Judson University

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Judson University
Judson Logo.gif
Motto Christus Lux Mundi (Latin)
Motto in English
Christ, the Light of the World
Established March 11, 1963
Type Private, Baptist
President Dr. Gene C. Crume, Jr.
Students 1,231 [1]
Undergraduates 1,113 [1]
Postgraduates 118[1]
Location Elgin,  Illinois, United States USA
Campus Suburban
Athletics NAIA
Colors Navy Blue      White     
Mascot Eagles
Affiliations CCCU
The Higher Learning Commission
Colleges of Distinction
Website www.judsonu.edu

Judson University is an evangelical Christian liberal arts university located in Elgin, Illinois, United States. It was founded in 1963. 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 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.[1] Judson College became Judson University on August 28, 2007.


Judson was formed out of the liberal arts component of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), which was founded in 1913.[2] 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.[2] 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.[2] The college was named after Adoniram Judson, the first American missionary abroad, who went to Burma in 1813 and would spend 37 years overseas.[2]

The land where Judson College was founded originally was an estate belonging to Mrs. Margaret Deuterman, a doctor’s widow.[2] 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.[2] Mrs. Deuterman agreed to sell the estate for $100,000, and all she required was $500 earnest money to secure the property.[2] No one else had any cash, except for Browne, who had $5.[2] 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.[2] The college received a charter from the State of Illinois, dated March 11, 1963.[2]

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.[2] 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.[2]

Judson College became Judson University on August 28, 2007.


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.[3]

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.[4] The Master of Architecture degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB),[3] and the Master of Education program is 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.[5]


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 3-5 times a semester along with 1-3 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; men's sports include 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.

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 events[edit]

World Leaders Forum[edit]

The World Leaders Forum 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".[6] All proceeds are donated to the Entrepreneurship Studies Endowment Fund and Judson Student Scholarship Fund.[7] 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.[8][9]

World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series[edit]

The World Leaders Forum Inspirational Series is based on the World Leaders Forum. Its inaugural speaker will be Nick Vujicic, who is planned to speak in October 12, 2015.[9]

Imago Film Festival[edit]

Main article: Imago Film Festival

The Imago Film Festival is five-day film festival held every spring at Judson University.[10] It has been held every year since 2004.[11] 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.[12]

Literacy in Motion Conference[edit]

Judson's School of Education host its annual "Literacy in Motion Conference" in June. This exciting annual 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' Day[edit]

Judson University invites the community to attend its annual Founders’ Day celebration every Fall.


Main Elgin Campus[edit]

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.[2]

The Elgin campus is now host 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.[13]

Rockford Campus[edit]

In 1999, Judson University established a campus in Rockford, Illinois.[14]

Judson University Affiliations[edit]

  • American Association for Higher Education
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
  • American Baptist Association of Colleges and Universities
  • American Baptist Churches in the USA
  • American College Testing Program
  • Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area
  • Association of Christian Schools International
  • Association of Collegiate Conference and Event Directors International
  • Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
  • Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education
  • Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture
  • Au Sable Institute
  • Chicago Area Faculty Development Network
  • Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference
  • Christians in the Visual Arts
  • Christian Stewardship Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education
  • Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
  • Council of Independent Colleges
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Illinois Association for Teacher Education in Private Colleges
  • Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • Illinois Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
  • Illinois Baptist State Association
  • Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education
  • Illinois Regional Library Council
  • Institute of Holy Land Studies
  • International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities
  • National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • National Association of Christian College Admissions Personnel
  • National Association of College Admissions Counselors
  • National Association of College & University Business Officers
  • National Association of Foreign Student Advisors
  • National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
  • National Christian College Athletic Association
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Private Illinois Colleges and Universities


  • Dr. Benjamin P. Browne (1963-1967)[2]
  • Dr. Amos Barton (1967-1969)[2]
  • Dr. Harm Weber (1969-1991)[2]
  • Dr. James Didier (1991-1999)[2]
  • Dr. Jerry Cain (1998-2012)[2]
  • Dr. Gene C. Crume, Jr. (2013-present)[15]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Higher Learning Commission". Ncahlc.org. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Our History". Judsonu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  3. ^ a b "NAAB Website: Architecture Programs (Judson University)". Naab.org. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  4. ^ "Higher Learning Commission". Ncahlc.org. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  5. ^ "Judson University | Best College | US News". Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  6. ^ "Purpose and Vision | World Leaders Forum at Judson University". Judsonu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  7. ^ "World Leaders Forum at Judson University". Judsonu.edu. 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  8. ^ "Past Speakers - World Leaders Forum - Judson University". Judsonu.edu. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  9. ^ a b Krishnamurthy, Madhu (March 27, 2015). "Judson Kicks Off New Inspirational World Leaders Series This Fall". Daily Herald. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Imago Film Festival". judsonu.edu. 
  11. ^ "Judson University’s Imago Film Festival Wraps Its 10th Year - Judson University Christian College". judsonu.edu. 
  12. ^ Krishnamurthy, Madhu (March 11, 2015). "Imago Film Festival Returns to Judson". Daily Herald. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Judson University's LEED Gold-Certified Building on Display for "Green" Elgin Tour | Judson University Christian College". Judsonu.edu. 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  14. ^ "Ten Years in Rockford: Judson University Christian College". Judsonu.edu. 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  15. ^ "Judson University Announces Dr. Gene C. Crume Jr. as President - Judson University Christian College". judsonu.edu. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°3′59″N 88°17′43″W / 42.06639°N 88.29528°W / 42.06639; -88.29528