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Bushnell University
Former names
Eugene Divinity School
Eugene Bible University
Eugene Bible College
Northwest Christian College
Northwest Christian University
AffiliationCouncil for Christian Colleges and Universities
PresidentJoseph Womack
Other students
222 degree completion
Location, ,

44°02′49″N 123°04′47″W / 44.047°N 123.0797°W / 44.047; -123.0797Coordinates: 44°02′49″N 123°04′47″W / 44.047°N 123.0797°W / 44.047; -123.0797
ColorsBlue and gold   
NicknameBeacons (2008 - Present)
Sporting affiliations

Bushnell University is a private, Christian liberal arts college in Eugene, Oregon. It is historically affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Christian churches and churches of Christ. The school was renamed from Northwest Christian University in 2020.


Photo of Bushnell University (then Eugene Divinity School) and its founder, 1903
Photo of Bushnell University (then Eugene Divinity School) and its founder, 1903

The school was founded as a divinity school in 1895 by Disciple of Christ preacher and educator Eugene Claremont Sanderson as the Eugene Divinity School (EDS). In 1908 it became Eugene Bible University; in 1930 that name changed to Eugene Bible College. After a merger with Spokane University in 1934, it became known as Northwest Christian College and then Northwest Christian University in 2008.[1][2] In 2020, it formally changed its named to Bushnell University, after James A. Bushnell, the first chairman of the university's board of trustees.[3]

On December 8, 2009, Dr. Joseph Womack was named as Bushnell University's 10th president, taking office on June 1, 2010.[4] Womack is the son of Bushnell's eighth president, Dr. James Womack, who served from 1986 to 2004.[5]



Bushnell University is organized into seven schools: Arts & Sciences, Bible & World Christianity, Business, Leadership & Teachnology, Education, Music & Performing Arts, Nursing, and Psychology & Counseling.[6] Programs are offered in three different formats: traditional undergraduate, online & evening, and graduate.[7]

Accreditation and affiliations

Bushnell University has been regionally accredited since 1962 by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).[8][9] It is a member of the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities (OAICU), the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), and the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). The education programs are approved by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC), the business programs are accredited by the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), and the Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs is CACREP accredited (2017)(Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs).


Bushnell University is located in east Eugene, at the corner of Alder Street and E. 11th Avenue, separated from the larger University of Oregon by the width of a single lane street. Founder Eugene Sanderson envisioned a school at which students would study the Bible and principles of Christian ministry under Eugene Divinity School's faculty, but take other subjects on the neighboring campus, a model he also attempted to set up at Manhattan Christian College, located near Kansas State University. The Eugene Divinity School and its successive institutions maintained this arrangement with the University of Oregon until 1995, when the University of Oregon unilaterally discontinued it. Since that time Bushnell has grown to become a comprehensive liberal arts college. Today, Bushnell students occasionally take University of Oregon classes, have checkout privileges from Knight Library, and take advantage of lectures and other events on the neighboring campus.


Bushnell teams, nicknamed athletically as the Beacons, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC). Men's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.[10] In January 2021, the university announced a plan to revive its baseball program after a more than 50-year hiatus as the school's 17th varsity sport offering, and named Tommy Richards, a former Baltimore Orioles' prospect and Whitman College Assistant, as the program's new head coach.[11]

2015 NAIA Cross Country National Championship

During the fall of 2015 the woman's cross country team won first place in the NAIA Cross Country National Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was the first time Northwest Christian University's cross country team won first place in this championship. The seven runners who competed at the meet were, Melissa Rios (Freshman), Rosa Schmidt (Sophomore), Shea Vallaire, (Junior), Michelle Fletcher, (Junior), Macie Gale, (Junior), and Alyssa Harmon (Junior).[12]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "Bushnell University at a Glance". Bushnell University. 2021. Archived from the original on April 19, 2021. Retrieved Aug 27, 2019.
  2. ^ Richardson, William J. "Northwest Christian College" in The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, (eds) Foster, Douglas A., Blowers, Paul M., Dunnavant, Anthony L., and Williams, D. Newell. Grand Rapids, MN: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004, p 572-573
  3. ^ Brown, Jordyn (2020-03-08). "Northwest Christian University in Eugene to change its name". The Register-Guard.
  4. ^ "Womack Named New NCU President". NCU News. December 16, 2009. Archived from the original on 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  5. ^ Northwest Christian College Alumni Bulletin, Spring 2004
  6. ^ "Academic Schools". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  7. ^ "Academic Programs". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Member Institution Directory". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Accreditations and Memberships". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Official Website of Bushnell University Athletics". Bushnell University Athletics. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Bushnell Adds Baseball as 17th Sport". Bushnell Beacons. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  12. ^ "Ladies Look to Hoist a Banner". Northwest Christian University Athletics. Retrieved Aug 27, 2019.