Cairn University

Last updated
Cairn University
Philadelphia Biblical University logo.png
MottoWalk a different path
Type Private university
Accreditation Association for Biblical Higher Education, Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Religious affiliation
Nondenominational Christian
President Todd J. Williams
Academic staff
124 [1]
Students1558 [1]
Undergraduates 707
Postgraduates 351
Location, ,
United States
Campus Suburban, 96 acres (39 ha)
Colors Crimson (Pantone 209), Black, & White
Nickname Highlanders
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III - CSAC

Cairn University is a private Christian university in Langhorne Manor and Middletown Township, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. [2] [3] Founded in 1913, the university has six schools: Divinity, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Music, and Social Work. [4] As of Fall 2021 the university will be closing their Social Work program to new students, with existing students within the program allowed to complete their existing program. [5] All students take a minimum of 30 semester hours of Bible classes.



Origins (1913–1951)

On July 8, 1913, W. W. Rugh founded the Bible Institute of Philadelphia as an extension of the National Bible Institute of New York. [6] After teaching public school in his earlier days, Rugh spent several years walking a circuit to teach Bible classes throughout eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This led him to establish an institution where the Scriptures could be taught on a daily basis.

Around the same time, C. I. Scofield and William L. Pettingill, leading Bible teachers of their day, were holding a large conference in the Philadelphia area. Encouraged by numerous requests to establish a permanent school to continue teaching, the two men co-founded [7] Philadelphia School of the Bible on October 1, 1914. Scofield, known internationally for his Bible teaching and his work on the Scofield Reference Bible, became the first president of PSOB and Pettingill was the first dean.

On October 8, 1921, Rugh's school became independent of the New York school and changed its name to Bible Institute of Pennsylvania (BIOPA).

Both BIOPA and PSOB focused on training lay people in the Scriptures for service in the church and their communities. No degrees were conferred.

Merger and accreditation (1951–1979)

In 1951, the two schools merged to become Philadelphia Bible Institute (PBI), located at the YWCA Building at 1800 Arch St. At the time of the merger, William A. Mierop from BIOPA was appointed president and Clarence E. Mason, Jr. from PSOB, academic dean. PBI offered a three-year Bible diploma. By 1958, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted the institute approval to offer a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Bible degree, and then changed its name to Philadelphia College of Bible. In 1967, the school received regional accreditation from the Middle States Association, becoming one of the first Bible colleges accredited by MSA.

During the 1970s, PCB continued to develop its academic offerings and was authorized to grant two additional degrees, the Bachelor of Music and the Bachelor of Social Work.

Students were required to take 55 credit hours of Bible, doctrine, and "Bible college distinctive" courses. [8] [9]

Since the merger, the school has had five presidents: William A. Mierop, from 1951 to 1956; Charles C. Ryrie, from 1958 to 1962; Douglas B. MacCorkle, from 1963 to 1977; and W. Sherrill Babb, from 1979 to 2007; Todd J. Williams became the university's fifth president January 1, 2008.

Relocation and expansion (1979–2012)

W. Sherrill Babb's appointment as president coincided with a relocation from Center City, Philadelphia to a new campus in Langhorne Manor. Under his leadership, in 2000, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted the college approval to become a university and the institution changed its name to Philadelphia Biblical University. During Dr. Babb's presidency, the number of degrees offered increased from three to eleven; six Graduate programs were implemented; four extension campuses established; and student enrollment, faculty, and facility space more than doubled.

Cairn University's Music Building (left) and Biblical Learning Center (right). Cairn University, campus including BLC and Music Building, fall 2012.jpg
Cairn University's Music Building (left) and Biblical Learning Center (right).

In 2007, a new core curriculum was introduced. It included changes to the educational approach of the institution. [10] In the new core curriculum, students earned 36 credits of specified Bible and theology requirements in combination with a comprehensive arts and sciences and professional curriculum. [11]

On January 1, 2008, former President W. Sherrill Babb became the university's first chancellor and former provost Dr. Todd J. Williams was elevated as the university's fifth president. Under the leadership of Dr. Williams, the university has continued to expand its academic offerings. A Master of Business Administration degree was approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2010 and professional minors in Education, Music, Social Work, and Business were added in 2011. There has also been significant growth in co-curricular programs like the Arts Initiative, which is focused on strengthening the University's involvement with the fine arts, and the Center for University Studies.

In October 2011, as part of an effort to reduce the time and costs required for undergraduates to finish their studies, the board of trustees voted to allow students the option to pursue a B.S. in Bible degree, a professional degree (B.S. in Business Administration, B.S. in Education, Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Music), or both Bible and professional degrees concurrently. Prior to this decision, all undergraduate students were required to earn a B.S. in Bible. Students who wanted to earn a second professional degree in an area other than Bible or ministry had to earn over 150 credit hours, which often took four and a half or five years to complete. The October 2011 board decision also reduced the minimum of 36 credits in Bible and Theology in the core curriculum to 30 credits. [12]

Name change and continued growth (2012–present)

On Wednesday April 18, 2012, Dr. Williams announced to the student body during chapel that he and the Board of Trustees were considering changing the name of the school to Cairn University. The name, it was explained, adopts the concept of memorials and trail markers, "Bearing witness [to God's faithfulness] and pointing the way." The announcement and the proposed new name garnered mixed responses from alumni, students, faculty, and the public. [13] By June 8, 2012, the university had filed official document(s) with the Department of Education of the State of Pennsylvania to change its name to Cairn University [14] (see Cairn). The request was approved one month later, and on July 16, 2012, the school went public as Cairn University. [15]


Cairn's basketball team (black jerseys) playing at Geneva College Philadelphia Biblical at Geneva.jpg
Cairn's basketball team (black jerseys) playing at Geneva College

Cairn University student-athletes compete in twelve sports as the Highlanders. Formerly the "Crimson Eagles," students, faculty, and staff voted to change the mascot in conjunction with the 2012 university name change.

The athletic program is affiliated with the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). [16] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

In 2014 the men's Cross Country team won the CSAC Championship. This was the school's first NCAA conference championship in its 100-year history. In 2015 and 2016, the men's Cross Country team won the championship again.

The men's soccer program has won seven NCCAA Division II National Championships (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1996).

Students also participate in intramural sports such as flag football, indoor soccer, basketball, and ultimate frisbee.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

Related Research Articles

Jewish Theological Seminary of America Religious education organization located in New York, New York

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is a Conservative Jewish education organization in New York City, New York. It is one of the academic and spiritual centers of Conservative Judaism and a major center for academic scholarship in Jewish studies.

Moody Bible Institute Bible institute

Moody Bible Institute (MBI) is a private evangelical Christian bible college with its main campus in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded by evangelist and businessman Dwight Lyman Moody in 1886. Since its founding, MBI's main campus has been located on the Near North Side of Chicago. Moody also operates a graduate campus in Plymouth, Michigan.

Drew University University in Madison, New Jersey

Drew University is a private university in Madison, New Jersey. Drew has been nicknamed the "University in the Forest" because of its wooded 186-acre (75 ha) campus. As of fall 2020, more than 2,200 students were pursuing degrees at the university's three schools.

Lancaster Bible College

Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary and Graduate School is a private Bible college, seminary, and graduate school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Tyndale University is a private multi-denominational evangelical Christian university in Toronto, Ontario, which offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Tyndale students come from over 40 different Christian denominations.

Palmer Theological Seminary is a multidenominational seminary affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA. United Methodists, Presbyterians, Mennonites, African Methodist Episcopalians, and other Protestant church denominations are represented both on the Palmer faculty and in its student body. It was founded in 1925 as Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Its parent institution is Eastern University. Palmer Theological Seminary is located on the Eastern University campus at 1300 Eagle Road, St. Davids, PA.

William Tyndale College

William Tyndale College was a nondenominational Christian college located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, United States. Named after 16th-century Protestant scholar William Tyndale, the college was founded as the Detroit Bible Institute in 1945, and became accredited by the American Association of Bible Colleges in 1954 and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1988. William Tyndale College closed on December 31, 2004. Its motto was In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.

Multnomah University (MU) is a private non-denominational Christian university in Portland, Oregon, with a teaching site in Reno, Nevada. Composed of a college, seminary, graduate school, and online distance-learning program, the university offers bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements.

Calvary University is a biblically based, theologically conservative Christian university in Kansas City, Missouri. Formerly Calvary Bible College, the institution opened in 1932 and offers several associate and bachelor's degrees, including an adult degree completion program and online programs. Master of Science (MS) degrees in Organization Development, Music and Education are offered in the Graduate School, and Master of Arts (MA), Master of Divinity (M.Div.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Bible and Theology are offered in the Seminary. Fall 2019 total enrollment was 430, with undergraduate enrollment of 348 and graduate enrollment of 82.

Malcom Ollie "Mal" Couch, Jr. was the founder and first president of the Tyndale Theological Seminary. He was a pastor, an author of many books, and writer of 40 documentaries on Bible prophecies and biblical issues. While president of Tyndale Theological Seminary Couch recruited some very well known scholars and Bible teachers to teach the student body. Dr. Norman Geisler, Dr. Paige Patterson, Dr. Robert Lightner, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, and Paul Enns were used in the educational endeavors at Tyndale Seminary. After Dr. Couch retired from Tyndale Seminary he became a Vice President of the Scofield Graduate School and Seminary located in Modesto, California.

A Bible college, sometimes referred to as a Bible institute or theological institute, is Protestant Christian institution of higher education which prepares students for Christian ministry with theological education, Biblical studies and practical ministry training.

Prairie College

Prairie College is a private Christian post-secondary school located in the town of Three Hills, Alberta. Founded as Prairie Bible Institute, classes began on October 9, 1922, on the property of the McElheran family farm.

Horizon College and Seminary, formerly Central Pentecostal College, and, "Bethel Bible Institute" is a degree-granting institution offering Christian education in Saskatoon, Canada.

Summit Pacific College is an undergraduate seminary, or Bible college, on a foothill of Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. It is affiliated with Trinity Western University in Langley, BC. It is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education and is the theological college of the BC & Yukon District of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

William Culbertson III was as an American pastor, bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, and the fifth president of the Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago, Illinois.

Reformed Episcopal Seminary

The Reformed Episcopal Seminary is a Reformed Episcopal theological seminary in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1887 as the first seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church.

Portland Bible College

Portland Bible College (PBC) is a four-year Bible college in Portland, Oregon, USA that offers theological and church ministry degrees. It was founded in 1967 and is associated with City Bible Church, which is associated with Ministers Fellowship International. The campus is adjacent to City Bible Church on Rocky Butte in northeast Portland.

University of the Southern Caribbean

The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) is a private university owned and operated by the Caribbean Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The main campus is located on 384 acres (1.55 km2) of land in the Maracas Valley on the island of Trinidad of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. There are also six satellite extension campuses located in Scarborough, (Tobago),  Trinidad and Tobago; San Fernando,  Trinidad and Tobago; Georgetown,  Guyana; Bridgetown,  Barbados; Castries,  Saint Lucia; and St. John’s,  Antigua and Barbuda. One other satellite campus is in the planning for St. George's,  Grenada.

Briercrest College and Seminary

Briercrest College and Seminary is a private evangelical post-secondary educational institution located in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada. It comprises a college and a seminary, and operates the Briercrest Christian Academy.

John M. Nielson is a retired American ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, who served as the third president of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in Manila, the Philippines from 1989 until 2001, as well as 15 years in pastoral ministry in the USA, Germany, and Denmark. As an educator, Nielson has taught in Nazarene universities, colleges and seminaries in the USA, the Philippines, Australia, and Samoa, including serving as Associate Professor of Religion at Mount Vernon Nazarene University for 11 years. Previously, Nielson served as a global missionary for the Church of the Nazarene for 17 years. Nielson has written 3 books, a children's musical, and a had several poems and songs published.


  1. 1 2 "About Us - Cairn University" . Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  2. "Zoning Map". Middletown Township . Retrieved 2021-04-05.
  3. "Campus Map". Cairn University. Retrieved 2021-04-05. - Compare to township map.
  4. "Academics - Cairn University". 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  5. Lauer, Claudia. "Christian college ends program citing gender, sex guidelines". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  6. ", WW Rugh". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  7. Merv Gold at Higher Praise Christian Center (1950-09-15). "Higher Praise Greatest Preachers (William Pettingill)". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  8. Janet E. Furness: Education for the Social Work Profession: Innovation in Three Evangelical Institutions between 1960 and 1985, Doctor of Education dissertation, Rutgers University (2009), p. 211.
  9. Philadelphia College of Bible Course Catalog (1975).
  10. Todd J. Williams: "Making Them Ready," PBU Today, Fall 2007.
  11. "2007 Course Catalog – Curriculum Philosophy". Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  12. "Centered on Christ and His Word | Cairn". 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  13. Mackey, David. "Is Philadelphia Biblical University Dancing with Satan?" . Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  14. "PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 12-1052". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  15. "Our Name – Cairn University". Archived from the original on 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  16. "Cairn University Highlanders Athletics". Archived from the original on 2012-09-15. Retrieved 2012-11-16.

Coordinates: 40°09′59″N74°54′32″W / 40.1665°N 74.9089°W / 40.1665; -74.9089