Grace College, located in beautiful Winona Lake, Indiana, is not just another Indiana college. It is a Christian college with a very specific mission: not only to educate minds, but also to sharpen their competence and prepare them for Christian service. Grace College and its sister school, Grace Theological Seminary, take a Christian approach to a standard education, preaching the gospel of Jesus and teaching from a biblical worldview. With an enrollment of over 1,500 students, Grace College is on the list of the 25 largest Indiana colleges and universities. It is larger than Goshen College, but smaller than Marian College, a similar school in Indianapolis.
Campus and Student Life
Grace Theological Seminary opened its doors in 1937 and quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the most acclaimed seminary programs in the nation. Eleven years later, Grace College became active on the same campus, and began issuing undergraduate degrees in a variety of disciplines.
Grace College’s main campus is in Winona Lake, a town in northeast Indiana that’s about half an hour from Fort Wayne and two and a half hours from Indianapolis. It may be a small town, but there are plenty of things to do in Winona Lake, though there are more attractions in Indianapolis. The lake itself is beautiful year round and excellent for fishing, boating, or swimming. The town is home to two museums, several beautiful homes, and a newly restored arts and shopping district, much like Indianapolis’s Mass Ave, except on a smaller scale. The town also features the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds, which holds the county’s annual 4-H fair. It’s like the Indiana State Fairgrounds, only for northern Indiana.
|Video of The Fray performing at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana|
There are also many attractions for Grace College students in the neighboring townships close to campus. Students who want to take a break from their studies can visit Amish Acres in Nappannee to immerse themselves in Amish culture, including tours, crafts, musical theatre, and of course, plenty of great home cooking. Grace College is also near Shipshewana, a haven for kitschy shops and quaint antique stores. In addition, students can visit nearby South Bend, home of the University of Notre Dame, to visit the Studebaker National Museum or the NCAA Hall of Fame (similar to Indianapolis’s NCAA Hall of Champions).
In addition, Grace College features plenty of things to keep its students engaged and occupied. There are several important student organizations that play an active role in campus activities and politics. The Student Senate is an elected student body that helps decide college policy and spread the news among Grace students. The Student Activities Board brings cool and informative events to campus, and the Grace Intramural Program gives an outlet for students who feel like running around in a field all day. There are many more student bodies to choose from as well, each providing an important piece to the Grace College puzzle.
True to its mission, Grace College also has plenty of ways to enrich its students’ spiritual lives as well as their social lives. One of these programs is the Center for Character and Leadership Development, or CCLD. CCLD is the governing force behind all the student organizations. They strive to create the leaders of tomorrow through mentoring programs, community service, and challenging academics. CCLD is less interested in the material goods and services that a good leader produces; they attempt to train leaders of integrity with a firm foundation of faith and moral fiber.
Since it is a college firmly grounded in Christian beliefs, Grace College is divided into three distinct areas of student life: the residence hall, the classroom, and, perhaps most important to Grace, the chapel. Grace College students are required to attend chapel once a week. While the Grace College chapel isn’t as impressive as the Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, it is a modern place of worship with stadium seating and state of the art technology, all used to unify the Grace campus and equip students spiritually for the challenges of tomorrow.
|Video highlights of the 2009 chapel series at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana|
The chapel features seminars, sermons, and events by a variety of different groups and teachers. Students may be hearing about the resurrection of Christ one week and learning about teen mission trips in Guatemala the next. Grace College features a rotating roster of speakers, many of them ordained ministers or professionals in possession of doctorates, so there’s always something new on the schedule.
Key to Grace College‘s mission is “sharpening competency”. Nowhere is this more fulfilled than in Grace College’s academic programs. In 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Grace as one of the top colleges in the Midwest. In the same year, Princeton Review also chose Grace as one of the best schools in the region, saying that Grace possessed “excellent academics”. The college is a liberal arts institution that is divided into four different schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Ministry Studies, School of Music, and the School of Adult and Community Education. Through these four division, Grace offers over 50 undergraduate majors, including art education, international languages, behavioral science, environmental biology, and many others.
In 2008, Grace College significantly expanded academic options for its students by introducing the School of Adult and Community Education and Grace Online. Though still developing, the School of Adult and Community Education is on the way up. The service provides adult students who already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree with convenient ways to complete their graduate studies. These methods include night courses, flexible scheduling, and even some online curriculum. Grace College even has a partnership with the Warsaw, Indiana branch of Ivy Tech Community College, one of the leading providers of adult education in the state.
Grace Online, also created in 2008, is a program that allows Grace students to complete their post-graduate studies online. While not as comprehensive as Phoenix University‘s online curriculum, Grace Online currently provides two master’s degrees, the Master of Education and the Master of Science in Instructional Leadership. In addition, Grace Theological Seminary offers online master’s degrees in Local Church Studies and Intercultural Studies. Most of the work for these programs is completed via the internet, but students also receive personal attention on campus.
Grace College also allows high school students to get a head start on their post-secondary education with the “Jump-Start Program”. High school juniors and seniors with good GPA’s can take several Grace classes that earn them high school and college credit. It’s a good way for high school students to get their degree faster than normal.
Grace College seeks to glorify God by glorifying the spectacular ability of the human body through athletic competition. The Grace College Lancers carry out this mission with pleasure, showing off their skills in a variety of sports, including cross country, soccer, track, volleyball, and that old Hoosier favorite, basketball. The Lancers can stand toe to toe with any Indianapolis sports team, and they’re proud of it.
|Video highlights of a basketball game between Grace College and the University of Saint Francis|
Grace College belongs to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), which also includes Marian College and Oakland City University. They are part of the Mid-Central College Conference; the University of Saint Francis, Goshen College, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Taylor University also compete in the MCC.
The Lancers have a history of success; their sports teams have won a total of 42 conference championships and two national championships. The men’s soccer team in particular has done very well; they have won eleven of the school’s 42 conference championships. Previous years haven’t been so kind. In the 2008-2009 season, the team posted a 7-11 record with victories over Manchester College and Huntington University and a loss to Taylor University. The team, unfortunately, lost in the first rounds of the MCC Tournament and the NAIA Tournament.
|Video highlights of a soccer match between Marian University and Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana|
A Christian Worldview
All in all, Grace College fulfills its mission of disseminating the word of Christ through its students, making it a great place to attend college. Winona Lake is a beautiful area with tons of attractions and things to do, and the college sends service workers throughout its region. Its academic programs create leaders of tomorrow through community service, rigorous study, and mentoring programs. The Grace College Lancers have experienced a great deal of success on the athletic field on their way to 42 conference championships.
For more information on Grace College, including a course catalog and a detailed mission statement, please visit the college’s homepage.
200 Seminary Dr
Winona Lake, IN 46590
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