Moravian University
Former names
Men's college:
Moravian College and Theological Seminary (1863–1954)
Women's college:
Bethlehem Female Seminary (Founded 1742)
Moravian Female Seminary (1863–1913)
Moravian Seminary and College for Women (1913–1954)
Merged college:
Moravian College (1954–2021)
MottoVia Lucis (The Way of Light)
TypePrivate university
Established1742; 282 years ago (1742)
Girls School
1807; 217 years ago (1807)
1863; 161 years ago (1863)
Accredited institution
Religious affiliation
Moravian Church
Endowment$146 million(2021)[1]
PresidentBryon Grigsby[2]
Administrative staff
Location, ,
CampusSuburban and Urban, 100 acres (40 ha)
ColorsBlue and Grey    

Moravian University is a private university in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The institution traces its founding to 1742 by Moravians, descendants of followers of the Bohemian Reformation under John Amos Comenius. Founded as a girls school in 1742, the College itself was founded as the Moravian College and Theological Seminary in 1807 and was accredited in 1863. In 2021, the College was elevated to a University. Moravian University uses the foundation of the Girls school as their foundation date which would make them the sixth-oldest college in the United States.[4]


Moravian University claims to be the sixth-oldest college in the United States and the second girls' school, just behind the Ursuline Academy of New Orleans which opened in 1727. It traces its roots to the Bethlehem Female Seminary, which was founded in 1742, as the first boarding school for young women in the U.S. The seminary was created by Benigna, Countess von Zinzendorf, the daughter of Count Nikolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf, who was the benefactor of the fledgling Moravian communities in Nazareth and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The Moravian Female Seminary was incorporated by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 1863 and became the women's college, the Moravian Seminary and College for Women in 1913.[5]

The university also traces its roots to the founding of two boys' schools, established in 1742 and 1743, which merged to become Nazareth Hall in 1759. Located in the town of Nazareth, Nazareth Hall became, in part, Moravian College and Theological Seminary in 1807. It was later incorporated by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 1863 as a baccalaureate-granting institution, albeit with the same name. Beginning in 1858 and continuing to 1892, the seminary and college relocated from Nazareth to a former boys' school on Church Street in Bethlehem, located on the present site of the Bethlehem City Hall.

The men's Moravian College and Theological Seminary then settled in the north end of the city (the present-day North Campus) as a result of a donation from the Bethlehem Congregation of the Moravian Church in 1888. The first buildings constructed at North Campus, Comenius Hall and Zinzendorf Hall, were completed in 1892 and joined the property's original brick farmhouse to form the new campus. The farmhouse was later named Hamilton Hall, which still stands today.

In 1954, the two schools combined to form the single, coeducational, modern institution of Moravian College. The merger of the two institutions combined the North Campus (the location of the men's college from 1892 to 1954) and the South Campus (the location of the women's college) into a single collegiate campus. The distance between the North and South campuses is about 0.8 miles of Main Street, called the "Moravian Mile". First-year students traditionally walk the Moravian Mile as part of their orientation activities.[6]

In 2021, Moravian College received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to become a university. The change to Moravian University became official on July 1, 2021.[7]


Gate of the South Campus from Main Street

Moravian University currently enrolls about 1,700 full-time undergraduate students in a wide variety of majors, all of which are presented in the liberal arts tradition. The seminary enrolls over 100 part-time students in its graduate divinity programs. During most semesters, at least 14 denominations are represented in the seminary student body. Faith communities most often represented among the seminary's students include: Moravian, Lutheran, UCC, Episcopal, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Quaker, Mennonite, Unitarian Universalist, African Methodist Episcopal, Assembly of God, Brethren, Reformed, and nondenominational. The university's varied and highly regarded music programs grow from the Moravian Church's musical traditions.[8]

Moravian University's student news site is The Comenian, which is published online throughout the school year.[9]

Every year, the student body elects representatives to the United Student Government. USG has a legislature, composed of 16 senators from the undergraduate body, an executive, including an elected president and vice president, appointed cabinet and staff, and a judiciary, composed of appointed justices. USG was officially recognized in 1968.[citation needed] Additionally, two students are elected members of Moravian University's board of trustees; both are full, voting members and serve two-year terms.[10]

Moravian University awards these undergraduate and graduate degrees: Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Data Analytics, Master of Health Administration, Master of Human Resource Management, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling, and six Master of Science programs in nursing; master of science in athletic training, master of science in occupational therapy, master of arts in speech-language pathology, doctor of physical therapy, and doctor of athletic training. The seminary grants Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Chaplaincy, and Master of Arts in Theological Studies degrees. The university also has evening undergraduate programs for adults seeking continuing undergraduate education and graduate degrees. The seminary has accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.[11]

Because Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Tondabayashi, Japan, have been sister cities for over half a century, Moravian University and Osaka Ohtani University (大阪大谷大学) also established a partnership.[12] Each spring, several Japanese students come to Moravian for two weeks to take a class about the American education system. These students are hosted by Moravian students and enjoy trips to New York City and Philadelphia. During May and June 2010, the first two Moravian students studied at Osaka Ohtani University.[13] Additionally, the university is a member of the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges & Universities; members include Muhlenberg College, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Cedar Crest College, and DeSales University; students from each institution can take classes in each other member institution and can take courses in programs offered at other institutions not offered at Moravian, such as architecture.[14]

The university's Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) program provides stipends, travel allowances, and expenses for students engaged in research or creative activities through close interaction with a faculty mentor. The program helps Moravian students gain a better understanding of scholarship in their discipline, and fosters scholar–colleague relationships. SOAR stipends can be as high as $3,000 for summer work.[15]

Established in 1960, the university's honors program provides qualified seniors the opportunity to pursue a yearlong intensive study of a subject of special interest.[16]


The university's programs are offered at four locations: Main Street Campus (North Campus), the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus (South Campus), the Steel Field Complex, and the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center.

Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus

Art and music programs are offered in Bethlehem's historic district on the college's Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus. Many of the buildings on that campus were built during the colonial period, including the Brethren's House, built in 1748, which served as a hospital during the Revolutionary War, and currently houses the Music Department. Also located on Priscilla Payne Campus are the President's House, Main Hall (1854), the Widow's House, Clewell Hall, West Hall, South Hall, the 1867 Chapel, Clewell Dining Hall, and the Central Moravian Church. A number of the buildings are connected. The facilities have been renovated to include Payne Gallery (renovated from the original women's gymnasium in 1903), the college's two-level art gallery that offers several shows each year, and Foy Concert Hall. Also located on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus are Peter Hall, a medium-sized recital hall, Hearst Hall, a small recital hall, and individual student rehearsal rooms and art studios. The university presents the nationally renowned Christmas Vespers services in the Central Moravian Church, located on the corner of Main and Church streets across from Brethren's House. Many of the buildings on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus are located in a National Register of Historic Places District and Church Street has been referred to as one of the most historic streets in America.

In the 2009–2010 school year, Moravian University added a new living complex on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus called the HILL. Each floor has suites, where four to 16 people can live. The complex has classrooms, a cafe, a fitness room, a mail room, and common rooms. The HILL is air conditioned and fully handicap accessible. The suites contain a living room, full kitchen, private bathroom, and additional hallway sinks. A shuttle service is provided for easy transportation between the North and South campuses.

Main Street Campus

Initially given in 1888 and settled in 1892, the North Campus is also known as the Main Street campus, as it is physically larger and is the site of the majority of the university's buildings, academic departments, administration, and student residences. The main building of the Main Street Campus is Comenius Hall, which was built in 1892 and is named for John Amos Comenius, the last bishop of Unity of the Brethren, known as the "father of modern education" for his revolutionary educational principles. Comenius wrote in 1632, "not the children of the rich or of the powerful only, but of all alike, boys and girls, both noble and ignoble, rich and poor, in all cities and towns, villages and hamlets, should be sent to school". The Moravians had considered schools secondary in importance only to churches. A statue of Comenius, which was a gift to the college from Charles University of Prague and the Moravian Church of Czechoslovakia, stands in front of Comenius Hall. The Main Street Campus is also the location of Reeves Library, Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex, Colonial Hall, the Bahnson Center, the Moravian Archives, Zinzendorf Hall, Borhek Chapel, Prosser Auditorium (capacity 300, inside the Haupert Union Building), Monocacy Hall, Collier Hall of Science, the Sally Miksiewiecz Center for Health Sciences, Hamilton Hall, Memorial Hall, Benigna Hall, Johnston Hall (capacity 1,600 for athletics, 3,000 for events), the Timothy M. Breidegam Athletic and Recreation Center, the Collier Hall of Science, the Haupert Union Building, the Arena Theatre, and most of the university's student housing, including dorms, townhouses, and apartments.

In 2016, John Makuvek Field was installed and opened behind the Haupert Union Building. John Makuvek Field is a synthetic-turf field that is home to the Greyhounds' field hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, and men's and women's soccer teams. The field is named for John Makuvek, who retired in 1996 after four years as athletics director, and in 2010 after 43 years as head golf coach. The field is located at the center of campus, with views from the residential halls, Reeves Library, and the portico of the Haupert Union Building.

In 2017, the Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences was opened at 1107 Main Street. The 55,000-square-foot facility hosts classes for both undergraduate and graduate programs, including nursing, informatics, and the health sciences and features the region's only virtual cadaver lab. The building is named in honor of former Moravian College trustee Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz.

Also located on the Main Street Campus is the Betty Prince field hockey field.

Steel Field Complex

Most of the university's athletic fields are located at this complex, including the football stadium with a grandstand capacity of 2,400 and Sportexe turf field, eight-lane Mondo Super X Performance synthetic track, the softball field, the Gillespie baseball field, the Hoffman tennis courts, the football practice fields, and a fieldhouse.

Steel Field and its brick grandstand were originally built by Bethlehem Steel to host the Bethlehem Steel Football Club, 1913 to 1930. In 1925, Lehigh University purchased Steel Field from Bethlehem Steel.[17] The Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club continued to use the field until its demise. In 1962, Lehigh sold the facility to Moravian University.[18]


The university is a member of the NCAA and competes in Division III sports. It is also an associate member of the Centennial Conference for football only; Centennial football members include Muhlenberg College, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall, Johns Hopkins University, Juniata College, Gettysburg College, Ursinus College, and McDaniel College. Moravian University is a founding member of the Landmark Conference for all sports except football; members include Elizabethtown College, Susquehanna University, Catholic University, Drew University, Goucher College, Juniata College, and the University of Scranton. Golf competes in the Empire 8 Conference.

Men's sports include football, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, baseball, track and field, cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming. Women's sports include softball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, track and field, volleyball, tennis, lacrosse, golf (beginning in 2023–24), cross country, and swimming.

Part of a National Historic Landmark District

In 2012, Historic Moravian Bethlehem — a collection of 18th-century Moravian buildings and sites — became a national historic landmark district.

This 14.7-acre area was established in 1741 as a religious mission community of German-speaking settlers. The historic district presents Bethlehem’s heritage.

With its well-preserved core buildings, the community preserves some of the most important structures relating to the Moravians here in the New World. The historic sites include the Colonial Industrial Quarter, God’s Acre cemetery, the Sun Inn, and buildings of the Central Moravian Church, the city of Bethlehem, and Moravian University.

The district includes two buildings — the Waterworks pump house and the Gemeinhaus community hall  — both previously recognized as historic landmarks on their own.

The Second Single Brethren’s House, built in 1748 at the end of West Church Street on the axis of Main Street, is the most impressive example of eighteenth-century Moravian Church Civic Baroque in the US (today it is part of Moravian University).

The Moravian village buildings in this area are significant examples of urban heritage and Colonial Germanic architecture. Historic Moravian Bethlehem is the physical manifestation of the artistic, architectural, cultural, educational, religious, and industrial attributes that set the Moravians apart from other Colonials.

In 2023, the U.S. Government submitted a nomination for Bethlehem’s Historic Moravian Church settlement to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The transnational serial nomination includes Bethlehem with Herrnhut, Germany, and Gracehill, Northern Ireland/UK. These three sites would join Christiansfeld, Denmark — a Moravian Church settlement that was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015.

This multi-national nomination is the first of its kind for the United States.

Historic Moravian Bethlehem would join only 25 cultural World Heritage sites in the United States.

Notable people




  1. ^ Moravian College: FINANCIAL REPORT 2017-2018
  2. ^ "Office of the President". Moravian University. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c Moravian University: Quick Facts
  4. ^ Moravian College History Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ College History Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine Moravian College
  6. ^ Freshmen to Walk the Moravian Mile on August 27 Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine Moravian College, August 16, 2005
  7. ^ "Moravian College announces it has received approval from the PA Department of Education for change to University status | Moravian University". Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  8. ^ "History". Moravian College Music Department. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  9. ^ The Comenian – Moravian College's Student Newspaper
  10. ^ "Board of Trustees". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  11. ^ Accreditation Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine Moravian Theological Seminary
  12. ^ モラビアン教育研修】の参加募集開始日程について Osaka Ohtani University, 2009
  13. ^ "Campus Life No. 60" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  14. ^ "Home". Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Student Opportunities for Academic Research". Moravian College. Archived from the original on 2016-04-20. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  16. ^ "About our Honors Program | Moravian College Honors Program". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  17. ^ Willard Ross Yates Lehigh University: a history of education in engineering, business, and the human condition Lehigh University Press, 1992, p. 145 ISBN 978-0-934223-17-1
  18. ^ Willard Ross Yates Lehigh University: a history of education in engineering, business, and the human condition Lehigh University Press, 1992, p. 218 ISBN 978-0-934223-17-1
  19. ^ "J. William Reynolds sworn in as Bethlehem mayor". wfmz news. January 3, 2022. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  20. ^ Stanley, Tim. "Mildred Ladner Thompson 1918–2013: Former Tulsa World columnist witnessed history". Tulsa World. 2013-07-07. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  21. ^ "'Eat This, Not That' author to mentor Moravian students".

40°37.81′N 75°22.90′W / 40.63017°N 75.38167°W / 40.63017; -75.38167