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 1,205 (2014-15) [2]
Location Orange City, Iowa, U.S.
Campus Rural, 100 acres (0.4 km2)
Colors Red and White         

Northwestern College is a private Christian Liberal arts college 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]


Northwestern College is located in Orange City, a rural community of 6004 residents in Sioux County, Iowa. [5] The campus itself is centered on the intersection of State Highway 10 and Albany Avenue.


The college's official mission statement is as follows: "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." [6]

Campus Culture[edit]

Northwestern College (NWC) expresses it's 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. [7] Chapel is offered 5 days a week in addition to a student-led Sunday evening praise and worship night. [8]

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: [9]

  • 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 3 mid-western states of: Iowa (649 students), South Dakota (102), and Minnesota (90). The top 6 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. [10]

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 [2](SGA)- A group of 13 students and 2 faculty gather weekly to discuss issues on campus and how to improve campus life. Students on campus elect the officials of this group. In 2009, the group voted to remove trays from the cafeteria in order to save food and liquid waste.
  • The Beacon [3]- This group of students puts together a weekly newspaper featuring sports highlights, topics on campus, opinion articles, some world news, fine arts events, etc. The paper is distributed most Fridays.
  • International Club [4] (I-Club)- Many students at Northwestern are from other countries. Any one interested in participating in planning multicultural events or want to learn about other cultures are able to join. There are about 175 students in the club this year.

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.
  • 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 (listed in the National Register of Historic Places)
  • Ramaker Center, renovated in 2014

Notable people[edit]

Presidential leadership[edit]

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.
  • Piet Koene - professor of Spanish who received the "2004 Iowa Professor of the Year" award.
  • Jeff Barker - professor of Theatre and Speech who received the "2006 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, a 2008 Northwestern College graduate (who was named the NAIA women's basketball Player of the Year in 2006 and 2008) holds the record for most consecutive in-game free throws in 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.[11]
  • 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. 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. This festival happens once a year during the fall semester, however the festival is no longer associated with Northwestern College.


  • U.S. News and World Report ranked Northwestern tied for sixth among 99 Midwestern regional colleges in its 2014 America's Best Colleges guidebook.[12]
  • In 2008, Northwestern became only the second college to be honored as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site in recognition of its environmental stewardship.[13]
  • The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll has recognized Northwestern two years in a row for being a leader in local, national and international service efforts.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

Recent sites served include[17]

Musical opportunities[edit]

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

  • Symphonic Band [7] 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 [8] 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 [9] is a select group of taken from the A cappella Choir. This elite group has recently 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 recently 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 [10] 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) [11] are select groups that involve Northwestern's best musicians in their respective areas. Each ensemble performs at a joint concert each semester as well as special events on campus. These events have included the dedication of campus buildings and for the inauguration of President Greg Christy.
  • Percussion Ensemble [12] 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 [13] 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 [14] 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.

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

Club sport teams include dance and in years past men's lacrosse.

National championships[edit]

  • 1973 - Football - NAIA
  • 1983 - Football - NAIA [18]
  • 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).

National runners-up[edit]

  • 1972 - Football - NAIA
  • 1979 - Football - NAIA
  • 1984 - Football - NAIA [19]
  • 1992 - Men's Basketball - NAIA Division II
  • 2000 - Women's Basketball - NAIA Division II


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Accredited Institutions". The Higher Learning Commission. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ "NWC Accreditations". Northwestern College. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ "NWC Mission". Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ "NWC Christian Identity". Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Faith at NWC". Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  9. ^ "NWC Vision". Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  10. ^ "NWC At-A-Glance (2014-15)". Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^
  14. ^ Learn and Serve America
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^

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