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Baptist Bible College in Springfield rebrands as Mission University as turnaround continues

Baptist Bible College in Springfield is changing its name to Mission University. The rebranding references the founding purpose of the institution to train Christian pastors and missionaries.

“We have overcome in the last few years some of the most difficult things a college can experience,” President Mark Milioni said told the “Springfield News-Leader.” “But today, it pleases all of us to say that we are healthier than we have been in a long, long time. Today is a new day. We have been reinvented, reinvigorated and revived.”

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Milioni, in his 12th year as president, said the new name reflects the expanded offerings now available. “We are thankful for our historic past,” he said. “And we are very excited about the future as we unveil our new name, brand and architectural plans.”

Milioni said the college has rebounded from several serious challenges that threatened its existence. For example, student enrollment, which exceeded 2,500 students at one point, dropped below 200. Many of the buildings used to educate students — including prominent graduates such as Jerry Falwell — grew outdated. Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. Department of Education placed the higher education institution on a federal “watch list” because of its shaky financial stability. Not long after, the Higher Learning Commission placed it on probation.

“Probation is probably the best thing that ever happened to Baptist Bible College,” he said. “It made us examine everything so we did. We made some major personnel changes and some major academic changes — changes to the processes and the committees and the oversight, to the data. Today, our academics are outstanding and people would drive past us and they would never guess that.”

Milioni said the fully accredited university is off both probation and the watch list and is now on solid financial and academic footing. Enrollment has grown steadily and now stands at 371.

“Looking at what we have done in the past and who we were, what we have overcome and looking at where we are today, we have grown by over 20 percent in each of the past three years,” he said. “We are getting interest from a lot of people from all of the small towns outside of Springfield in southwest Missouri. There are a lot of godly, conservative families that want what we have.”

–Dwight Widaman | MV

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