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50th Anniversary of MNU

Pride in our past. Expectation for our future. Gratitude for God’s faithfulness. MNU Celebrates 50 years! 

1968 General Assembly in Kansas City, Missouri gave potential students free bus tours of the soon-to-open campus.

The 1964 General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene (left) established a new college for the North Central Region of the U.S. Chartered in 1966 and approved by the Kansas Department of Education, MidAmerica Nazarene College was born. Thanks to Robert “R.R.” Osborne, President R. Curtis Smith and Paul G. Cunningham, 105 acres in Olathe, Kansas was chosen. Osborne with Smith (above) at the 1967 groundbreaking. 1966: First president Dr. R. Curtis Smith. 

1968: First Applicant Rita Powers
Recruiting students and faculty with no facilities, no alumni, no tradition and no accreditation was a challenge, but 263 intrepid Pioneers enrolled in classes September 2, 1968.  

1968: Welcome College Church
The small Olathe Church of the Nazarene moves buildings to College Church of the Nazarene at Sheridan and Lindenwood, on the southernmost edge of the campus. 

1970: First 6 buildings.

MANC's accreditation celebration in 1974. "I deemed it feasible from the beginning," said President R. Curtis Smith. (Accreditation reaffirmed in 2016.

1973: The brainchild of Assistant to the President Rev. Bill Draper, the “Send a Calf to College” campaign became the Autumn Auction of Antiques & Collectibles which was tradition, entertainment and a scholarship generator until the early 2000s. Senator Bob Dole addresses the first commencement at MANC. The class of 1972 numbers 104. 1977: The faculty has grown from 12 in 1968 to 48 professors and instructors.  (Dr. Larry Fine pictured in the mid 1980's).

1985: Construction is completed and Mabee Library is dedicated. Dr. Donald D. Owens is elected president after Dr. Smith retires.

From typewriters, hall phones and card catalogs to tablets, smart phones and the Internet—these 50 years have changed how students live and learn at MNU.

1989: President Owens is elected General Superintendent and Dr. Richard Spindle is elected MANC’s new president. The success of the bachelor’s degree-completion program spawns the first graduate program in education, followed by a program in management.

Rootbeer Fest, a fun student tradition since the '90s, continues today. 

Harvest Prayer Sculpture becomes a center point of campus in 1994.

1995: Draper Hall, originally men's apartment-style housing, opens on the west side of campus followed by Ramsey Hall in 19961998: MNU's iconic tulips were first planted in this year. They now number nearly 8,000 bulbs each year.

1999: Cook Center opens including athletics, nursing and athletic training as well as Bell Family Arena. 

2005: Dr. Edwin H. Robinson is elected MNU’s fourth president when Dr. Richard Spindle retires. Bluestem pond is drained to make way for a new entrance to campus at Mur-Len and 139th St. 

2007: Pioneer men's basketball wins first-ever NAIA Division II national championship. The long-awaited Bell Cultural Events Center opens housing fine and performing arts and the 540-seat Mabee Performing Arts Hall. 

2010: Undergraduate students raise $50,000 for a Passion to Serve project in Guatemala - a healthcare clinic partnership with Heart to Heart International.

2011: Dr. James H. Diehl is elected interim president.

2012: Dr. David J. Spittal is inaugurated as MNU's fifth president.

2012: Cook Center's Bell Family arena is transformed for the first President's Honors gala. More than $2.5 million has been raised for student scholarships in its first five years.

Pioneer Pete is welcomed as our official mascot in 2013.

2014: University is awarded a $10 million federal Title III grant for student success. 2015: Estate of Edgar (’72) and Maron Moore gives MNU the largest one-time gift of land parcels and other assets valued at $9.5 million.

2016: Pioneer women's basketball wins the national NAIA Division I Championship.

Accent Summer 2020
This Issue

Summer 2021

Momentum builds with new construction, the return to in-person Commencement and athletic success despite the pandemic! Enjoy this issue of Accent Summer 2021.

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