1960s

The 1960s were a time of celebration and faith for the college.  The 50th anniversary of the school was commemorated in 1966 with the theme, “Blast Off into the Future!”  Many alumni were drawn back to campus to celebrate, including two students from the very first class!

Leaders of the school at the time determined that the campus would not suit the students’ needs for much longer.  Plans were made to build a brand new campus in Arden Hills.  Land was purchased and dedicated, but construction never started.  Leaders continued to have faith that God would provide a way, and He clearly did with the ‘Miracle Campus’.

Sixth and Seventh Presidents

The 1960s were the “Hardwick Years” at St. Paul due to the sixth president, Dr. H.T Hardwick. His years as president of St. Paul began in 1959 and extended to 1968, years of strong accomplishment.  Dr. Hardwick memorized the name of each student and made sure every staff member felt appreciated.

Dr. Donald Trouten also played a major role in the history of the College in the 1960s.  In 1963 he became the dean of the College and directed its academic program for the next 12 years.  In the spring of 1968 Dr. Hardwick resigned.  The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Donald Trouten to the position of interim president while a thorough search could be undertaken for the next president.  During the year and a half interim which he served, perhaps the most momentous event in St. Paul’s history occurred: the purchase of the St. Bonifacius campus.

50th Anniversary

In 1966, the Golden Anniversary of the school was a time of celebration, thankfulness, and planning.  Alumni, including Ezra Gerig and Harold Freliegh from the first graduating class, came back for festivities.  There were choir performances, speakers, and reunions.  While there was a lot of celebrating and thanks for the success of the last 50 years, there were also thoughts for the future!

The theme for the 50th anniversary was ‘blast off into the future’, complete with a large, tissue paper covered rocket!  The leadership of the college also prepared a model for their vision of the school’s future (seen below).

Arden Hills Property

In 1963, some open property in the St. Paul suburb of Arden Hills, about five miles north of the existing campus, came to the attention of Dr. Hardwick and other leaders of the college.  The Board studied the site and on March 1, 1963, purchased 35 acres of land for $70,000 with the intent to build a new campus on it.

Plans were developed for the construction of a new campus, including a long, curving academic-administrative-gymnasium building, four tear-shaped dorms, and a circular chapel.

However, due to high interest rates, a lot of capital was needed to begin construction.  So while there was excitement surrounding the project, it never began.  The Arden Hills Project was a time of faith, challenges, and saving that laid the foundation for the move to St. Bonifacius.

The Miracle Campus

After the Arden Hills Project lost momentum, other alternatives were explored.  One of them was a Jesuit College for sale in the town of St. Bonifacius, a suburb of the Twin Cities.  The main building had only been built ten years before and held 175,000 square feet of room within its cross shape.

In September 1969 papers were signed to purchase the 173-acre campus for $3.1 million on an 8% contract for deed.  The faculty showed that their faith in the move by immediately purchasing houses in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota.

It was indeed a “Miracle Campus,” amazingly suited to the needs of St. Paul Bible College.  The facilities already in place and the room to expand would serve the needs of the students for decades to come!

Click here to move on to the 1970s!