Cornerstone University has a rich heritage of equipping students with biblical truths to make an impact in the world for Christ.
Founded in 1941, the Baptist Bible Institute of Grand Rapids, Michigan, (now Cornerstone University) opened as an evening school with over 200 students enrolled. Classes were held two evenings per week in the educational wing of Wealthy Street Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. Fees for regularly enrolled students were $2 per term!
The institute continued to grow and develop into a day and evening school. Eventually, a seminary began and the Bible institute became a four-year Bible college and seminary.
In 1964, the college and seminary moved to their current 132-acre campus. The same year, the college became a member of the American Association of Bible Colleges.
The day before students were to arrive on the new campus that fall, the administration building was still an unbelievable mess. The college president, administrators and professors went to work with buckets, mops, soap, brooms and dust cloths, working until midnight to make sure all was ready. “That first night,” said then-president Dr. W. Wilbert Welch, "we fed our arriving students oven-heated Spam!"
In the 1970s and early '80s, the school – then named Grand Rapids Baptist College and Seminary – continued to experience significant growth in enrollment, facilities and reputation. In 1972, the school was approved by the State of Michigan as a degree-granting college of arts and sciences. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools granted accreditation in 1977. During these years, construction on campus continued with the addition of several buildings.
In 1993, Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music merged with the institution. Enrollment, programs and facilities continued to expand.
Today, Cornerstone University has a total enrollment of more than 2,600 students. The university has programs for traditional undergraduate students; the Professional and Graduate Studies Division, which offers courses across the state of Michigan; and a growing number of graduate programs including advanced theological training offered at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and in southeast Asia. Cornerstone University Radio reaches millions of listeners daily through the outreach ministries of WCSG-FM, WAYK-FM, WAYG-FM and Mission Network News.
Names of the Institution Since Its Beginning:
1941-1944: Baptist Bible Institute of Grand Rapids, Michigan
1944-1948: Baptist Bible Institute and School of Theology of Grand Rapids, Michigan
1948-1963: Grand Rapids Baptist Theological Seminary and Bible Institute
1963-1972: Grand Rapids Baptist Bible College and Seminary
1972-1994: Grand Rapids Baptist College and Seminary
1994-1999: Cornerstone College and Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary
1999-present: Cornerstone University