Learn about our rich history dating back to 1902.
Historical image of Northwestern


Northwestern opens on October 2, 1902 as Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training School, founded by William Bell Riley, well-known pastor and evangelist. Classes are held in First Baptist Church in Minneapolis and Jackson Hall, First Baptist's education building.


In a brief four-year tenure, Northwestern's second president, Rev. Billy Graham, launches KTIS and sees the campus move to Memorial Hall in Loring Park. Despite gaining national prominence under Graham, the college temporarily closes in 1966 for restructuring and relocation.


Guided by the leadership and faith of William B. Berntsen, the college reopens in 1972 on its current St. Paul campus and begins to expand. The college sees a steady addition of programs and buildings under the leadership of Berntsen, Donald Ericksen, and Wesley Willis.


Alan S. Cureton becomes president, the Mel Johnson Media Center is constructed, Riley Hall undergoes major remodeling, graduate programs begin, and the Billy Graham Community Life Commons opens.

  • Northwestern Bible And Missionary Training School building in 1902


    Beginning with only seven students in 1902, Northwestern Bible and Missionary School was founded. Follow our history through location and name changes through 1947 when Rev. Billy Graham becomes...

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  • First KTIS broadcast with Billy Graham in 1949


    See the timeline of growth, leadership changes, and the temporary closing of the college.

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  • 1967-1999

    Follow our history as we find our permanent home and the "New Northwestern'' emerges. Long-awaited accreditation transforms the institution into a liberal arts college.

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  • Current image of Northwestern


    View the most recent contributions that helped expand UNW's academic and athletic programs.

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