Bethany University

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Bethany University
Motto Wisdom Word Spirit
Type Private; Undergraduate & Graduate
Active 1919–2011
Address 800 Bethany Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066, Scotts Valley, California, U.S.
Campus Suburban
Colors Burgundy and Vegas Gold
Affiliations Assemblies of God USA
Mascot Bruins

Bethany University was a four-year private Christian university located in Scotts Valley, California in Santa Cruz County. It operated from 1919 until closing in 2011 and was endorsed by the Assemblies of God USA, a Pentecostal denomination, and was the denomination's oldest college at the time of its closure.[1] It was formerly called Glad Tidings Bible Institute, Bethany Bible College and Bethany College. It fielded athletic teams, known as the Bruins, and was a member of the NAIA in the California Pacific Conference.


World Missions Globe outside the library at Bethany University.

Bethany University was the oldest of the several Assemblies of God institutions of higher education. It was founded in 1919 as Glad Tidings Bible Institute at 1280 Webster Street, San Francisco, California to be the training school for an inner-city ministry in San Francisco conducted by Robert and Mary Craig. It moved to Scotts Valley, California in 1950. In 1955 it became Bethany Bible College. It became Bethany University in 2005.[2]

Enrollment during the 2010–11 academic year was down to approximately 400 students, a decrease from over 500 in previous years.[3] In addition to a drop in enrollment, the university decreased faculty down to 22 full-time faculty and 50 adjunct faculty in its final years.[1] On June 13, 2011, the university announced plans to close the university effective immediately.[4] Years of poor financial management, poor administrative leadership, and low enrollment were cited as the causes of the university's closing.

Not long after the closure announcement, a San Francisco-based Christian institution, Olivet University, announced that it would lease the Bethany campus and hold its classes there, with the intent to acquire both the Bethany campus and the nearby former headquarters complex of Borland Software for its worldwide headquarters, but those deals fell through by May 2012; Olivet vacated the Bethany campus at that time and remains based in San Francisco. The Bethany campus buildings and grounds were put up for sale by the regional leadership of the Assemblies of God denomination.[5][6]

Bethany University was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) through August 11, 2011.[7]

Academics and accreditation[edit]

The university offered a number of undergraduate programs in Addiction Studies, Biblical and Theological Studies, Business Administration, Child Development, Church Leadership, Communication, English, Liberal Arts, Liberal Studies, Music, Organizational Management, Psychology, Social Science, Sports Management, Teacher Preparation, and Youth Ministries Leadership.[8] The university also offered four graduate degrees, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Arts in Education, Master of Science in Psychology, and Master of Arts in Teaching.[9]

Craig Chapel on the former campus of Bethany University of the Assemblies of God

List of Academic Presidents[edit]

Robert Craig, 1919-1941
J. Narver Gortner, 1941-1947
W. T. Gaston, 1947-1948
Otis W. Keyes, 1948-1950
W. T. Gaston, 1950-1952
T. A. Kessell, 1952-1955
Leland R. Keyes, 1955-1959
Cordas C. Burnett, 1959-1972
Elmer Kirsch, 1972-1973
C. M. Ward, 1973-1978
Richard Foth, 1978-1992
Tommie Duncan, 1992-1997
Everett Wilson, 1997-2003
Maximo Rossi, Jr., 2003-2009
Lewis Shelton, 2009-2011


Cordas C. Burnett Hall

Cordas C. Burnett Hall

Cordas C. Burnett hall was a 3-story men's dormitory on the north east side of the Bethany University of the Assemblies of God Campus. Burnett Hall was named in honor of the previous college president. Each floor was assigned 2 resident assistants (R.A.s) except for the first floor which had less rooms and only required 1 R.A. The south west side of each floor housed a common area for students to gather and watch television. The hall had a communal shower area known as the gang showers. In the 1990s students on the 3rd floor created a shrink wrap wall in the entrance to the showers and began to fill 12 ft by 12 ft space like a swimming pool with water. After water began seeping through the 2 floor ceiling the swimming pool experiment was brought to a close.

May V. Swanson Hall

Swanson Hall was one of the main women's dormitories on the Bethany Campus. Swanson was divided into four halls; Circus Hall, Unity Hall, Victory Hall, and Miracle Hall.

The Hill

There are two women's dormitories located on "The Hill:" Gerhart Hall and Harp Hall. Each two floor dormitory had four suites with five rooms.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b McCord, Shanna (June 14, 2011). "Bethany University will close: Private funding didn't materialize". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ Santa Cruz County Place Names by Donald Thomas Clark. Kestral Press, 2008.
  3. ^ Bethany University | About Bethany - Facts Archived May 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ McCord, Shanna (June 13, 2011). "Bethany University to close, president says". Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ White, Kimberly (August 23, 2011). "Olivet University to take over Bethany campus, begin teaching classes in September". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ White, Kimberly (May 30, 2012). "Olivet heads back to San Francisco; lease ends at Scotts Valley campus". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  8. ^ "Undergraduate Degree Programs". Bethany University. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Graduate Degree Programs". Bethany University. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°04′30″N 121°59′38″W / 37.075°N 121.994°W / 37.075; -121.994