bethany, Oklahoma. Since 1990, SNU has also maintained a presence in Tulsa, providing adult and professional programs.[10][11]


SNU is one of eight regional[12] U.S. liberal arts colleges[13] affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. SNU represents the "South Central Region." In terms of the Church of the Nazarene, the "South Central Region" comprises the Northwest Oklahoma, Northeast Oklahoma, Southwest Oklahoma, Southeast Oklahoma, Texas-Oklahoma Latino, West Texas, South Texas, Dallas, North Arkansas, South Arkansas, and Louisiana districts, which include Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.[14] Each college receives financial backing from the Nazarene churches on its region; part of each church budget is paid into a fund for its regional school. Each college or university is also bound by a gentlemen's agreement not to actively recruit outside its respective "educational region."[15]

Southern Nazarene is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU)[16] and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).[17] SNU has also been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1956.[18]


SNU provides students undergraduate degree options in several different fields of interest.[19] It also offers three graduate degrees[20] and seven professional programs for adults.[21] Southern Nazarene is an open admissions college,[22] meaning that all who apply with a high school diploma are accepted without regard to course grades or standardized test scores; the 2007 acceptance rate for students who applied to the college was 100 percent.[23]

AAUP censure list

In 2005, the American Association of University Professors took SNU off its censure list.[24] SNU was placed on the list in 1987 after eight faculty members were irregularly terminated in 1986. Discrepancies in the reasons for their termination led the AAUP to investigate: the initial reason given was that of financial difficulty on the part of the institution, due to a decline in student retention and the resulting drop in enrollment, while the reason given later was one of unspecified performance deficiencies in the terminated faculty members.[25] SNU eventually offered some of the terminated faculty members monetary compensation but remained on the list for 18 years, until its administration had drafted academic tenure procedures that met AAUP standards.[26]

Graduation reports

A report released in April 2008 found that, of the U.S. institutions surveyed based on data provided under the 1990 Student Right-to-Know Act, SNU had the 17th-largest gap between the average graduation rate for white students and the average graduation rate for black students. White students had an average graduation rate of 50 percent, 7 points below the national average for all students, while black students at SNU were found to have an average graduation rate of 14 percent, 35 points below their white peers. 11 percent of the student population at SNU is black.[27]

In a separate report issued in 2009 by the American Enterprise Institute, SNU was found to have the 8th-highest graduation rate among noncompetitive institutions in the U.S., with an average graduation rate of 54 percent. Noncompetitive institutions were defined in the report as institutions that "require only evidence of graduation from an accredited high school" for admission.[28]

Student life

There were 2,090 students at SNU in 2007, 1,656 of whom were undergraduates.[29] SNU provides on-campus apartments and various dormitories. All students under the age of 22 must live on-campus, although exceptions are made for local students living with families. The housing options include Bracken Hall and Chapman Apartments for upperclassmen,[30]

Oklahoma! in 2006

As at most Christian colleges, there is an emphasis on spiritual development at SNU. The Office of Spiritual Development is presided over by a Vice President (VP) of Spiritual Development and Chapel services take place each Tuesday and Thursday in Herrick Auditorium. Students are required to go to 27 of 30 chapels offered. There are also alternative chapel credit opportunities available to students: missions trips, community service projects, and regular church attendance. Chapel speakers and musical groups are arranged by the VP of Spiritual Development. The Office of Spiritual Development work with the SGA Campus Ministries leaders to provide special class chapels and spiritual life retreats.[31]

Inside Herrick Auditorium

The Student Government Association (SGA) coordinates events and services for students. The SGA is broken up into four councils executives: Campus Ministries, Athletic Relations, Publicity, and Social Life, as well as the Office Administrator and Student Body President, along with the editors for the two SNU publications the campus newspaper, The Echo, formerly The Reveille Echo, and the campus yearbook, The Arrow. Each SGA "exec", save the Office Administrator and the Student Body President, preside over sub-councils and have a representative on the class level.[32] The SGA councils are responsible for hosting school activities, including the SNL (Southern Nazarene Live) talent contest, T.W.I.R.P., Heart-Pal Banquet, Junior-Senior Banquet, class chapels, and class parties.

Alma Mater

The lyrics for SNU's current Alma Mater were written by a committee in 1940. This committee was composed of Alice Crill, Hoyle Thomas, Marjorie Crooks, Kyle Crist, Dave McKibbon, and Madge Posey. The lyrics were revised by J. Michael Crabtree, Class of 1972, in 1986 to reflect the university's name change from Bethany Nazarene College to Southern Nazarene University. The tune used to accompany the lyrics is Annie Lisle, an 1857 ballad composed by H.S. Thompson.[33]


Of all the schools in this fair land ,
There's one whose name we praise,
She's founded on ideals of right,
To Her our songs we raise.
Alma Mater, Alma Mater,
Hail, all hail to you.
Red and white stand for the light
Of dear old SNU.
We'll work for her, we'll fight for her,
Be loyal, brave, and true.
We'll bring her fame, and grace her name,
In everything we do.
Though many ways, our paths may lead
When we from school depart,
Let faith in God now burning bright,
Remain in every heart.


SNU football stadium

SNU is a member of the Great American Conference (GAC), in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division II level. SNU offers 17 sports for men and women: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, indoor track, soccer, tennis, track and field, softball, and volleyball.[34] SNU also competes in cheerleading.[35] There are five facilities and sites for athletic competition and training, including the Sawyer Center (1998) for basketball, volleyball, indoor track, commencement, and other ceremonies, McFarland Park Stadium (2001) for football, the Claud & Betty Cypert Athletic Complex (2000) for baseball and softball, the Wanda Rhodes Soccer Complex (1978), and the tennis courts (1985).

Southern Nazarene University also has an equestrian center where students can learn the basics of horsemanship or move into more specialized fields of study.[36] The SNU Equestrian Center is "committed to furthering the education of men and women looking for a career in the Equine Industry," which they do by offering classes like Equine Anatomy, Introduction to Equine Studies, and Introduction to Equine Reproduction.[37] Additionally, the SNU Equestrian Center offers students the opportunity to try out for the Equestrian Team. Both English and Western riders can try out, and those who make the team participate in events sponsored by the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association[38]

The mascot has been the "Thunder Cat" since 2003, the colors are crimson and white,[39] and the athletic nickname is the Crimson Storm. Until 1999, the nickname was the Redskins, but SNU officials adopted the Crimson Storm as a response to concerns that the term "Redskins" as an athletic mascot was derogatory to Native Americans.[40][41] The athletics program at SNU began in 1964, when it was still known as BNC, with the creation of a men's basketball team.[42]

Of note, the SNU football team has not won a game since November 2012,[43] when it played the controversial non-accredited College of Faith.[44]

Notable persons

Several SNU alumni have become notable as academics, politicians, and leaders in the Church of the Nazarene. Alumna Linda N. Hanson is currently the 19th president of Hamline University. Alumnus Gary Hart is a politician and former U.S. Presidential candidate, Howard Hendrick is an Oklahoma state politician, and Kenny Marchant is a Republican from Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. Alumnus Boyd Matson, adventurer and journalist, former host of National Geographic Explorer and NBC Weekend Today shows and other television and radio broadcasts.

Alumni Jerry D. Porter, J. K. Warrick and Talmadge Johnson are general superintendent emeritus, who are all former Nazarene general superintendents.

Angelo Cruz was a professional basketball player who played for the Puerto Rican national basketball team.

Ryan Daniel Dobson was an actor, director, and writer of the film Prattle and has appeared in the TV series How I Met Your Mother and Castle (TV series).


  1. USNews & World Report Guide to Best Colleges: Southern Nazarene University
  2. "Why These Schools? Historical Perspectives on Nazarene Higher Education," by Stan Ingersol. Ingersol treats each of these institutions separately in his historical overview of the Nazarene schools.
  3. Raser, Harold E.; Thomas C. Hunt, James C. Carper, eds. (1996). Religious Higher Education in the United States. Taylor & Francis. p. 550. ISBN 0-8153-1636-4.
  4. 1 2 "American Universities and Colleges".
  5. "Why These Schools? Historical Perspectives on Nazarene Higher Education
  6. 1 2 "Oklahoma Holiness College - SNU Archives". Southern Nazarene University, Bethany & Tulsa, Oklahoma - Character - Culture - Christ.
  7. Cameron, James R. (1968). Eastern Nazarene College—The First Fifty Years, 1900-1950. Kansas City: Nazarene Publishing House. p. 131.
  8. Timothy L. Smith, Called Unto Holiness, pp. 226–227. found in "Why These Schools? Historical Perspectives on Nazarene Higher Education," by Stan Ingersol
  9. HLC of NAC: SNU profile. Changed after the re-arrangement of educational regions in the late 1960s, but reflects neither locale nor regional affiliation. Trevecca is the Nazarene college for the traditional American "South" and, by U.S. News & World Report's definition, SNU is located in the "West".
  10. Gillham, Omer (March 13, 2001). "Southern Nazarene expands Tulsa site". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  11. Evatt, Robert (September 1, 2010). "School means business: Regal Plaza expects boost from SNU". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  12. "Nazarene Educational Regions" (PDF).
  13. Nazarene higher education is based on the liberal arts model rather than that of a research university. LIBERAL ARTS AND THE PRIORITIES OF NAZARENE HIGHER EDUCATION by J. Matthew Price, Ph.D.
  14. "South Central Region" (PDF).
  15. Guidelines and Handbook for Educational Institutions of the Church of the Nazarene (PDF). Church of the Nazarene International Board of Education. 1997. p. 14.
  16. "Council for Christian Colleges & Universities - 404 - Page Not Found".
  17. search. "NAICU - Page Not Found".
  18. "Higher Learning Commission".
  19. 2008 SNU Traditional Undergraduate Catalog
  20. 2009 SNU Graduate Catalog
  21. 2009 SNU Adult Studies Catalog
  22. "Southern Nazarene University - SNU - The College Board".
  23. "Southern Nazarene University". Guide to Best Colleges. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
  24. Academe Online. July-August 2005. "Censure Actions".
  25. AAUP Report on Southern Nazarene University
  26. AAUP Committee A Report 2004-2005
  27. "News Archive".
  28. "Diplomas and Dropouts, Which Colleges Actually Graduate Their Students and Which Don’t"; American Enterprise Institute; June 2009; Frederick M. Hess, Mark Schneider, Kevin Carey, Andrew P. Kelly
  29. "Search for Schools, Colleges, and Libraries". U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
  30. SNU: Housing Changes 2009
  31. "Chapel @ SNU". Southern Nazarene University, Bethany & Tulsa, Oklahoma - Character - Culture - Christ.
  32. "SNU sga". SNU sga.
  33. "SNU Commencement Program" (PDF).
  34. "SNU Sports Page".
  35. "SNU Cheerleading".
  36. SNU Equestrian Center.
  37. Programs & Courses.
  38. Equestrian Team.
  39. "Sooner Athletic Conference Athletics".
  40. Murray Evans, "A Storm on the Horizon: SNU Changes Nickname, Mascot", The Oklahoman, April 22, 1998.
  41. "Burying the Mascot Hatchet".
  42. "SNU Sports: About the Crimson Storm".
  44. "[OC] Are there two fake schools operating on the periphery of CFB? Learn about College of Faith & University of Faith".

Media related to Southern Nazarene University at Wikimedia Commons

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.