Gordon College (Massachusetts)

Gordon College is a private Christian college in Wenham, Massachusetts. The college offers 27 majors, 42 concentrations, and 11 interdisciplinary and pre-professional minors as well as graduate programs in education and music education. Gordon has an undergraduate enrolment of around 1,600 students representing more than 50 Christian denominations.

Gordon College
Seal of Gordon College
Former names
Boston Missionary Training Institute
Boston Missionary Training School
Gordon Missionary Training School
Gordon Bible College
Gordon College of Theology and Missions
Gordon College and Divinity School
MottoΊησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ" (Greek)
Motto in English
"Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior"
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Religious affiliation
Non-denominational Christian
PresidentD. Michael Lindsay
ProvostJanel Curry
Location, ,
United States

42.589780°N 70.822880°W / 42.589780; -70.822880
ColorsNavy blue and white          
AthleticsNCAA Division IIICCC, ECAC
NicknameFighting Scots
AffiliationsAnnapolis Group
Sports20 varsity teams
(9 men's & 11 women's)
MascotScottish Lion Rampant


In 1889 Adoniram Judson Gordon founded the school, Boston Missionary Training Institute,[2] in the Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood of Boston at the Clarendon Street Baptist Church[3] to train Christian missionaries for work in what was then the Belgian Congo.[4] Progressive at its inception in 1889, the school admitted both men and women of various ethnicities. It was renamed Gordon Bible College in 1916[3] and expanded to Newton Theological Institution facilities along the Fenway, into a facility donated by Martha Frost in 1919. Frost, a widowed Bostonian with several properties in the city, provided a significant philanthropic gift.[5] In 1921, the school was renamed Gordon College of Theology and Missions.[3]

In the early 1950s, a Gordon student named James Higginbotham approached Frederick H. Prince about selling his 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) estate to the College after learning of recent property viewings by the United Nations and Harvard University. In 1955, Gordon developed into a liberal arts college with a graduate theological seminary and moved to its present several-hundred-acre Wenham campus north of Boston.[5] Gordon sold its Boston campus on Evans Way to Wentworth Institute of Technology. The Prince Memorial Chapel on the Wenham campus (since replaced) was named for Frederick Prince, and the Prince residence was named Frost Hall after Martha Frost.

In 1958, Gordon College instituted a core curriculum. In the 1950s it launched its first study-abroad program, European Seminar.

In 1962, the school changed its name to Gordon College and Divinity School.[3] In 1970, the Gordon Divinity School separated from the College to merge with the Conwell School of Theology, once part of Temple University, to form the Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts.[5]

Barrington College, founded in 1900 as the Bethel Bible Institute in Spencer, Massachusetts, later relocated to Dudley, Massachusetts, and then to Providence, Rhode Island. It took the name Barrington after the campus was moved to Barrington, Rhode Island, in 1959. Barrington merged with Gordon College in 1985, forming a United College of Gordon and Barrington.

In April 2017, a public rift between the faculty and senior administrators widened when all seven members of the college's faculty senate resigned over "ongoing disagreement with the administration over shared governance, specifically in the processes of approving faculty promotion."[6]

2014 discrimination controversy

On July 1, 2014, Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay was one of fourteen leaders of religious and civic organizations who signed a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama about an executive order he was contemplating that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.[7] The letter asked the president to include language that would exempt religious organizations from the executive order's requirements, suggesting he "find a way to respect diversity of opinion . . . in a way that respects the dignity of all parties". They suggested the exemption be based on language the U.S. Senate had recently added as an amendment to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).[8][9] Obama did not use the ENDA amendment's language when he issued his order on July 21 but left in place a narrower exemption established with respect to federal contractors in 2002 by President George W. Bush's Executive Order 13279.

In response, on July 9, Salem, Massachusetts, Mayor Kimberley Driscoll ended Gordon College's contract to manage and maintain the city's Old Town Hall, citing a city ordinance that prohibits Salem from contracting with entities that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.[10] Gordon's contract with the city would otherwise have expired on September 1.[11] For similar reasons, in August, the Lynn Public Schools ended its relationship with the College, which had provided students to work without pay in the schools as part their training toward degrees in education and social work.[12]

In late July, the Peabody Essex Museum ended its academic relationship with the Gordon museum studies program, later withdrawing its support for Gordon's grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities that aimed at funding an expansion of its museum studies program.[13] In mid-September the New England Association of Schools and Colleges gave the college a year to report on how its non-discrimination policies met the organization's standards for accreditation.[14] At its April 2015 meeting, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges affirmed that Gordon's accreditation remained in good standing, with no further action required by the Commission at that time.[15][16][17][18]

Conservative legal organizations have offered to represent the college in lawsuits that would argue that severing ties to the school constituted retaliation for the exercise of free speech and the practice of religion. Lindsay declined those offers and later said he would not have signed the letter had he anticipated the reaction and the impact on Gordon. The school subsequently reviewed its code of conduct, which, in addition to banning sex outside of marriage, bans homosexual practice.[19] Based on that review, Lindsay announced that "its policy barring student or faculty sex out of heterosexual marriage will remain as is."[20] In addition, Gordon College rolled out several initiatives aimed at preventing bullying of gay, lesbian, transsexual, and bisexual students.[20]

Academic associations

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) has accredited Gordon since 1961.[21] The music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizes Gordon College's teacher-education program under the Interstate Service Compact.[22] Gordon is a member of the Annapolis Group and of the Christian College Consortium. It is also a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).


Gordon College offers BA, BM, BS, MEd, and MMEd degrees.[22] It offers undergraduate degrees from 27 majors, 42 concentrations and 11 interdisciplinary and preprofessional minors.[23] Gordon offers both a graduate degree in education and music. The Graduate Education program offers the MEd degree. The Graduate Music program offers an MMEd degree, licensure-only options, and workshops.[24]

Student life

As of 2013 a total of 2,109 students enrolled at Gordon College, 1,707 of them undergraduates.[25]

A Christian multidenominational college, Gordon requires students to sign the school's Statement of Faith,[26] though the religious conclusions and commitments among students and faculty remain diverse. Catholics do not teach at Gordon College although some students are Catholic. All students must also sign a Life and Conduct Statement agreeing to the standards of behavior that Gordon values. Gordon College prohibits sexual relations outside marriage, homosexual practice, alcohol, tobacco, and narcotic or hallucinogenic drugs on campus[27] and continues to uphold a dorm-visitation policy that allows for male-female visitation only during particular hours.[28] Chapel services take place on Mondays and Wednesdays, and an academic convocation takes place on Fridays; attendance of chapel, convocation or other events (lectures, debates, presentations, films, exhibitions, etc.) is required to graduate. All full-time students must obtain 30 "Christian Life and Worship Credits" per semester.[29]

Student body and demographics

In the fall of 2013 the College drew its undergraduate enrollment of 1,707 from 43 states and 41 foreign countries. Approximately 22 percent of enrollment—including international students—were of Asian, African American, mestizo, Native American, or other non-Caucasian descent.


Gordon College has a student association, student ministries, intramural sports, and a Campus Events Council. There are student-led community-service and outreach organizations ranging from drama troupes to Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity.

Many other Gordon College outreach programs are based at other sites, such as Lynn, Massachusetts, where the school has partners for community development. Several student-led groups organize spring-break, winter-break and summer-break community-service trips and mission trips to different sites around the country and the globe.


Gordon College's varsity sports compete in the NCAA Division III and ACHA, primarily in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). Gordon College teams compete in baseball, basketball, cross-country, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor) and volleyball. Athletes are called "The Fighting Scots."[30]

Fighting Scots Basketball

Head coach Tod Murphy, who became head coach in 2009, had led the Fighting Scots to five Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament appearances as of 2015.[31] One of these five years he led the team to an NCAA tournament appearance.[32]


In 2007, Gordon College dedicated its 450-acre campus property in the name of benefactors Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler following an unrestricted endowment promise of $60 million from their estate, which the College would receive at an undetermined future date. As of 2007, the Fowler gift (once received) was projected to triple the current endowment for Gordon College. In 2014 the Gordon endowment was $44,008,437.[33] The Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler Campus at Gordon College is minutes away from the beaches of Massachusetts's North Shore and 25 miles north of Boston. The campus is situated on 450 acres (180 ha) of wooded property.

The Gordon College Bennett Center[34] is a 78,000 square feet (7,200 m2) athletics and recreational sports facility. The Bennett Center is a gift to the Gordon community from the George and Helen Bennett family. The $8 million center was completed in October 1996 and in 1997 won the Athletics Business Magazine Top Ten New Facilities Award for its design and usability.

The Ken Olsen Science Center, named for the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation and long-time Gordon College Board member, Ken Olsen, is an 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) science and technology center at the heart of the campus.

Gordon Global Programs

One of the longest-running study abroad programs in higher education, Gordon's Global Education Office has programs in Orvieto, Italy, Hong Kong, Oxford, Belize, Croatia, the Balkins, New Zealand, Latin America, and Uganda. Students enrolled in Gordon's Global program may use financial aid towards a study abroad semester.

Notable alumni

  • John-Manuel Andriote, journalist. Writer for the Washington Post specializing reporting on HIV and AIDS.
  • Edwin David Aponte, cultural historian, author, Presbyterian minister, and Executive Director at the Louisville Institute.
  • Roy A. Clouser, Professor Emeritus of The College of New Jersey. He has served as professor of philosophy and religion at the College since 1968.
  • Rob Graves, Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer, double majored in pre-medical biology and theology, and graduated in 2000.[35]
  • Pete Holmes, comedian, member of the Gordon College campus comedy group, The Sweaty-Toothed Madmen.
  • James Davison Hunter, sociologist who is currently the LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture, and Social Theory at the University of Virginia.
  • Meredith G. Kline, theologian and Old Testament scholar. He also had degrees in Assyriology and Egyptology.
  • George Eldon Ladd, Baptist minister and professor of New Testament exegesis and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California
  • Kenneth Lee Pike, linguist and anthropologist. He was the originator of the theory of tagmemics and coiner of the terms "emic" and "etic".
  • Ralph Richardson, former chancellor of Atlantic Baptist University (now Crandall University) in Canada.
  • Gary D. Schmidt, award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults.
  • Jen Simmons, web developer, graphic designer and educator
  • Christian Smith, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Center for Social Research at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Doug Worgul, novelist, attended from 1971–72.

Notable faculty

  • Marvin R. Wilson - Emeriti, Harold John Ockenga Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies
  • Bruce Herman – Professor of art, visual artist and author


  1. "Gordon College Annual Report 2012" (PDF). gordon.edu. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  2. "A. J. Gordon Heritage Project". gordon.edu. Archived from the original on 6 December 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  3. ''American universities and colleges: a dictionary of name changes'' by Alice H. Songe. Rowman & Littlefield (1978), p. 79. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  4. Archived December 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  5. "History at Gordon College". Gordon.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  6. "Entire Faculty Senate Resigns". The Tartan. April 6, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  7. "Gordon head Michael Lindsay: Letter on hiring gays 'misconstrued'". The Salem News. July 9, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  8. Hirschfeld, Julie (July 8, 2014). "Faith Groups Seek Exclusion From Bias Rule". The New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  9. "Letter to Obama from faith leaders". Washington Post. July 1, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  10. "Salem nixes Gordon College contract". The Salem News. July 9, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  11. Rocheleau, Matt (July 10, 2014). "Salem ends Gordon College's use of town hall". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  12. Ortega, Oliver (August 30, 2014). "Lynn public schools sever relationship with Gordon College". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  13. Dempsey, Neil H. (July 25, 2014). "Peabody Essex Museum severs ties with Gordon College". Salem News. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  14. Moore, Mary (September 25, 2014). "Accreditation board gives Gordon College a year to review policy on homosexuality". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  15. "Joint Statement by Gordon College and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education". New England Association of Schools & Colleges, Inc. April 15, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  16. "Questions About Accreditation"
  17. Jones, Leigh (March 27, 2015). "Review board: Gordon College accreditation not at risk". WORLD. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  18. French, David (May 1, 2015). "Gordon College Keeps Its Faith and Its Accreditation". National Review. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  19. Zoll, Rachel (November 3, 2014). "Gordon College President Was Surprised At Reaction To Anti-Gay Stance". Huffington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  20. "Gordon College maintains ban on 'homosexual practice,' creates human sexuality task force". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  21. Details on Gordon College, NEASC
  22. "Stats and Facts". Gordon.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  23. "Academics". Gordon.edu. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  24. "Christian College: Graduate Programs – Gordon College". Gordon.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  25. "National Center for Education Statistics: Gordon College". Nces.ed.gov. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  26. "Statement of Faith". gordon.edu. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  27. "Summary of Behavioral Expectations at Gordon College". Gordon.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  28. "Residence Life Information and Policies". Gordon.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  29. "Chapel Attendance Policy at Gordon College". Gordon.edu. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
  30. http://athletics.gordon.edu/
  31. "Gordon Athletics – Men's Basketball Archives". gordon.edu. Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  32. "Gordon Athletics – 2009–10 Men's Basketball Schedule". Gordon College. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  33. "Gordon Endowment 2014". Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  34. "Bennett Center". gordon.edu. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  35. "In Focus: Alumni". gordon.edu. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
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