The Statement of Mission
Asbury University, a Christian Liberal Arts University in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, equips students, through academic excellence and spiritual vitality, for lifelong learning, leadership and service to the professions, society, the family and the Church, preparing them to engage their cultures and advance the cause of Christ around the world.
The Statement of Purpose
Asbury University is an independent liberal arts University, providing undergraduate and graduate programs guided by the classical tradition of orthodox Christian thought. Central to this endeavor is a clear affirmation of the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as God’s infallible and authoritative word, and particularly its teaching that the world was created by God and that persons are created in the image of God. On this foundation, we seek to provide an excellent integrated educational experience that appreciates truth in all areas of life and develops whole persons for achievement and service. Whether preparing students for further advanced degree study or for professional employment, the educational programs of the University reflect a liberal arts character.
The University believes in the humanizing value of broad exposure to the Western cultural heritage, the “great tradition” as both a classical body of knowledge and a dynamic conversation on the great ideas and values that have shaped this civilization. In robust interaction with Christian faith and practice, this educational approach develops students’ natural God-given potentials as rational, moral, spiritual, social, and physical beings. The University seeks to expand students’ horizons outward to understand the history and value of other peoples and cultures and prepares them for involvement in a complex and changing global reality.
University life is shaped by the Wesleyan understanding of sin, grace, and the possibility of full salvation for Christ-like living. Asbury University embraces the equality, dignity, and worth of all persons and endeavors to be a campus community that reflects both the unity and diversity of the body of Christ. Asbury University fosters in students a commitment to Jesus Christ as personal Savior and to holiness of heart and life. The University sends them forth to transformatively engage the cultures in which they are called to live out their allegiance to the Kingdom of God and to participate in the cause of world redemption.
The Statement of Faith
Asbury University is a Christian liberal arts University which stands in the long succession of Christian orthodoxy. Although no official denominational emphasis exists at Asbury University and all may participate fully in the spiritual life of the campus, the institution maintains its commitment to an evangelical Wesleyan-Arminian perspective and requires all who affiliate with the University community to live within the guidelines of this commitment. Those basic beliefs to which Asbury University is dedicated are stated as follows:
- That the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments constitute the divinely inspired Word of God, that they are inerrant in the original writings, and that they are the final authority for truth and life.
- That all truth is a unity since it originates in God, and that God imparts it to man through His revelation in Jesus Christ, in the Scriptures, and in nature.
- That there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- That Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man.
- That Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that His atonement is for the whole human race, and that whosoever repents and believes through faith in Him is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin.
- That man was created in the image of God, that man fell into sin through disobedience and “so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12), that all human beings are born with a bent toward sinning, and in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in need of conversion.
- That entire sanctification is that act of divine grace, through the baptism with the Holy Spirit, by which the heart is cleansed from all sin and filled with the pure love of God. This is a definite cleansing work of grace in the heart of a believer subsequent to conversion, resulting from full consecration and faith in the cleansing merit of the blood of Jesus Christ.
- That the Holy Spirit bears witness both to the new birth and to entire sanctification enables the Christian to live a godly life, to grow in the graces of the Spirit, and to walk blamelessly in His holy commandments.
- That the church is the body of Christ, and that all who are united by faith to Him are its members and love one another out of pure hearts.
- That the crucified body of the Lord was resurrected, that He ascended into heaven, and that His return will be personal and is imminent.
- That there will be a bodily resurrection, of the just to everlasting blessedness, and of the unjust to everlasting punishment.
The institution maintains its historic Christian commitment and resists the public practice or propagation of beliefs alien to its Wesleyan Christian orthodoxy. It welcomes students though who have not come to that faith but are respectful of the institution, its mission, and its commitment.
In keeping with our rich Wesleyan-Holiness foundation and commitment, Asbury University believes firmly in the inherent equality of all persons before God, irrespective of race, gender, age, or socioeconomic reality. This equality includes salvation, full membership, participation, and leadership in Church and society (including pulpit ministry), reception & exercise of spiritual gifts, and pursuit of vocational call. Therefore, Asbury University is committed to encouraging all persons to explore, discover, and express their vocational call in obedience to God and for His glory.
The Wesleyan Theological Heritage
Five Biblical concepts, promoted by John Wesley and his followers, guide our mission.
- The Nature of the Truth: We believe that all Truth is God’s Truth, liberating us to pursue knowledge in any and every legitimate discipline of learning.
- The Authority of Scripture: In pursuing Truth, we are anchored to the authority of the Bible employing reason, experience, and tradition to develop a Christian world view that unites academic excellence and spiritual vitality.
- The Nature of Humanity: We believe that men and women are distinct beings created by God, endowed with a free will, and dependent upon God’s undeserved mercy to exercise the freedom to choose and change responsibly.
- The Importance of Purity: We believe that the Christian’s deepest need is for a purity of heart and a freedom from the power of sin, which we describe as entire sanctification, in order to live pleasing to God. Sanctification is a definite cleansing experience by the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion, and a life-long process of cleansing by the Holy Spirit gradually conforming the believer into the image of Christ. It is a process encompassing both purity and maturity.
- The Call to Service: We believe that the primary motivation for seeking Truth is to live lives of meaningful, sacrificial service contributing to God’s redemptive purposes for creation and society.
The Asbury Heritage
Asbury University was founded in 1890 as the fulfillment of a pledge the Reverend John Wesley Hughes, a Methodist evangelist, made as a student at Vanderbilt University a decade earlier. He chose Wilmore as the school’s location because it was situated within his evangelistic preaching circuit and because the townspeople had shown a willingness to support the financing of the initial physical plant.
Originally named Kentucky Holiness College, the school was renamed Asbury College to honor the founder of American Methodism, Bishop Francis Asbury. He was directly responsible for the organization of Bethel Academy in the 1790’s. The first of its kind west of the Allegheny Mountains, Bethel Academy was a pioneering Methodist school, located on the banks of the Kentucky River, approximately four miles south of the present Asbury University campus.
On March 5, 2010, Asbury College was renamed to Asbury University, to reflect the institution’s growth and further planned expansion in its master’s level programs and international markets.
Asbury opened its doors for instruction in September 1890, stating in its ‘Bulletin’ that, “While we give prominence to the religious, we give equal prominence to thorough mental training; thus giving liberal culture of mind and soul.” Since 1893 the University has graduated more than 16,500 men and women, among whom are University presidents, denominational leaders, business executives, medical doctors, lawyers, school administrators, and professors. A host of pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and other full-time Christian workers are also among the alumni, who have placed the Asbury imprint around the world.
Asbury University is an independent institution, held in trust by a self-perpetuating board of trustees. It is evangelical in its religious commitment, bound by its by-laws to those doctrinal standards established by John Wesley and his immediate successors. The University is not supported by any denomination nor does it receive government funds. Admission is open to any qualified student meeting its standards for matriculation.
Since its inception Asbury University has been led by eighteen presidents. Their names and dates of service are listed below.
John Wesley Hughes, Ph.B., D.D. (1890-1905)
Francis Florien Fitch, A.M., S.T.B. (1905)
Benjamin Franklin Haynes, D.D. (1905-1908)
Newton Wray, D.D. (1908-1909)
Aaron Sherman Watkins, D.D., Ph.D., LL.D. (1909-1910)
Henry Clay Morrison, D.D., LL.D. (1910-1925)
Lewis Robeson Akers, B.A., M.A., D.D., LL.D. (1925-1933)
Henry Clay Morrison, D.D., LL.D. (1933-1940)
Zachary Taylor Johnson, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., LL.D., D.D. (1940-1966)
Karl Kenneth Wilson, B.A., B.D., Th.M., Ph.D. (1966-1967)
Cornelius R Hager, B.A., B.D., M.A., LL.D. (1967-1968)
Dennis Franklin Kinlaw, B.A., B.D., M.A., Ph.D. (1968-1981)
Cornelius R Hager, B.A., B.D., M.A., LL.D. (1981-1983)
John Newell Oswalt, B.A., B.D., Th.M., M.A., Ph.D. (1983-1986)
Dennis Franklin Kinlaw, B.A., B.D., M.A., Ph.D. (1986-1991)
Edwin Gene Blue, B.A., M.S., Ed.D. (1991-1992)
Cornelius R Hager, B.A., B.D., M.A., LL.D. (1992-1993)
David John Gyertson, B.A., Ph.D. (1993-2000)
Paul Alexander Rader, B.A., B.D., Th.M., D.Miss. (2000-2006)
William Clark Crothers, B.A., M.B.A., Ph.D. (2006-2007)
Sandra Cowley Gray, B.B.A., M.B.A., Ph.D. (2007-2019)
Kevin J Brown, B.S., M.B.A., M.Litt., Ph.D. (2019- )
The Wilmore Campus
Thousands of people have walked the paths of the beautiful Asbury University campus, graced with Georgian-colonial architecture, set on 65 acres of gently rolling hills of the Kentucky bluegrass. The total University property, including the campus, covers more than 700 acres. At the entrance to the campus is a semi-circle drive which borders a tree-shaded area, dotted in the spring and summer with park benches. Go to https://www.asbury.edu/about/campus/ to learn about campus facilities.
- Asbury University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and education specialist degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Asbury University.
- Asbury University is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant alien students.
- Asbury University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
- Asbury University is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The Asbury University School of Education is approved by the State of Kentucky through the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). Any education program offered is subject to changes made by the EPSB.
- The Asbury University Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, Commission on Accreditation.
Asbury University is licensed by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to offer the A.A., A.S., B.A., B.S., M.A., M.A.T., M.B.A., M.F.A., and Ed.S. degrees.
Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
100 Airport Road, 2nd Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-1555
Fax: (502) 573-1535
Memberships include the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities, Christian College Consortium, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, National Athletic Intercollegiate Association, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Southeastern Library Network, Inc., The University Board, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
University chapters of organizations related to various professional groups and honor societies: Kentucky Education Association - Student Program, Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish), Sigma Zeta (physical sciences), Phi Beta Lambda (business), Phi Alpha Theta (history), Pi Kappa Delta (speech), Sigma Zeta Tau (English), the National Association for Music Education, the Student Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Society of Collegiate Journalists, and the Student Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (SNATS).