Bluffton University is a liberal arts university in northwestern Ohio founded in 1899 and affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Shaped by that historic peace church tradition and nourished by a desire for excellence in all phases of its programs, Bluffton University seeks to prepare students of all backgrounds for life as well as vocation, for responsible citizenship, for service to all peoples and ultimately for the purpose of God's universal kingdom.
Bluffton's pursuit of excellence, informed by its Christian commitments as understood through Anabaptist/Mennonite faith values, expresses itself in the following Bluffton University purposes:
- to provide a superior baccalaureate program in the liberal arts emphasizing individual inquiry, critical thinking and lifelong learning;
- to provide superior preparation in a select number of professional areas as an integral part of the liberal arts program;
- to provide select master's degree programs in areas of Bluffton University strengths and expertise which address contemporary needs;
- to integrate the Christian expression of outreach, service and peacemaking into not only the curricular and co-curricular programs, but the daily life of the university community;
- to contribute to the intellectual, cultural and spiritual welfare of the local, national and global communities.
Today, Bluffton has grown to an institution of more than 1,200 students, 65 full-time and 45 part-time teaching faculty, and 95 full-time and 19 part-time administrative and staff members. Bluffton students come from approximately 20 states and a dozen foreign countries, and represent 20 different church denominations. Bluffton's living alumni number close to 13,000, and reside in all 50 states and many foreign countries.
Bluffton's motto, The Truth Makes Free, is taken from the words of Christ in the Gospel of John. On a daily basis, this truth finds expression at Bluffton through four enduring values of discovery, community, respect and service.
- Discovery embodies the explorative nature of our academic offerings and cross-cultural requirement, the development of new relationships and experiences, and the uncovering of personal spirituality and faith.
- Community represents the rich collaboration among faculty, students and staff, the residential and intimate nature of our campus, and the importance of the shared experience for discerning direction and meaning in life.
- Respect encompasses and symbolizes our sensitivity to diversity within our community and to our commitments to peaceful resolution of conflict and to environmental stewardship.
- Service personifies our heartfelt community outreach to meet the needs of others, and offers
a means for helping to achieve a more fully reconciled, peaceful world.
Community of respect
Bluffton University strives to be a community of respect where everyone, regardless of circumstances or background, is held in mutual high regard. As members of the Bluffton community whether faculty, staff or students our standards of campus conduct are based on the mutual respect we believe we are committed to extend to each other.
At a minimum this means that Bluffton University will not discriminate against any student or employee because of race, color, creed, gender, religion, age, disability or ethnic or national origin, except that because of our heritage and mission we do give preference in appointing faculty and staff who share a commitment to Christian faith which is consistent with the Mennonite/Anabaptist beliefs of the university's founding and supporting church. However, those religious beliefs, which inform Bluffton's commitment to social justice, compel us to develop and celebrate a diverse and inclusive campus community with respect to culture and race, color, creed, gender, religion, age, disability or ethnic or national origin.
The educational program offerings of Bluffton University are organized as follows:
- Traditional undergraduate programs enroll the largest number of Bluffton students about 825 and have been offered since the founding of Bluffton in 1899. Full-time students take four or five semester-long courses each fall and spring. During the month-long May term that follows spring semester, many students take the opportunity to travel on one of Bluffton's many cross-cultural experiences to both domestic and international locations. Bluffton also offers a limited selection of courses during a summer term. Most traditional program students are in the 18-24 age range, are pursuing the four-year Bachelor of Arts degree in one of Bluffton's many undergraduate majors and participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. About 90 percent of them live on-campus in one of Bluffton's residence halls.
- Adult undergraduate degree completion programs have been offered at Bluffton since 1992, and more recently at several off-campus sites. Students need about two years of previous college credit to enter this program. Total annual enrollment is about 106 students, with students working toward bachelor's degrees in organizational management or human resource management. Designed for working adults within driving distance of one of Bluffton's teaching locations in Archbold, Findlay, Piqua or Bluffton, the programs enroll students in cohort groups that take a series of one-night-a-week courses together (beginning a new course every four to six weeks), over a period of two years to finish the degree.
- Graduate programs, begun at Bluffton in 1995, currently enroll about 120 students working toward the
Master of Arts in Education (MAED), Master of Arts in Business Administration (MBA)
and the Master of Arts in Organizational Management (MAOM) degrees. Graduate programs
in education, on the Bluffton campus, feature typical semester-long and summer courses
while the graduate programs in business are offered in the one-night-per-week cohort
model at Archbold, Piqua and Bluffton.
Other educational programs
College Credit Plus courses provide opportunities for high school juniors and seniors from neighboring schools to enroll in select Bluffton classes together with regular college students. They receive college credit from Bluffton that also counts toward their high school graduation requirements. The state of Ohio funds this program.
The Lion & the Lamb Peace Arts Center was founded in 1987 to promote the study of peace and justice, cross-cultural understanding and nonviolent responses to conflict, with an emphasis on these themes for children. Its programs are available to interested individuals and groups from schools, churches and communities throughout the region and beyond. For additional information, please visit www.bluffton.edu/lionlamb/.
Bluffton University comprises a main campus in Bluffton, Ohio, with additional teaching sites for adult degree completion and graduate programs at Archbold (60 miles northwest), Findlay (20 miles northeast) and Piqua (60 miles south) in Ohio.
The Bluffton campus itself occupies 234 acres. The 70 acre campus core is partially covered with a natural forest and is bisected by the Little Riley Creek. Physical facilities include 12 major academic and support buildings, seven residence halls and the Emory Sears Athletic Complex. Adjacent is the Bluffton University Nature Preserve with its woodland and grassland trails, a riverine ecosystem and a small lake wildlife habitat.
Governance of Bluffton University
Bluffton is governed by a 27 member (maximum) Board of Trustees. To ensure ongoing connection with the founding denomination, nine of the trustees are appointed by various regional conferences of congregations of Mennonite Church USA, with two others appointed by the denomination's Mennonite Education Agency and representing Mennonite Church USA. Three trustees are appointed by Bluffton alumni and the remainder are appointed by the board itself. The board operates with an Executive Committee and separate committees for oversight of academic affairs, advancement, enrollment management and student life, fiscal affairs and strategic planning/board development. The Board of Trustees employs the university's president, within whom it vests authority for operations of the university.