A Brief History of Lancaster Bible College

by Kelsey Madas

July 6, 2018

Posted in: Other

Lancaster Bible College was founded by Henry J. Heydt in September 1933. Eight day students and 14 evening students were enrolled in the original class, which met in the Convention Hall at West Orange and Pine Streets in Lancaster. William J. Randolph ’50 succeeded Heydt as president. From 1954-1961, President Randolph moved the school toward accreditation, and the size of the campus grew, initiated by a gift of land in 1957 from Mr. and Mrs. J. Martin Esbenshade.

In 1961, the school’s academic dean, Stuart E. Lease, was elected president. During his 17-year presidency, the student body grew to more than 400 students, and the campus expanded to 36 acres. Finally, in 1973, the school earned provisional approval to grant the degree of Bachelor of Science in Bible, and the school officially became Lancaster Bible College.
When Dr. Gilbert A. Peterson began his duties as president in 1979, he focused on debt reduction. Within 5 years, LBC raised more than $500,000 toward financial stability and more than $1.5 million toward the school’s endowment. Additional land was purchased, bringing the campus size to 100 acres.

In 1999, Dr. Peter W. Teague became LBC’s fifth and current president. Since then, the Good Shepherd Chapel, Olewine Dining Commons, Peterson Hall, the Teague Learning Commons, East Hall and the Charles Frey Academic Center were completed. In February 2007, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education approved LBC’s offering the Bachelor of Science in Bible degree completely online. In 2013, the Maryland Higher Education Commission approved Lancaster Bible College’s acquisition of the academic programs of Washington Bible College and Capital Bible Seminary. The college is now referred to as Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School to reflect the addition of the seminary into the institutions academic offerings.

LBC | Capital is growing all the time, and currently has a main campus in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, along with additional sites in Greenbelt, Maryland and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Additionally, LBC | Capital has partnerships with the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies in Memphis, Tennessee and the Pastors Discipleship Network in Kampala, Uganda. The college also has two graduate and seminary cohorts that regularly meet in Boca Raton, Florida in partnership with Spanish River Church and Eugene, Oregon.

Today, LBC | Capital offers a full range of academic programs, from certificates to doctorates and continues to earn many accolades. In 2018, Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School took second and third place in 2018 college rankings published by The Wall Street Journal, edging out two Ivy League institutions for the top spots. LBC grabbed second place on a list of Top Schools for Right Choice, placing ahead of Duke University and Brown University. The college also earned third place on a list of Students’ Top Schools for Career Preparation, ranking ahead of Drexel University and Dartmouth College. There are nearly 2,000 enrolled students at LBC | Capital today, whether they are studying online, at the main campus or at any of the college’s other locations.

And of course, while many things have changed since 1933, one thing hasn’t: our mission. We still educate Christian students to think and live a biblical worldview and to proclaim Christ by serving Him in the Church and society.

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