Heritage Christian University
|Heritage Christian University|
|Type||Private bible college|
|Religious affiliation||Church of Christ|
|Vice-president||Dr. Bill Bagents, Pat Moon, Philip Goad|
|Location||Florence, Alabama, USA|
|Former names||International Bible College|
The university is governed by a Board of Directors, all of whom must be active members of the churches of Christ.
Heritage Christian University was founded in 1971 as International Bible College when the newly formed Board of Directors asked Charles Coil to become the school’s first president.
Coil soon persuaded Basil Overton, a well-known preacher in the churches of Christ, to become the school’s Vice President. Together, Coil and Overton established The World Evangelist, a monthly newsletter for churches. At the height of publication, The World Evangelist had more subscribers than any other paper in churches of Christ.
Coil remained the university’s president until a decline in health forced his retirement. Dennis Jones became the school’s second president on January 1, 1990. Under Jones’ leadership, the school added a graduate program and changed its name from International Bible College to Heritage Christian University.
In 1996, Jones and company became involved in a series of well-publicized battles with students and former students of IBC, which culminated in a public impeachment campaign led by students through Cultwatch, an organization that monitors religious abuses. Flyer campaigns and sign postings blanketed Florence neighborhoods with slogans such as "IBC LIES!" and flyers delivered to hundreds of homes and businesses in the tri-city area listed multiple grievances and accounts of abuse by school administrators and management.
Charges of harassment using both city offices and local police forces against protesters brought a slew of public condemnation, which threatened at one point to remove Jones and his administration. The public battles continued until police S.W.A.T. units were called in on Easter Sunday church services at the Florence Church of Christ, in order to prevent a former student from speaking at the service.
The former student, Timothy Lee Adams, later filed a notice of intent to bring suit against IBC/HCU, and on July 3rd of 1997 a rifleman fired into his living room in Eubank, Ky as he lay on the sofa, missing him by "13 inches" according to the published account. Several months later, Mr. Adams home was burned in an arson attack.
IBC then went through a very difficult period of reorganization, resulting in the establishment of policies that would bring the school in line with federal and state anti-discrimination statutes such as Title 9. It emerged a few years later as Heritage Christian University.
The school has engaged in annual fundraising events for the past several years, featuring such non-Church of Christ and/or non Christian speakers as former first lady Laura Bush and Mormon, Conservative Media Host Glenn Beck.
These departures from orthodox CofC doctrine have placed the governance of HCU firmly in the right-wing, "conservative" movement--a stance that led to an organized protest by a pro-gay "christian" group of college students in 2009, that led to another use of police to prevent "trespass" by the students onto the privately owned campus and the arrest of several students. 
Heritage Christian University offers a 128-hour undergraduate program leading to a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies. All students major in Bible and may choose a minor in Biblical History, Biblical Languages, Counseling, Family Life (Youth) Ministry, New Testament, or Old Testament.
In the graduate program, the university offers a 36-hour curriculum leading to either the of Arts or the Master of Ministry. Students enrolled in the MA program may choose a major in one of three categories: Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism, History of Biblical Interpretation and Theology, or New Testament and Early Christian Literature. Master of Ministry students have the option of choosing majoring in Ministerial Counseling, Homiletics/Ministerial Care, History of Biblical Interpretation and Theology, and Biblical Studies. Instead of a thesis, MMin students participate in a practicum “that specifically addresses the needs of a Christian community.” On June 27, 2011, Heritage Christian University announced that the school had been approved to offer the Master of Divinity degree.
Heritage Christian University is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. The ABHE is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is recognized as a national institutional accrediting agency for Bible colleges and universities.
The Alabama State Department of Education licenses Heritage Christian University as a private university.
The United States Office of Education Register lists the university, making Heritage Christian University students eligible for grants and federal loans.
The Alabama State Approving Agency recognizes Heritage Christian University for educational benefits to veterans.
Heritage Christian University meets the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization's requirements for eligibility to enroll foreign students.
The Overton Memorial Library services the undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff. The library was dedicated in November 1986 in honor of Basil and Margie Overton and in memory of their son Timothy, who died in 1974. Library holdings exceed 107,000 volumes.
In October 2005, the McMeans Family Reading Area was created in honor of William Delona and Othella Tuten McMeans. The Heritage Marriage and Family Resource Center was created within OML in April 2006 through a grant from the Alabama Marriage and Family Project. In June 2008, the Bagents Family Resource Center was created, honoring the Bagents Family.
The library hosts the Charles Coil Colloquium each spring semester. The lecture, in memory of HCU’s founding president Charles Coil, is “designed to enrich the intellectual climate of Heritage Christian University, its constituency, and the great academic community.” Dr. Frederick William Danker, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, spoke at the inaugural lecture in 2010. Dr. Richard Bauckham, a Senior Scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, spoke at the second Coil Lecture. In 2013, Dr. Thomas Long was the third Coil Colloquium speaker. The Fourth Annual Charles Coil Colloquium is scheduled for Friday, April 4, 2014, and Dr. Ralph Klein is scheduled to speak.
Graduate and undergraduate classes are offered both on campus and online. This option in learning permits students to fulfill other commitments while pursuing a ministry degree.
One dormitory building owned by the university provides living space for up to thirty-two students. Each apartment is complete with living room, bedrooms, bath, and kitchen.
Two buildings located on campus contain both one- and two-bedroom apartments that are available to qualifying students.
The Bible Building was constructed in 1977. This 27,000-square-foot (2,500 m2) academic building contains administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, and auditorium, and a cafeteria.
The Alexander Activities Building, erected in 1978, has a gymnasium for students. The Overton Memorial Library, faculty offices, and a recording studio are also housed here.
The Dr. John Kerr Student Center provides a kitchen, recreation room, television room, and laundry for students living on campus.
Spiritual formation plays an important role on the campus of Heritage Christian University.
Chapel is held from 11:00 to 11:30 am Tuesday through Thursday.
Each student is required to participate in two hours of a Christian service project each week. Students may select from fourteen different ministries including preaching, chaplaincy, Bible class teaching, and youth ministry.
Each year the university hosts ELEVATE, a spiritual enrichment seminar. This conference typically focuses on helping ministers and churches be more evangelistic.
Alumnus of the Year
Beginning in 1985, the University's Alumni Association began to award an annual "Alumnus of the Year" Award. The following individuals have been named "Alumnus of the Year":
2011 Bradley George Johnson (1999) and Ronya Joy Johnson (2000)
2010 Sara Kathryn Lyne Goldman (2000)
2009 James Robert Hall (1979)
2008 James Waverly “Sonny” Owens (1988)
2007 Nigel Murray Milo (1998)
2006 Myra Wade Underwood (1978)
2005 P. Edmund Cagle (1988)
2004 Jerry Bell (1988)
2003 Steve Vice (1992)
2002 Stanley Hubbard (1992)
2001 Austin Vimba (1995)
2000 Tom Leavins (1977)
1999 David R. Short (1979)
1998 Steven Worley (1984)
1997 Phillip Hines (1976)
1996 Randy English (1989)
1995 Gary Marshall (1979)
1994 Chris Ward (1984)
1993 Bobby South (1986)
1992 Daniel Frithjof Steinhauer (1988)
1991 Thomas L. Holiday (1985)
1990 C. Wayne Kilpatrick (1974)
1989 Charles Thompson (1972)
1988 Herschel L. McFarlen (1975)
1987 Glenn Russell Nichols (1977)
1986 Subin Panboon (1973)
1985 John Henry (1973)
- Stories I've Finished Before I'm Dead, Timothy Adams 2009, Freedom Riders Blog Fall 2009
- Graduate Catalog. Heritage Christian University. 2010. p. 28.
- "Heritage Approved to Offer MDiv Degree". Heritage Approved to Offer MDiv Degree. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- "Honor to Whom Honor". Heritage Christian University Blog. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
- "Charles Coil Lectures". Coil Lectures. Heritage Christian University.
- "Alumni of the Year". Alumni of the Year. Retrieved 13 May 2011.