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Bethel University (Tennessee)

Bethel University
Established 1842
Type Private, four-year University
Affiliation Cumberland Presbyterian Church
President Walter Butler
Students 5,825 [1]
Location McKenzie, Tennessee, U.S.
Colors Purple and Vegas Gold
Athletics NAIA, Southern States Athletic Conference, Mid-South Conference
Mascot Wildcats

Bethel University is a Christian institute of higher education in Tennessee, accredited to bestow degrees to the master's level. Bethel University’s main campus is located in McKenzie, Tennessee, with satellite campuses located in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Jackson, Paris, and Clarksville.[2]


  • History 1
  • Student body 2
  • Academics 3
  • Arts 4
  • Athletics 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Founded in 1842 as Bethel Seminary, it became Bethel College in 1847 and assumed its current name in 2009.[3] Bethel University student enrollment as of Fall 2011 consisted of 4,673 students.[1] In 1998, Dr. Robert Prosser became Bethel University's 39th president. Prosser has previously served as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for 11 years and served 15 years as pastor of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in McKenzie, Tennessee until the year 1986.[4][5]

On August 4, 2014, Bethel University and the Board of Trustee's officially announced Dr. Walter Butler as its 40th President, a position he held on an interim basis since August 1, 2013 after longtime President Dr. Robert Prosser retired.[6]

In the 2010s, Bethel University began renovating and building new facilities to accommodate its rapidly growing enrollment numbers.

On May 8, 2010, the University held a dedication service for its newest building, the Ray and Linda Morris Science Complex, featuring new laboratories, additional classrooms, and a lecture hall. Also dedicated that year was a new residence hall, University Hall, which houses up-to 250 students.

June the following year saw the reopening of the Odom Hall math building after extensive renovations, along with Heritage Hall, a new three-story residence hall which was dedicated in August 2011.

The University's most ambitious construction plan also saw its first of four phases completed in August 2011. Phase I of the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment features a new cafeteria, student services offices, bookstore, enrollment offices and a student activities room. Phase II of the Rosemary and Harry L. Crisp Arena, which opened in Spring 2012, consists of a new gymnasium, athletic training facilities, offices, and a fitness center for students, faculty, and general public. Phase III, the Cumberland Chapel, was under construction as of May 2012.[7]

In conjunction with the Henry County Medical Center, in November 2012, Bethel University opened its new satellite campus for the Physician's Assistant Program along with the medical centers' new Diagnostic Center.[8]

Student body

The bulk of students attending Bethel University are residents of Tennessee,[9] but the school does take students from other states and countries. Each year, two international students are chosen to receive the Honors Scholarship for International Students which includes full tuition, room, meals, and all fees.[10]


Bethel University offers the Associates, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science degrees through a variety of academic programs.[11] Since 1988, it has hosted the two-day academically-based Hendrix Scholarship Competition offering full tuition and board for the winner, with full tuition for the runner up.[12] Students who qualify may enter the Honors program, receiving a $10,000 scholarship per academic year.[13]



  • Official website
  • Official athletics website
  • Campus View

External links

  1. ^ a b "Quick Facts". Bethel University. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Location". Bethel University. 
  3. ^ "History". Bethel University. 
  4. ^ "Office of the President". Bethel University. 
  5. ^ "HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 970" (PDF). Tennessee State Government. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Bethel University board appoints Walter Butler president". Jackson Sun. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Glass, Jennifer. "Bethel University Breaks Ground on New Chapel". The Cumberland Presbyterian. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Hedges, Becky. "Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for Diagnostic Center and Bethel Paris Campus". Henry Medical Center. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bethel University". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Traditional Undergraduate Scholarships". Bethel University. 
  11. ^ "All Programs". Bethel University. 
  12. ^ "Hendrix Scholarship". Bethel University. 
  13. ^ "Honors Program". Bethel University. 
  14. ^ "Online Interest Form". Bethel University. 
  15. ^ a b c d Bethel Athletics
  16. ^ "History of Bethel Athletics". Bethel University. 
  17. ^ "Intramural Sports". Bethel University. 
  18. ^ "Bethel College Men's Soccer - 2008 NAIA National Champions!". Bethel University. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  19. ^ "2008 NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship Final Recap". NAIA. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  20. ^ "Bethel Hockey Claims National Championship!". Bethel University. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  21. ^ "HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 1073" (PDF). Tennessee State Government. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  22. ^ "Bethel Bass Cats to be Honored at Southern Collegiate Championships". Bethel University. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  23. ^ "Lady Cats Continue to Rise in Polls". Bethel University. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 


  • Women’s Basketball – Three straight National Tournament appearances, ranked in “top ten” in the NAIA for 2010-11.[23]
  • Bass Fishing – Southern Collegiate Champions for 2010-11, Match Champions, Invitation Champions, 1st Triple Crown Champion.[22]
  • In-Line Hockey – National Champions in 2011-2012; Southeastern Champions, second place in the National Championship for 2010 against club teams.[20][21]
  • Men’s Soccer – NAIA National Champions 2008. Played four of five years at the National Tournament.[18][19]

Some of the sport teams’ accomplishments include:

Bethel University teams, nicknamed athletically as the Wildcats, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level, primarily competing in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) in all sports; except for track and field, bowling and football, which compete in the Mid-South Conference (MSC). Bethel was a charter member of the Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VSAC).[15] Prior to competing in the TranSouth Athletic Conference (TSAC), Bethel was in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). Bethel University's mascot is the Wildcat.[16] Bethel offers Intramural sports in a wide variety of areas. Activities include: beach volleyball, dodge ball, co-ed soccer, tennis, softball, flag football, basketball, and many other events.[17]



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