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Evangel University honored for beautiful campus, again

Published on Mar 14, 2017 by Paul K. Logsdon

SPRINGFIELD, MO — As the last blast of winter weather blankets the Ozarks, Evangel University has been recognized again for the beauty of its 90+ acre campus. The North Glenstone campus has been named #3 on the list of “25 Most Beautiful Colleges and Universities in the Midwest for 2017.”

The recognition comes from Christian Universities Online (CUO), an independent online resource for prospective students and their families researching Christian higher education.

There are roughly 900 religiously affiliated colleges in the U.S.

Evangel Clock Tower ’15
The Clock Tower was dedicated in honor of Evangel’s 50th Anniversary (2005) and is a signature landmark on campus. // PHOTO BY: Paul K. Logsdon (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“Campus appearance should not necessarily be a primary criteria for making a decision,” said Anna Rebekah Orr, associate editor of CUO. However, “a pleasant environment in which to study and learn is not unimportant! Considering both natural and man-made elements of each campus, CUO desires to present the best the Midwest has to offer when it comes to overall campus beauty.”

For the 2017 CUO listing, #1 was University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn., and #2 was Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. Also in the top 25 this year, College of the Ozarks was ranked #14.

This was not the first time Evangel has been recognized for its attractve campus — in 2016, Evangel was named one of “The 50 Most Beautiful Christian Colleges & Universities in the U.S.;” and in 2014, Evangel was ranked as one of “The 50 Most Beautiful Christian College & University Campuses in the World” by the CUO.

At that time, the editor stated that Evangel and the others listed “excel not only academically and spiritually, but also aesthetically — boasting some of the loveliest looking campuses anywhere on Earth.”

Online tour of Evangel:

Methodology of the rankings

The methodology behind this ranking began with schools that are members or member eligible of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Each of these schools were evaluated and scored in the following criteria: 1) continuity of campus, 2) architectural style, 3) signature building(s), and 4) natural setting. The total score from these criteria was then used to rank the schools.

The administration building was named for one of the key founders of Evangel, the Rev. Ralph M. Riggs. // PHOTO BY: Paul K. Logsdon
The administration building was named for one of the key founders of Evangel, the Rev. Ralph M. Riggs. // PHOTO BY: Paul K. Logsdon (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Campus development

“Evangel’s campus is well laid out, centered around its signature clock tower, with plenty of green space and paths for walking,” said Orr.

Founded in 1955, Evangel University’s unique setting is traced back to World War II, when the land was used as O’Reilly General Hospital, a treatment center for soldiers of the war. At one time, 86 barracks covered its portion of the land. Now, only the original boiler house remains.

The campus transformation began in the early 1960s with a new library, and reached today’s status in 2009 with the completion of the Ralph M. Riggs Hall Administration Building.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” said Dr. Michael Kolstad, vice president for university advancement. “The transformation of our campus reached its zenith with nine major building projects being completed during the decade of the 2000s. But we are not finished. We are equally excited about our plans for the future.”

Evangel receives local recognition each year when they invite the community to celebrate spring by enjoying nearly 18,000 tulips as they bloom.