Old Main, Bethany College
Backstory and Context
Founded in 1840, it is the oldest institution of higher education in West Virginia. Many of the buildings on campus have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contribute to the Bethany Historic District. The five buildings are Campbell Mansion, Christian Manor at Pendleton Heights, Delta Tau Delta Founders’ House, Old Main, and The Old Meeting House.
Today, Bethany College is non-sectarian and governed by an independent board of trustees. However, strong historical ties remain with the Disciples of Christ movement, and the school continues to act as a four-year liberal arts college as it was intended to be by its founder Alexander Campbell. There are a wide variety of majors and minors to choose from and a very active student life. Currently, 27 states and 10 countries are represented in the student population. There are 10,000 living alumni including William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, and Dave Sims. The College has 26 departmental and 6 interdisciplinary majors with 33 minors. Bethany offers B.A. B.S. and M.A.T. degrees. There is also a dual degree program with both Case Western University and Duquesne University. Bethany is one of the very few colleges in the country that requires all students to complete a senior project and a comprehensive exam before graduation. Current enrollment at Bethany College is 665 with 632 being undergrad students.
In 2016, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) National Historic Archives were opened on the college grounds. It is located next to the Campbell Mansion. The Disciples of Christ movement began during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. It was essentially two different sects forming in two areas. Barton Stone led his group called the Christians in Kentucky. Alexander Campbell and his father, Thomas, led their group began in western Pennsylvania and what is now West Virginia. The two groups eventually joined in 1831. Alexander Campbell had issues on with what the name should be and whether the group should meet for conventions. The need for evangelism became one important factor leading to the separation of the Churches of Christ from the Disciples of Christ.
History of the Disciples. . Accessed April 24, 2018. http://disciples.org/our-identity/history-of-the-disciples/.