New Name, Same Mission

UVF President Dr. Don Meyer

Valley Forge Christian College Becomes University of Valley Forge

 

A Conversation with Dr. Don Meyer, President

On September 16, 2014 Valley Forge Christian College met the criteria of the Pennsylvania Department of Education to become the University of Valley Forge. Dr. Don Meyer, President, shares his perspectives on how this change is taking place and what effects it will have on the mission and ministries of this wonderful institution.

How did VFCC arrive at the decision to change its name?

As you probably know, many names have been a part of the history of VFCC. When Evie and I came here nearly 18 years ago we encountered a rich heritage of leadership training which grew out of the numerous Bible institutes which had merged over the years. The oldest one, Beulah Heights, began in 1912. This past college year we celebrated 75 years since the founding in 1939 of Eastern Bible Institute (EBI) which was the first official consolidation of some of those schools. 

As EBI grew in its geographic and leadership influence, the name was changed to Northeast Bible Institute (NBI) and when a fourth year was added to the curriculum, it became Northeast Bible College (NBC). When NBC moved to the former Valley Forge General Hospital site here in Phoenixville, Pa. in 1976, the name was changed to Valley Forge Christian College to reflect, in part, the name of this location. 

For some years since then, VFCC’s key leaders and various stakeholder groups have been talking about changing the name to university in order to more accurately capture what VFCC was becoming, a robust and growing institution. This fall 67 undergraduate programs and seven graduate degrees are offered. More and more online options are being added. For the past several years that conversation became more formalized to accurately capture the essence of how VFCC has evolved. All of these developments resulted in the decision by the VFCC Board of Trustees in the spring of 2013 to change the name. 

Why was the name University of Valley Forge chosen? 

When the discussions began, just about everyone preferred to keep the geographic name of Valley Forge. Valley Forge has deep meaning in American history and is immediately recognized in southeastern Pennsylvania (in particular) and in the United States (in general) as well as around the world. VFCC’s name was already integrally linked with this rich meaning and any future use would enhance it even more.

Other names were discussed including Valley Forge Christian University. Unfortunately, the name Christian is not welcomed in some places in the world and even now, we have some alumni requesting their degrees without that name. 

Additionally, the word college is often perceived outside the United States as high school. The university designation more accurately describes the level of academic quality students receive here. Even here, though, more and more people perceive the name university as meaning an educational experience which is advanced beyond that of a college. And we feel this will enhance even more the prestige and academic rigor for which VFCC is known. 

What effect will this have on the educational experience a student receives when they come to UVF?

Perhaps the most important perspective I could share with you is that the mission and ministries of this institution will remain the same, i.e. To prepare individuals for a life of service and leadership in the church and in the world. Though our name has changed, our mission has not. 

UVF will continue to have daily chapel services; UVF will remain an Assemblies of God institution of higher learning; UVF will have the same vision and values; UVF classes will continue to have a Biblical/theological core and will always open with prayer; the UVF ethos which you feel when you arrive on campus will remain the same; UVF will continue to add flags in the Flower Chapel that represent alumni who are serving in more places around the world. 

Are there any final reflections you might have on this historic moment?

All of us here at UVF feel as though we are walking through a transformational doorway into the greatest years we have ever had. We are profoundly grateful for God’s faithfulness in our 75 year history. And as Dr. H. Robert Rhoden says, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.”  

I am often asked the question, “What is the best year VFCC (now the University of Valley Forge) has ever had?” I love to answer, “The next one.”  With this exciting change, I sense that more than ever. 

 
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