Bethel University is an evangelical Christian institution offering higher education and seminary studies based in Arden Hills, Minnesota, USA.
Bethel was founded as a seminary by John Alexis Edgren in 1871 in Chicago. Called the Baptist Union Theological Seminary, it taught lessons in the basement of a Baptist church in Chicago where pastors were trained to help the community of Swedish Baptist Immigrants who had come to Chicago fleeing persecution. The founder, Edgren was a sea captain who could speak over 30 languages and believed that Baptist beliefs should be represented in all fields.
In 1914 the seminary was moved from Chicago to the town of Saint Paul in Minnesota where it merged with Bethel Academy. Over time the school grew and broadened its offering, eventually gaining a liberal arts college program in 1947 and relocating again to its current home in Arden Hills in 1972.
Bethel University has students studying a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Subjects are divided into four main areas: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Adult and professional Studies, the Graduate School and Bethel Seminary. Overseas students are represented in the university with people from around 20 different countries having studied there in recent years.
The campus is green and pleasant, stretching along the shores of a lake. The campus houses the six main academic buildings which are linked by skyways and tunnels. There are also residential buildings and student halls on campus as well as the Commons Building which contains the university bookshop and three cafes and restaurants.