Welch College

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Welch College
Former name
Free Will Baptist Bible College
Motto O Send out Thy Light and Thy Truth
Established 1942
Type Private
Affiliation National Association of Free Will Baptists
Religious affiliation
Free Will Baptist
Academic affiliation
Endowment US$1,349,994 (2013)[1]
President Dr. J. Matthew Pinson
Provost Dr. Greg Ketteman
Undergraduates 338 (2015)[1]
Location Nashville, Tennessee, United States
36°08′05″N 86°49′37″W / 36.1347°N 86.8270°W / 36.1347; -86.8270Coordinates: 36°08′05″N 86°49′37″W / 36.1347°N 86.8270°W / 36.1347; -86.8270
Campus Urban
Language English
Colors              Blue, white & gold
Nickname Flames
Sporting affiliations
Website www.welch.edu

Welch College, formerly the Free Will Baptist Bible College, is a private four-year college in Nashville, Tennessee affiliated with the National Association of Free Will Baptists.

Welch College is a private four-year college founded in 1942 by the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Welch College serves more than 300 students and is the national college of the 300,000-member Free Will Baptist denomination. The mission of Welch College is to educate leaders to serve Christ, His Church, and His world through Biblical thought and life.

Welch College is located on a 9-acre (36,000 m2) campus in Nashville, Tennessee, on West End Avenue near Interstate 440. There are twelve buildings on campus, including the three-story Johnson Academic Building, Welch Library, and men's and women's residence halls.

There are numerous student organizations to be involved in, from student societies to Global Missions Fellowship, to musical groups, to sports teams, to student government, to community relations, and many others. All students are involved in some type of Christian service outside the classroom, such as conducting services at jails and nursing homes, providing ministry for the homeless, working in local churches and more.[citation needed]


The National Association of Free Will Baptists in general session in Nashville, Tennessee, called for the creation of Free Will Baptist Bible College and its doors opened in 1942 as a two-year institution. Dr. Linton C. Johnson was its first President. Eight students composed the original student body. The college added a third year of study in 1949, a fourth year in 1950 and awarded its first Bachelor's degrees to five students in 1951.

In August 2008 the college purchased a 66-acre (270,000 m2) tract in Gallatin, Tennessee, to become the site of a new larger campus. The college has plans to sell its West End Avenue campus and construct a new campus on the Gallatin site.[2]

In July 2012 at the National Association of Free Will Baptist in Memphis, the denomination voted to change the name of the college to Welch College.[3]

Academic program[edit]

Administrative building of Welch College

The college offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Music Education degree programs. Two- and three-year associate degree programs are also offered.

Welch College offers over forty academic majors. The college maintains a strong core in biblical and theological studies, and around one-third of Welch College students major in programs of study that lead to full-time church vocations. Welch College also maintains a growing Music Department to train vocalists and instrumentalists. The college's Teacher Education program provides teachers for public and private schools. The school also produces Business Department graduates. Welch College is expanding its Adult Degree and distance learning programs. In the fall of 2013 they will begin offering Bachelor's degrees in their online learning program.


Welch College is both regionally and nationally accredited and is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). It is approved by the Tennessee State Department of Education to offer degrees leading to teacher education licensure in grades PreK-12. The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. This is the regional accrediting agency in the southeast. Of longest standing, the college is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), approved by CHEA to accredit baccalaureate degree-granting Bible colleges in the United States and Canada.


The athletic teams of Welch College are called the "Flames" and compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Currently there are four varsity teams.

Men's sports[edit]

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Cross Country

Women's sports[edit]

  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Golf
  • Cross Country


  • Rev. Linton C. Johnson (1942–1944, 1947–1979)
  • Rev. L. R. Ennis (1944–1947)
  • Dr. Charles A. Thigpen (1979–1990)
  • Rev. C. Thomas Malone (1990–2002)
  • Dr. J. Matthew Pinson (2002–present)


  1. ^ a b "Welch College". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ Pinson, J. Matthew (February 13, 2013). "Relocation Update from President J. Matthew Pinson". Welch College. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Free Will Baptist Bible College Changes Name". Welch College. July 18, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 

External links[edit]