Bethany College (West Virginia)

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Bethany College
Bethany College WV logo.jpg
TypePrivate, Liberal Arts
Religious affiliation
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Endowment$77 million[1]
PresidentRev. Dr. Tamara Rodenberg (January 2016 - )[2]
Students650 (600 full-time)
Location, ,
United States
CampusRural 1,300 acres (526 ha)
Athletics22 NCAA Division III Athletic Teams and an Equestrian club team.
ColorsGreen and White    

Bethany College is a private liberal arts college in Bethany, West Virginia. Founded in 1840 by Alexander Campbell of the Restoration Movement, who gained support by the Virginia legislature, Bethany College was the first institution of higher education in what is now West Virginia.[a]


A liberal arts college, Bethany was chartered on March 2, 1840, by the Virginia legislature and given "all degree-granting powers" of the University of Virginia.[citation needed] West Virginia's secession from Virginia on June 20, 1863, recognized existing Virginia charters; Bethany College continues to operate under the Virginia charter.

It was founded by Alexander Campbell, a minister in the Restoration Movement who provided the land and funds for the first building and served as the first president. Bethany has been a four-year private liberal arts college affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),[3] since its inception.[4] This religious body, of which Campbell was one of the principal founders, continues to support and encourage the college but exercises no sectarian control. An early center of coeducation, Bethany has admitted women since the 1880s.

The college's roots stem from the Buffalo Seminary, founded in 1818, by Campbell; sessions were first held in his mansion in Bethany,[5] home of Alexander Campbell and his father Thomas Campbell. The new Buffalo Seminary, " a continuing education arm of the College" is less than a mile away from the College.

Images of Bethany College, 1904

The college is the birthplace of Delta Tau Delta, an international social fraternity founded in 1858.[6]

During World War II, Bethany was one of 131 colleges nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[7]

A number of campus buildings are contributing resources to the Bethany Historic District.[8] The Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[9] Pendleton Heights was listed in 1975 and the Delta Tau Delta Founders House in 1979.[9]

The campus is also home to the Parkinson Forest, which in 2019 was added to the national Old-Growth Forest Network. The designation identifies the Parkinson Forest as the oldest Old-Growth Forest in Brooke County.[10]


Bethany College offers a wide selection of studies, awarding Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degrees in more than 25 fields. If a major does not appeal to a student, Bethany offers students the opportunity to design their own major through the Interdisciplinary program. Bethany also offers Dual Majors, which is a combination of two majors.[11]

According to recent research, 95% of Bethany College graduates carry student loan debt, averaging $25,704.[12] The endowment fund in 2016 was worth $46.7 million.[13] According to U. S. News tuition and fees are $28,444 and room and board costs $10,270 (2017–18). About 29% of Bethany students graduate in four years.[13]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ West Liberty University is older but was a secondary school until 1870.


  1. ^ "Bethany College: Meet the Staff". Retrieved 2015-07-15.
  2. ^ "Rev. Dr. Tamara Rodenberg begins tenure as Bethany College's 20th President". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Bethany College :: Campus Ministry". Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  4. ^ "Select Library". 2000-01-01. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  5. ^ "Bethany College :: Bethany College Establishes Buffalo Seminary". Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  6. ^ "History | Delta Tau Delta". Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  7. ^ "Naval Training and Education Yearbooks in the Navy Department Library". Department of the Navy. 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  8. ^ Henry J. Browne (September 1981). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Bethany Historic District" (PDF). State of West Virginia, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  9. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  10. ^ "Parkinson Forest Added to Old-Growth Network - About Bethany - Bethany College". About Bethany. 2019-10-17. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  11. ^ "Bethany College :: Degrees and Majors". Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  12. ^ "Average Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2020".
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ "Clark, (James Beauchamp) Champ (1850-1921)." The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide. Abington: Helicon, 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 17 September 2012.
  15. ^ "Gordon, Caroline (1895 – 1981)." The Crystal Reference Encyclopedia. West Chiltington: Crystal Semantics, 2005. Credo Reference. Web. 17 September 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°12′21″N 80°33′37″W / 40.20583°N 80.56028°W / 40.20583; -80.56028