Northwestern College (Iowa)

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For other universities with a similar name, see Northwestern University (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 42°59′56″N 96°03′25″W / 42.999°N 96.057°W / 42.999; -96.057

Northwestern College (Iowa)
NW Logo.svg
Former names
Northwestern Junior College, Northwestern Classical Academy
Motto "God Is Light" (Deus Est Lux)
Established 1882
Type Private
Affiliation Reformed Church in America
Endowment $46.7 million USD (as of 6/30/14) [1]
President Greg Christy
Provost Kent Eaton
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 1,210 (2015-16) [2]
Location Orange City, Iowa, U.S.
Campus Rural, 100 acres (0.4 km2)
Colors Red and White         

Northwestern College (NWC) is a private Christian Liberal arts college with more than 1200 students located in Orange City, Iowa. It is also known as Northwestern IA. It is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America (RCA). Northwestern began as an academy in 1882. It was then upgraded to junior college status in 1928. In 1961, it became the four-year institution it is today.

Northwestern has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1953. [3] In addition, the Athletic Training, Business, Education, Nursing and Social Work programs are accredited by their respective accreditation organizations. [4]

Athletically, Northwestern competes as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Division II, within the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC).

Mission statement[edit]

The college's official mission statement is: "Northwestern College is a Christian academic community engaging students in courageous and faithful learning and living that empowers them to follow Christ and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world." [5]

College community[edit]

Northwestern College is an educational institution made up of approximately 1200 students and 300 faculty and staff [6] located in Orange City, a rural community of 6004 residents in Sioux County, Iowa. [7] The campus itself is a few blocks south of the downtown area, centered on the intersection of State Highway 10 and Albany Avenue.


The NWC community is governed by a Board of Trustees which is chaired by Martin Guthmiller. Approximately half of its members represent the RCA denomination. [8] There is also a Student Government Association. [9]

Greg Christy is the President of the college. He is assisted by a leadership team called the Administrative Council. [10]

President Christy began with NWC in 2008. He had previously served as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, an institution he served at for twelve years. Prior to that, he had held positions on the staffs of South Dakota State University and Iowa State University. Christy holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Simpson College along with a master’s degree in physical education and sports management from Western Illinois University. [11]

Dr. Kent Eaton serves as the college's Provost in an interim capacity. [12]

Campus culture[edit]

Northwestern College expresses its identity as a "Reformed, evangelical and ecumenical" community, viewing these three Christian theological perspectives as complementary and drawing strengths from each perspective to fulfill its mission. [13] Chapel is offered 5 days a week in addition to a student-led Sunday evening praise and worship night. [14]

As an intentionally Reformed, Christian academic community, NWC has adopted a Vision for Learning "rooted in the wisdom of the Bible" where they "view learning as worship, using our minds to better understand, serve and love God's world." An institutional commitment to engagement is an important part of that, by "participating in God's redemptive work" and seeking "to respond to God's call to share the gospel, care for creation and serve Christ in everyone." As a logical outgrowth of that vision, an education at NWC is designed to prepare students to: [15]

  • Trust, love and worship God
  • Engage ideas
  • Connect knowledge and experience
  • Respond to God’s call


There were a total of 1205 students as of the 2014-15 school year - 709 women and 496 men. Roughly half of the student population attending NWC comes from the state of Iowa and two-thirds of its students come from the three mid-western states: Iowa (649 students), South Dakota (102), and Minnesota (90). The top six Christian denominations represented at the college are: Reformed/RCA (265), Lutheran (102), Evangelical Free (94), Baptist (81), Roman Catholic (76), and Christian Reformed (66). More than 10% (157) of NWC students are identified as ethnic minorities or international students. [16]

Student residences[edit]

  • Colenbrander Hall - Men
  • North Suites - Men
  • Fern Smith Hall - Women
  • Stegenga Hall - Women
  • Hospers Hall - Men
  • Bolks Apartments - Uni-gender units
  • Courtyard Village Apartments - Uni-gender units
  • Vanderhill Cottage

Student groups and clubs on campus[edit]

  • Student Government Association (SGA) - A group of elected student representatives and faculty advisors gather weekly to discuss issues about campus and how to improve campus life. [17] In 2009, the group voted to remove trays from the cafeteria in order to save food and liquid waste.[citation needed]
  • The International Club (I-Club) - is open to both international and American students who engage socially and through meetings, events, and trips to learn about one another's cultures. [18]
  • Red Raider Club - A group consisting of current and former athletes and NWC sports fans which supports and funds athletes and athletic projects. [19]
  • Discipleship Groups (D-Groups) - Student led D-Groups meet weekly in each residence hall and student apartment complex to pray, study the Bible, and talk about their faith. [20]
  • The Beacon - A weekly student newspaper which covers topics of interest to the Northwestern Community such as News, Arts & Culture, Sports, and Opinions. It is distributed on Fridays. [21]

Events and traditions[edit]

  • RUSH: A Student Dance Concert performs each year at Northwestern College. RUSH is a completely student-led, student-initiated, student-choreographed dance concert with a cast of close to 200 dancers with experience ranging from 0–20 years. RUSH holds the belief that anyone can dance, so long as they are committed and determined. All who try out are cast, and since its founding in 2004, RUSH has quickly become one of the most anticipated and most popular events at Northwestern.[citation needed]
  • As residence life is a big part of campus life at Northwestern College, each residence hall boasts a number of hall specific traditions.

Academic buildings[edit]

  • Bultman Center for Health, Physical Education and Intercollegiate Athletics, opened in 1995
  • Christ Chapel and DeWitt Music Hall, opened in 1987
  • DeWitt Theatre Arts Center, opened in 2004
  • Korver Visual Arts Center, opened in 2003
  • Rowenhorst Student Center, renovated in 2007
  • Van Peursem Hall
This is Zwemer Hall, the oldest building on campus. It contains offices for the registrar, admissions, financial aid, president, and other administrative departments.
  • DeWitt Learning Commons, opened in 2013

Administrative facilities[edit]

  • Zwemer Hall, built in 1894 and restored in 1997. Zwemer is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. [22]
  • Ramaker Center, renovated in 2014


  • The 2015 edition of America's Best Colleges, published by U.S. News and World Report, ranked Northwestern in a tie for 5th among Midwestern regional colleges. [23] This was an increase from the 6th position in the 2014 rankings.
  • Ranked 5th overall in the field of education by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in its 2015 list of Adoption Friendly Workplaces by Industry. [24]
  • NWC is recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. They have earned this recognition every year since 2008. [25] [26]
  • Named to The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2014. [27] Since 2007, the college has been consistently included on the President's Community Service Honor Roll because of Northwestern's strong commitment to community service. NWC students log thousands of hours of service each school year. [28]

Notable people[edit]


  • Heidi Ackerman (2008) - Music teacher, choral director, professional vocal soloist - A mezzo-soprano with the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus - Fort Meade, Maryland. [29]
  • Dr. Janet (Hassebroek) Guthmiller (1984) - Education administrator, Educator - Guthmiller is the Dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Previously served as the associate dean and periodontology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, director of dental student research and a faculty member at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, and as a faculty member at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. [30]
  • Deb Remmerde-Leusink (2008) - Athlete – Named as Iowa Miss Basketball (2003), a 4-time NAIA Division II All American (2005-08), a 2-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete (2007-08), and the NAIA Division II Basketball Player of the year for 2008. [31]
  • Rob Roozeboom (199?) – Motivational speaker, Founder and President of RISE Ministries - RISE is “an organization that teaches teens and adults how to overcome adversity in their lives.” Roozeboom also shares his insights on the daily radio program, Rise Above Radio, on more than 250 radio stations worldwide and gives motivational speeches nationally. He was Iowa’s 2005 recipient of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Personal Achievement Award. [32] [33]
  • Bob Vander Plaats (198?) - Teacher, education administrator, CEO, author, former state Republican Party gubenatorial candidate, and political activist. Vander Plaats is the president and CEO of the Family Leader - a Christian, social action organization. [34] He is the author of the book, Light from Lucas, published by Tyndale House Publishers. [35]
  • Dave H. Vellinga (1972) - Healthcare executive, CEO - Serves as President & CEO of Mercy Health Network (MHN). MHN consists of 11 owned hospitals, 29 affiliated community hospitals and 142 physician clinics and employs 13,000 employees. He also serves as Senior Vice President for Operations for Catholic Health Initiatives and CEO of Mercy Medical Center (Des Moines, IA) an 802-bed acute care, not-for-profit Catholic hospital. Vellinga was recognized as one of the “10 Emerging Leaders in Healthcare” by the Healthcare Forum in 1990 and received “Ship’s Wheel” award from the Iowa Hospital Association’s in 1991. [36] [37]

Staff and faculty[edit]

  • James Bultman - former college president, later president of Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
  • B. D. Dykstra - former professor, pacifist, pastor, and poet.
  • A. J. Muste - instructor of classical languages in 1905-06; pacifist, labor, and civil rights activist.
  • Jeff Barker - playwright, professor of Theatre and Speech, received the "2006 Iowa Professor of the Year" award.
  • Piet Koene - professor of Spanish who received the "2004 Iowa Professor of the Year" award.
  • Dr. Luke Dahn- assistant professor of Music, an active composer whose work has been performed by the Moscow Conservatory Studio for New Music, the University of Iowa Center for New Music, saxophonist Kenneth Tse, and others. His quintet "Penumbrae" was winner of the 2010 League Composers/ISCM Composers Competition.

Students in the news[edit]

  • Deb Remmerde-Leusink, a 2008 Northwestern College graduate, holds numerous NAIA records including the record for most consecutive in-game free throws in the history of organized basketball. She ended her 133-shot free-throw streak in February 2006. Remmerde later appeared on "The Early Show" where she completed 580 of 585 free-throws, live, in front of a CBS television crew. [38][39]
  • In May 2007 several Northwestern students organized the first annual "Red Letter Festival," which was held in Northwestern's Bultman Center. They used this festival as a support-raising tool for "The Bridge," a shelter for homeless women and children as well as victims of domestic abuse in the Orange City area. The festivities included an art auction, various children's activities, and musical performances by local bands.[citation needed] Also, former student Jim Ellis organized a long distance run as part of the festival. For both the 2008 and 2009 festivals, he ran 61.05 miles from Sioux City, IA to Orange City, IA. Many others joined him off and on along the way.[citation needed] This festival happens once a year during the fall semester, however the festival is no longer associated with Northwestern College.[citation needed]

Missions opportunities[edit]

Spring service projects[edit]

For college students all over the country, spring break means road trips to big cities and balmy beaches. Northwestern students do that too, but some of them pack a hammer. Northwestern College annually sends more than 200 students, faculty and staff in teams to serve with ministries in the U.S. and around the world. SSP teams have traveled to Nicaragua and the Netherlands, to California, New York, Oklahoma and Florida. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities have been frequent destinations. SSP teams build and repair homes, minister in prisons, tutor at youth centers, serve in soup kitchens, live with residents in homeless shelters and more.

Spring Service Projects integrate faith, service and cross-cultural learning within a team setting that also allows for the involvement of faculty and staff. The SSP program benefits both the ministries and the students who serve: The efforts of a variety of ministries are encouraged, supported and helped in tangible ways. In addition, Northwestern students are challenged and strengthened in their faith as they see and experience the gospel being lived out in cultures different than the one in which they live.

Spring Service Projects provide students opportunities to participate in mission work taking place domestically and abroad during annual spring breaks in early March. Students have spent their ten-day breaks serving in city missions, youth hostels, construction sites, disaster relief zones, and low-income schools.[40]

Summer of Service[edit]

The Summer of Service (SOS) program at Northwestern College challenges, prepares and encourages students to be effective Christian servants in the world. It also exists to assist and support missionaries and the communities they work in. Each year, 20 to 25 students serve cross-culturally for at least six weeks in the U.S. or overseas. Past participants have traveled to countries like Croatia, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Malawi, Russia, South Africa and Thailand to serve with mission agencies like The Luke Society, Dublin Christian Mission, Pioneers International and TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission). They have worked in hospitals, orphanages and refugee camps; taught Vacation Bible School and English as a second language; and served in sports and hospitality ministries.

Summer of Service team members return from their summer experiences more aware of the world’s problems and promises and more equipped to wrestle with biblical applications to what they experienced. Often these students remain involved in service and mission, either full- or part-time after graduating from college.[41]

Recent sites served include[42]

Musical opportunities[edit]

Northwestern offers ten unique musical opportunities for students. Three of these are vocal ensembles and seven are instrumental.

  • Symphonic Band [1] is a 60-member wind and percussion ensemble. Members of this ensemble hail from across the United States and from as far away as Taiwan. This group plays a diverse repertoire and goes on an annual tour. Previous tours have taken the group to Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, Venezuela, and Ukraine.
  • A cappella Choir [2] is a 65-member vocal ensemble. Members of this ensemble come from a variety of majors as well as backgrounds. Music is selected from all musical time periods ranging from works by Palestrina to modern pieces by Eric Whitacre. This group has also participated in a performance of Mozart's Requiem. This ensemble's annual tour has taken it to Czech Republic, Southern California, New York State, and Austria.
  • Heritage Singers [3] is a group selected from the A cappella Choir. This group has performed a full madrigal dinner as well as the comic operetta Die Fledermaus and evening opera showcase. In addition to these larger productions, the ensemble also performs character pieces and tours with the A cappella Choir each spring. This group has also performed with the Northwest Iowa Oratorio Chorus in the Messiah (Handel), Haydn's Missa in tempore belli, and J.S. Bach's St John Passion.
  • Jazz Band [4] is a select ensemble consisting of 18 instrumentalists. This group features a variety of jazz styles and composers. This group has been involved in 'Battle of the Bands' with neighboring colleges as well as providing the music for Northwestern's Ballroom Dance each spring.
  • Chamber Ensembles (Brass Quintet, String Quartet, and Woodwind Quintet) [5] are groups that involve Northwestern's best musicians in their respective areas. Each ensemble performs at a joint concert each semester and at special events on campus. These events have included the dedication of campus buildings and for the inauguration of President Greg Christy.
  • Percussion Ensemble [6] is a select group of percussion players. This group includes individuals whose primary instrument is percussion as well as wind players, string players, and vocalists who have experience with percussion. This group performs a variety of music ranging from minimalist music to phase music and a variety of other genres.
  • Chamber Orchestra [7] is a group of 25 string players. This group performs several times each year. Music is chosen from earlier periods as well as the 20th century. This group also includes wind players for an occasional performances when the music calls for them.
  • Women's Choir [8] is a group of 40 musicians. This ensemble performs music from the Renaissance through the 20th century. This group also took part in the chorus of Northwestern's Award-Winning Original Musical "Terror Texts".


Northwestern College teams are known as the Red Raiders. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.[citation needed]

Outdoor sports such as football and track are played at DeValois Stadium.

Club sport teams include dance and in years past men's lacrosse.[citation needed]

National championships[edit]

  • 1973 - Football - NAIA
  • 1983 - Football - NAIA [43]
  • 2001 - Men's Basketball - NAIA Division II
  • 2001 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division II
  • 2003 - Men's Basketball - NAIA Division II
  • 2008 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division II
  • 2010 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division II
  • 2011 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division II
  • 2012 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division II

The 2001 "double" (men's and women's basketball titles) was the first time that an NAIA school accomplished the feat, and at the time only the second in collegiate history (Central Missouri State previously accomplished the feat in 1984; the University of Connecticut would later accomplish the feat in 2004).[citation needed]

National runners-up[edit]

  • 1972 - Football - NAIA
  • 1979 - Football - NAIA
  • 1984 - Football - NAIA [44]
  • 1992 - Men's Basketball - NAIA Division II
  • 2000 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division II


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External links[edit]