Multnomah University

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Multnomah University
Type Private
Established February 14, 1936
President Dr. Craig Williford
Undergraduates 600
Postgraduates 260
Location Portland, Oregon, USA
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

Multnomah University (MU) is a non-denominational Christian university in Portland, Oregon, United States. Multnomah consists of a college, graduate school, seminary and Degree Completion Program, and the university offers bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in a wide range of fields.


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]

His 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 overarching name of the institution was changed to Multnomah University.[6]

Campus locations[edit]

Southeast 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, which is the location of one of the university's current campus.[7]

In 2008, Multnomah announced a satellite campus in Reno, Nevada. Today, Reno students can earn Multnomah's famous Bible and theology degree or choose from several seminary degrees.[8]


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 Ministries[edit]

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 is a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate level granting institution. Multnomah offers four kinds of programs: undergraduate, graduate, seminary and adult degree completion.

Undergraduate program[edit]

Multnomah undergraduate students can choose from a wide range of majors including: Accounting, Bible and Theology, Biology, Business, Business and Organizational Psychology, Educational Ministries, English, Global Studies, Greek, Hebrew, History, Music, Pastoral Ministry, Pre-Law, Psychology, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Youth Ministry.

MU's signature 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 School[edit]

Multnomah Graduate School offers four graduate degrees: Master of Arts in Counseling, a Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice, and a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. 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 before transitioning to fully online classes.


The Multnomah Biblical Seminary

The seminary offers numerous masters programs: Master of Arts in Applied Theology, Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Divinity and Master of Theology.

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 push-back.

The seminary also offers a doctoral program, the Doctor of Ministry. Students may choose one of six emphases: Church Revitalization, Cross-Cultural Engagement, Missional Leadership, Global Evangelism, Spiritual Formation or Youth Ministry.[15]

Degree Completion Program[edit]

Adult students coming into Multnomah with 48 credit hours or above and significant professional work experience can enroll in MU’s adult degree completion program. The program allows students to continue full-time employment while finishing their undergraduate education by attending classes only one night a week, and working with a cohort of other students. Students can choose from four majors: Applied Psychology, Biblical Studies, Business Management or Leadership and Ministry.


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

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Bruce Wilkinson, author of The Prayer of Jabez, founder of Walk Thru the Bible
  • Rick McKinley, noted Pastor, Author, and Speaker.
  • Paul Louis Metzger, noted theologian, founder of The Institute For The Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins,[17][18] member of the Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, NJ.
  • Garry Friesen, author of the widely successful book Decision Making and The Will of God.


  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. 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. 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. 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. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "Degrees Offered". Multnomah University. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  16. ^ "Rick McKinley". Zondervan Publishing. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  17. ^ "Paul Louis Metzger". New Wine New Wineskins. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  18. ^ Metzger, Paul. "What Is Biblical Justice". Leadership Journal. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]