Our History

Bushnell University first opened its doors in 1895 and remains committed to preparing students for purpose-driven lives within a Christ-centered environment. 

Our roots in delivering life-changing education within a Christian environment reach back over 125 years to what was then a small town in western Oregon. Founded by resourceful, forward-thinking leaders such as pastor-educator Eugene C. Sanderson and pioneer businessman and church leader James A. Bushnell, our institution has always rested on the underpinnings of wisdom, faith, service, and preparing students for fulfilling, purpose-driven lives.  

Originally founded as Eugene Divinity School in 1895, the university has undergone a number of transformations in our storied history—all reflecting changing realities and aspirations. 

From its time as Eugene Bible University to Eugene Bible College to Northwest Christian College to Northwest Christian University, our institution has remained devoted to a foundation of optimism, academic excellence, service to others, and strong Christian faith. 

Bushnell University honors our school’s first president of the Board of Regents, James A. Bushnell, and his steadfast faith, grit, determination, community-mindedness, and visionary spirit. Today, with record enrollments and more academic programs than ever, Bushnell University remains committed to encouraging the intellectual and spiritual discovery that prepares students for successful, fulfilling lives in career, faith, family, and community. 

Through Bushnell University’s openhearted character, proud heritage, and dedication to student success, we ignite passions for lifelong learning, serving those around us, and the positive, transformative power of faith. 

For today, and for the next 125 years. 

Past Presidents