Dordt University
Former names
Midwest Christian Junior College (1955–1956)
Dordt College (1956–2019)
MottoSoli Deo Gloria[1]
Motto in English
Glory to God alone
TypePrivate university
Religious affiliation
Christian Reformed Church
Academic affiliations
EndowmentUS $62.1 million (2015)[3]
PresidentErik Hoekstra
Academic staff
80 Full Time

43°05′00″N 96°10′02″W / 43.0833°N 96.1671°W / 43.0833; -96.1671
115 acres (0.47 km2)[4]
Black, White & Gold[5]
Sporting affiliations

Dordt University is a private evangelical Christian university in Sioux Center, Iowa. It was founded in 1955 and is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The university name is a reference to the Synod of Dordt (Dordrecht).

Dordt annually enrolls about 1,500 students.[1] The university offers 90 programs of study that lead to Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Master of Education degrees.


Dordt University was founded as Midwest Christian Junior College in 1953.[6] In 1954, a group of men from local Christian Reformed Churches in Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota agreed to establish the college in Sioux Center.[7] It was tentatively referred to as Midwest Christian Junior College,[7] and the first classes were held at the college in the fall of 1955 with about 40 students.[8]

In April 1956, the name was changed to Dordt College.[9] This name was chosen to honor a historic 17th century Reformed church meeting called the Synod of Dordt that took place in the Netherlands in 1618–1619.[6][9]

[T]he name 'Dordt' will constantly remind us of the heritage in which we are rooted and the goals we should strive for. It will give us a constant source of inspiration to continue in the faith of the fathers. It will tell all people everywhere just exactly what we are and what we stand for."[9][10]
Dordt College, as no other name, will express the distinctiveness of our school and the purpose for which it was established, The Spirit of Dordt, its strivings to seek the glory of God in all its thinking...its efforts to be faithful to the Word of God in every detail, summarizes all the things our school should strive for..."[9]

The first graduating class consisted of 18 students in 1957.[11] The first students to earn B.A. degrees graduated in 1965.[6] The college changed its name to Dordt University on May 13, 2019.[12]


Dordt offers over 90 programs of study[13] with over 40[14] majors and 11 pre-professional[15] programs of study. The core is drawn from various academic disciplines such as language, natural science, and social science.

Dordt is accredited to grant bachelor and Master of Education degrees by the Higher Learning Commission.[1][16] Furthermore, the engineering program is ABET accredited,[17] the nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing and the Iowa Board of Nursing[18] and the social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.[19]

Dordt offers more than 25 off-campus study opportunities in countries around the world through its affiliation with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. These countries include Australia, China, France, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Uganda, and the United Kingdom. Off-campus programs also exist for Chicago,[20] Washington D.C.,[21] and Los Angeles.[21]

Ninety-eight percent of students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. The university awards scholarships based on academic potential and performance (e.g., the Kuyper Honors program[22]), activities (e.g., sports, theater, music), and demonstrated financial need. Over $18.5 million is awarded in financial aid annually, thanks in large part to private donors and alumni.


The Campus Center in 2014.

The university is located in Sioux Center, Iowa, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Sioux City, and 55 miles (89 km) southeast of Sioux Falls, SD. The campus covers a 115-acre (47 ha) area and includes 25 buildings, eleven for student housing.[23]

The hub of the campus is the Campus Center. The 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) facility was constructed in 2002 at a cost of $12.5 million[24] and is open continuously during the academic year. The entry level consists of a campus store, an art gallery, meditation rooms, and a student lounge. The upper level features enhanced-technology classrooms, conference rooms, and various offices. The lower-level houses an activity center, a dining area, a snack bar, and Campus Health. The basement features a recording studio and a game room complete with a four-lane regulation-size bowling alley, as well as foosball and pool tables.[25]

Academic facilities

The campus center is the John and Louise Hulst Library, which houses a collection of more than 300,000 book volumes, 16,000 print journal volumes, and 163,000 microtext units. The library subscribes to more than 600 journals, magazines, and newspapers, and has electronic access to another 10,000 titles. In addition to providing print and electronic resources, the library serves the campus media needs by offering checkout availability of various media equipment. The library has a significant collection of curriculum and children's literature materials housed in the Learning Resource Center. Other specialized collections include the Dordt University Archives and the Dutch Memorial Collection.[26]

The Science and Technology Center at has 180- and 80-seat lecture halls, a greenhouse, laboratories, general-use classrooms, and various science departmental offices. There are laboratories for organic chemistry, physical chemistry and physics. It also houses agriculture facilities for animal science and agronomy labs. The engineering wing includes labs for mechanical engineering, electronics, electrical engineering, and computer-aided design.[27] The Science and Technology Center is connected to the Campus Center via a sky walk, which was constructed in 2017.

B. J. Haan Auditorium

The B. J. Haan Auditorium seats approximately 1,500 people and is used for chapel services, concerts, organ recitals, and other regional events. Convocation and commencement exercises are also held in "the Beej", as it is called by students. The auditorium features a three-manual, tracker-action Casavant Frères organ with 37 stops, 57 ranks, and 2,833 pipes.[28]

The auditorium is adjoined by the Music Building, which also has rehearsal rooms, studios and classrooms, vocal and instrumental practice rooms, and music faculty offices. Its mezzanine also houses the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education.[29]

The auditorium was the site of a campaign rally by candidate Donald J. Trump on January 23, 2016,[30] during the race for the 2016 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses.

Athletic facilities

The campus recreation center hosts the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) departmental facilities and the athletics offices. The Rec Center includes basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts, an aerobics room, a weight room, a 200-meter indoor track, and a batting cage.[31]

The All Seasons Center was built in 2004 and contains an NHL-sized hockey rink, waterslides, a lap pool, and both indoor and outdoor family aquatic pools.[32] This US$9 million facility is shared by Dordt College and the city of Sioux Center and received the Iowa League of Cities 2002 All-Star Community Award.[33] The arena plays host to the Defenders Ice Hockey program.[34]


The Dordt athletic teams are called the Defenders. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) since the 2000–2001 academic year.[5] The Defenders previously competed in the defunct South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference (SDIC) from 1995–1996 to 1999–2000.

Dordt competes in 18 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, ice hockey, soccer, track & field and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.

Cross Country

The men’s team won the 2022 NAIA Cross Country Championships with a final score of 97 points.[35] This was the first national championship for any athletic program in Dordt history.


In 2014, the Defenders set a record for points scored by both teams in the NAIA National Basketball Tournament.[36]

Club sports

Dordt University no longer sponsors any club programs

Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey is recognized as an NAIA varsity sport at Dordt. However, Dordt University's men's Ice Hockey team competes at the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division III level.[37] Most of the teams at this level are club sports teams.


  1. ^ a b c Dordt College (2009-06-24). "About us". Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  2. ^ Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (2016). "Members & Affiliates". Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  3. ^ a b U.S. News & World Report (2016). "Best Colleges 2016: Dordt". Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Dordt College, U.S. News & World Report, retrieved 19 March 2011
  5. ^ a b c Great Plains Athletic Conference (2009). "GPAC members". Retrieved 28 Oct 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Dordt College (2009-06-24). "A Developing History". Archived from the original on 13 June 2009. Retrieved 28 Oct 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Sioux Center College Site is Final" (PDF). The Sioux Center News. 25 Mar 1954. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  8. ^ "Midwest College to Open Doors Here Next Monday" (PDF). The Sioux Center News. 8 Sep 1955. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  9. ^ a b c d "Christian Jr. College Is Renamed by Group Meeting Here Friday" (PDF). The Sioux Center News. 19 April 1956. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  10. ^ Zatlin, Kelly (19 April 2012). "Is Dordt Losing Sight of Its Reformed Vision?". The Dordt Diamond. Retrieved 9 August 2020. In 1956, when the name was changed to Dordt College, he told the Sioux Center News that "the name 'Dordt' will constantly remind us of the heritage in which we are rooted and the goals we should strive for. It will give us a constant source of inspiration to continue in the faith of the fathers. It will tell all people everywhere just exactly what we are and what we stand for."
  11. ^ "First Graduating Class of Dordt College" (PDF). The Sioux Center News. 30 May 1957. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Dordt Now Officially Known as Dordt University". Dordt University. 2019. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  13. ^ Dordt College (2009-06-26). "Academics". Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  14. ^ "Academics". Dordt University. 2016-04-11. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  15. ^ Dordt College (2009-06-24). "Pre-professional Programs". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  16. ^ Higher Learning Commission (2009). "Affiliated Institutions". Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  17. ^ ABET, Inc. (2009). "Search All Accredited Programs". Archived from the original on August 17, 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  18. ^ Dordt College (2009-06-25). "Nursing: Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  19. ^ Council on Social Work Education (2008). "Membership Directory". Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  20. ^ "Dordt College Off-Campus Programs". Dordt College. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  21. ^ a b "Dordt College Off-Campus Programs: CCCU Semester Programs". Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  22. ^ Dordt College (2009-06-24). "Kuyper Scholars Program". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  23. ^ "Campus Map". Dordt University. 2016-04-13. Retrieved 2022-04-28.
  24. ^ EDA, Inc. (Stan Oordt) (January 17, 2005). "References". Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-03.
  25. ^ Dordt College (8 July 2009). "Campus Center". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  26. ^ Dordt College (12 Oct 2009). "John & Louise Hulst Library About Us". Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  27. ^ Dordt College (3 Nov 2009). "Science/Technology Center". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  28. ^ "Casavant Frères Ltée. (Opus 3360, 1978)". Pipe Organ Database. Organ Historical Society. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  29. ^ Dordt College (29 June 2009). "B.J. Haan Auditorium". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  30. ^ Dias, Elizabeth (9 August 2020). "'Christianity Will Have Power' – How a Promise by Trump Bonded Him to White Evangelicals". The New York Times. Vol. 169, no. 58780. pp. A1, A20–21. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  31. ^ Dordt College (29 June 2009). "Recreation Center". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  32. ^ Dordt College (29 June 2009). "All Seasons Center". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  33. ^ Iowa League of Cities (Winter 2002). "Sioux Center's All Seasons Center". Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved 2009-12-03.
  34. ^ City of Sioux Center. "All Seasons Center". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  35. ^ NAIA (18 November 2022). "Dordt (Iowa) Men Captured First Red Banner at 2022 NAIA Cross Country Championship". Retrieved 4 Dec 2022.
  36. ^ "Dordt Men's Season ends in Double OT at National Tournament". KIWA Radio. Archived from the original on 30 August 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  37. ^ "American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA)". Retrieved 2023-12-09.