Since 1935, Corban College has gone through eight name changes, four campuses, many new classes and programs, and, now, a change in status. But its mission remains the same: to educate Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.
Corban began as a Bible institute in 1935, with no accreditation and no classes other than Bible and theology. In 1946, the school was relocated to California with the name Western Baptist Bible College, where it became accredited 13 years later. In 1969, the college moved to its current location, and began expanding its programs to include liberal arts and professional studies.
In 2005, the name changed again, this time to Corban College, meaning “a gift dedicated to God.”
“Our mission has always been to educate Christians,” said Steve Hunt, vice president for marketing. “We are one of the few colleges that accept only Christians and hire only Christians. We are becoming more unique as we move into university status.”
University standing is bequeathed only upon schools with graduate programs. Technically, Corban could have become a university five years ago with the addition of its Master’s in Education program. However, its staff believed Corban should wait until the graduate programs were stronger.
“It’s kind of like saying you got your first tricycle, so now you’re going into bike racing,” said Hunt.
Corban now has four graduate programs – three more than the State of Oregon requires – with plans for a School of Theology in the future.
“Our mission to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ is based upon The Great Commission, so we are intentionally expanding our mission to include all levels of academic instruction,” said President Reno Hoff.
The new Corban University logo portrays this mission visually. The shape of the logo represents three concepts: the cross; a path representing a journey, identified by the slanting contour of the crosspiece; and the shield itself, whose shape represents a “C” and “U” for Corban University.
“The purpose of a name is to accurately describe the entity,” said Provost Matt Lucas. “The change in name will more accurately describe who we are and what we are doing.”
With approximately 200 students in Corban’s four graduate programs, university is a more apt title. Being a university becomes a more important distinction as Corban moves into the international arena, as many overseas high schools are referred to as “colleges.”
“For international students, ‘college’ sounds ‘Podunk,’” said Dorothy James, executive secretary to the president. James was confident that Corban has capable leadership and will remain a mission-driven college.
“Since we are expanding into the international arena, the perception of Corban is very important,” agreed Hoff.
Additionally, the change will avoid the confusion created by the recent trend among community colleges to drop the word “community” from their names.
For current students, however, changes will be minimal.
“I do not see any direct effect on undergraduate students by the name change,” said Lucas.
While the graduation certificates will have the name Corban University on them, and signs and stationery will have to change, life at Corban will remain the same.
“We plan to continue to provide an excellent education for our undergraduate students,” said Lucas. “We want to maintain the close personal mentoring relationships that our students have with faculty and staff.”