Crown College of Minnesota is unique in being the only bible college in Minnesota. The mission of this type of college is to provide a biblically based education for Christian leadership. Teaching is focused on training lay people for Christian service. Crown is one of only four colleges in the United States affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.
Bible institutes and colleges initially grew out of the renewed spirituality of the Protestant evangelical movement of the late nineteenth century. The goal of these institutes was to provide a spiritual education rather than a scholarly one. Scripture and religious principles were taught to students of both sexes. The intent was not to train ministers. Instead, men and women from these schools would share their faith with others in the community.
Crown College was founded as the St. Paul Bible Institute in 1916 by Reverend J.D. Williams. It had four students to start. The school was part of the second, expansive phase of the bible college movement. This phase saw similar schools founded across the United States and an increased emphasis on training missionaries as well as lay people. By 1924, 152 students attended St. Paul's bible institute. In the 1950s, the school's name was changed to St. Paul Bible College when it became accredited through the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges.
The change reflected a larger trend in the Bible College movement. From 1948–1969, the movement expanded to allow bible institutes to be degree-granting and formally accredited. The schools' focus shifted again, from missionary work to Christian service in everyday life.
Further growth of the St. Paul Bible College occurred in the 1970s. It received regional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and became a full, degree granting institution.
The college's continued growth forced a move from its home of over fifty years in June 1970. It relocated to its current campus in St. Bonifacius, into a former Jesuit campus. The main building, built in 1960, was cross-shaped, a perfect fit for the Bible College. As the school grew further, the main building was expanded and new buildings were added.
In 1992, the College changed its name to Crown College and began offering an Adult and Graduate Studies program. In the early twenty-first century, this program is known as the Crown College School of Online Studies & Graduate School. It represents nearly half of Crown's 1,300 enrolled students. The college offers more than forty accredited degree programs overall, including music, nursing, education and business.
Crown has had students attend from over forty countries. More than fifty percent of graduating seniors have traveled abroad for community service work through InterCultural Experiences (ICE). All undergraduate students earn a dual degree- Christian Studies plus their chosen field. Nearly seventy percent of all faculty have PhDs.
Crown College has more than 8,000 alumni across the United States and in nearly every time zone around the world. Notable former students include Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki. Both attended Crown College when it was the St. Paul Bible College and went on to create the popular Christian children's television series Veggie Tales.
In 2011, U.S. News and World Report included Crown College on its list of the Best Midwest Regional Colleges. It was also listed among the Top Ten of Christian online colleges and universities by TheBestColleges.org that same year. Crown is affiliated with 13,609 churches and church groups in eighty-one countries and territories through the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
"About." Crownsblog (blog). Crown College, St. Bonifacius.
Crown College student information catalogue. Crown College, 2012.
"Moments in Crown's History." Crownsblog (blog). Crown College, St. Bonifacius..
Public Affairs Office, St. Paul Bible College. "Jesuit Campus sold to St. Paul Bible College." Press release.
Crown College Archive, St. Bonifacius
Tewinkel, Joe. Crusaders: A History of St. Paul Bible College. Minnesota: n.p.
"The Story of Crown College." Unpublished manuscript. General History collection.
Crown College Archive, St. Bonifacius.
Years of strong growth cause St. Paul Bible College, renamed Crown College, to move to St. Bonifacius in 1970, where it continues to expand.