The 1950s was a time of development for school.   Organized athletic programs, such as intercollegiate basketball competitions, for both men and women were created.  An additional classroom building was built that also included a library.  Musical programs took off during this time with the leadership of the Tannehills, with performances drawing thousands of people.  Academics continued to strengthen, prompting another name alteration to St. Paul Bible College.

Organized Sports

The 1950s brought organized sports for both men and women.  Men’s basketball started in 1956 and women’s basketball started in 1958.  The women’s teams competed with other colleges long before Title IX programs mandated it.

  The mascot Crusaders, to indicate crusading for Christ, was chosen at student initiative.  The symbolism was that of bearing the cross for and of Christ in every area of life.

 New Library and Classroom Building

In 1953, plans were formulated to raise money for a new classroom and library building.  Students supported the new building to the tune of $4,000 pledged the first year; faculty and staff pledged $7,000 in a sacrificial faith promise.  Construction began following a groundbreaking ceremony on April 2, 1954.  Steel was delivered in May.  The building was completed and dedicated in November with Thomas Moseley, President of Nyack Missionary Training Institute, delivering the dedicatory address.

Choral Club and World Missions Night

The Choral Club, directed by Merrill Tannehill, gave elaborate performances with contemporary music, lighting effects, costumes, and even a patriotic sequence.  Costumes included service men and women, nurses, railroad workers, and people from around the world.  In the 1950-51 school year, the Choral Club traveled an amazing 12,000 miles, giving 90 concerts to 100,000 people.

For twelve years, World Missions Night was a highlight of the year.  Original music by the Tannehills, elaborate sets, intricate costumes, and passionate speakers made the event appealing to everyone.  Multiple performances took place at the St. Paul and Minneapolis Auditoriums for audiences totaling over 10,000 people.  Some years over 1,000 people had to be turned away due to lack of space.

Name Change

Academics at the school continued to grow and strengthen.  By 1954, a full four years of study was offered to students and the school was gaining recognition from accrediting bodies and associations.  The level of coursework was clearly collegiate, and a name change to more accurately reflect the advancement seemed necessary.  On January 1, 1959, the new name, St. Paul Bible College, became official.

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