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.


1970 | The 87-acre Nazareth Hall campus is purchased from the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis for $2,579,000. The purchase comes 20 days after the sale of the Loring Park campus to the State Junior College System for $2,779,000.

1972 | After over $1 million in major remodeling and refurbishing, classes start at the “New Northwestern” with 186 students and 11 faculty.

1973 | Moyer Residence, a new concept in residential living, is completed to house 80 women as Northwestern’s first on-campus residence. Remaining residential students are housed in four Centennial Apartment buildings located about a mile away. A shuttle bus system is used, employing both students and staff.

1977 | Northwestern celebrates its Diamond Jubilee (75 years) with an outdoor rally featuring Rev. Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea.

1978 | Twenty-two years after the process began, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools grants accreditation, a historic step in Northwestern’s emergence as a liberal arts college.

1980 | Hartill-Knutson Residences and Robertson Student Center are completed to house all residential students on campus.

1982 | Totino Fine Arts Center is completed thanks to a generous $4 million gift from Rose Totino, who came to know the Lord through Northwestern Media’s KTIS. Cafe Nazareth is completed in the lower level of Nazareth Hall to give Northwestern a much bigger and aesthetically-pleasing dining hall.

1985 | Dr. Donald Ericksen becomes president and Dr. Berntsen becomes the college’s first chancellor.

1990 | Northwestern College mourns the passing of Chancellor Bill Berntsen. The FOCUS degree completion program is introduced, signaling the beginning of Northwestern’s emergence into alternative education. Reynolds Field is completed.

1992 | The library moves into the new Berntsen Resource Center as the fourth floor of Nazareth Hall is remodeled for much-needed office space and classrooms.

1994 | The Center for Distance Education is introduced and the Child Development Center in nearby EagleCrest retirement center opens. South Residence is purchased just outside the campus gates for junior and senior residential students.

1996 | Ericksen Center is completed, finally giving Northwestern an intercollegiate-level sports facility. The City of Arden Hills approves an increase in the Full Time Enrollment cap from 1,250 to 1,425, a major decision in the college’s growth potential.

1997 | Dr. Wesley Willis becomes the seventh president. Denler Gallery and the Fischer Tennis Courts are completed and the Southeast Residence is purchased as climbing enrollment increases housing needs. North Minneapolis Campus is established as a way to bring Christian higher education into the inner city.

1999 | FOCUS introduces the Pathway Project, an associate of arts program for adults. Northwestern Media’s KTIS celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a year-long celebration that features a family fair on campus and a Target Center rally with Charles Swindoll. Snelling Terrace Residences are purchased.