Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

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OKLAHOMA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

On August 31, 2001, Bartlesville Wesleyan College (formerly the Central Pilgrim College) became known as Oklahoma Wesleyan University. In 1958 the Pilgrim Holiness Church purchased the La Quinta Mansion plus twenty acres and other buildings located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and established the Central Pilgrim College the following year. A private school, the institution was organized following the merger of the Colorado Springs (Colorado) Bible College, the Pilgrim Bible College (Pasadena, California), and the Holiness Evangelistic Institute (El Monte, California). At the turn of the twenty-first century the La Quinta Mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NR 82003716) and former home of oilman Henry Vernon Foster, housed the Oklahoma Wesleyan University library and administrative offices.

In 1968 the Pilgrim Holiness Church and the Wesleyan Methodist Church merged to become the Wesleyan Church. Thus, the Central Pilgrim College became known as the Bartlesville Wesleyan College (BWC) in 1968. The two-year school offered a four-year religion degree. However, in 1972 it became a four-year college when it merged with the Miltonvale Wesleyan College in Kansas. During the 1970s a science building, a sports center, Scott Hall, and other buildings were constructed. In March 1987 student cottages, that matched the Spanish architecture of the La Quinta Mansion, were opened.

At the turn of the twenty-first century Oklahoma Wesleyan University was one of five colleges and institutions in the United States and Canada supported by the denomination. As a Christian, liberal arts institution, it offered graduate programs in business education and nursing. The university had an annual enrollment of approximately thirteen hundred students. On January 31, 2002, Paul Mills resigned as president after serving nineteen years.

SEE ALSO: COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES–PRIVATE, NURSING EDUCATION, RELIGION.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Education, Higher–Oklahoma–Bartlesville," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Linda D. Wilson

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