Nazarene University it is called today.
Bethany Nazarene College it was
called till 1986.
Bethany-Peniel College it was called from the first merge
Oklahoma Nazarene College it was called before the first merge
Oklahoma Holiness College it was called since 1909 when C.B.
Jernigan took over the "Beulah Heights" school in Oklahoma City near N.W.
39th & Pennsylvania from Miss Mattie Mallory and brought it out to
Beulah Heights College and Bible School
ot many people know how many name changes this college underwent
(four in a century), not even considering the fact that SNU merged together out
of five different colleges. To include all those places in SNU's history it
would have to be called something like
Not many people know either that if SNU wasn't here, Bethany would
possibly not even exist. Rev. C.B. Jernigan, who was the founder of Oklahoma
Holiness College, at the same time founded Bethany as a town.
though being the site where all the other colleges merged to, was not the first
college of the five to be founded (Texas Holiness University in 1899). One
hundred years ago, it still consisted of merely empty fields which were
inhabited by birds and flies and spiders rather than eagerly learning students.
Wild grass, shrubs, and bushes rather bore witness of contented wildlife than of
neat and orderly young people. The eagle's call and the cricket's chirp filled
the air instead of the laughter and chatter of pupils and teachers.
El Reno Interurban Railway
n 1906 a maiden lady by the name of Miss Mattie Mallory started a
bible school in Oklahoma City. Three years earlier she had already founded an
orphanage and a home for unwed mothers. Then, the railroad desired her property.
Miss Mallory was persuaded to join the Church of the Nazarene and give the
school over to the church.
t the first
General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene Rev. C.B. Jernigan had been
appointed District Superintendent of the Oklahoma/Kansas District.
He was the one who took the school, sold Miss Mallory's property
at Beulah Heights and bought a piece of land in Bethany instead, four and a half
miles west of the city limits of Oklahoma City.
The El Reno Interurban line ran right next to these grounds, which
made it a very convenient place to build. Jernigan established the Oklahoma
Holiness College on these grounds and with it the city of Bethany, in the year
of 1909. The area was platted for a town and a school at the same time, and
Jernigan marked off streets.
The Oklahoma Orphanage was also moved to Bethany, where it thrived
and grew. Miss Mallory kept it till her death and then it was handed over to the
Holiness College was pretty much the same as all the other Christian colleges
around at that time. Extraordinary perhaps is the phrase "The modern
athletic craze is not followed here. We have no teams of any kind to play other
schools." No NAIA champions, no intramural sports. Interesting also is the
fact that of all the schools described so far, OHC was the only one who had any
international students - and it even had two, one from England and one from
Germany. The rest of the student body (147 in 1917/18) came from six different
In 1918 the name was changed to Oklahoma Nazarene College, and in
1920 Texas Holiness University merged and the name was changed to Bethany-Peniel
College. After that, three other colleges merged to Bethany - Central Holiness
College in 1929, Arkansas Holiness College in 1931, and Bresee College (Kansas)
In 1955 there was another name change, which had a special reason.
The name "Peniel" was frequently associated with a prison institution, which had
a similar name, and it was decided to leave that part of the name out. For 31
years the school was called Bethany Nazarene College, which finally in 1986 was
changed to Southern Nazarene University. Still, a lot of the alumni of our
college still refer to it as BNC, and feel strange talking about SNU.
OHC's administration building, today's Bresee Hall
outhern Nazarene University still stands on the same grounds on which
OHC was founded in 1909. Bresee Hall is still the administration building that
it has been since time long gone. The El Reno Interurban line is now called NW
39th Expressway. And quite a few of the street names in Bethany bear witness of
NU has a
long history, combining the story of five different colleges in four states.
Today, as she celebrates her 100th birthday, she has a legacy to be proud of and
a memory to pursue.
Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left.
Click to view larger size.