1920 - Marion College Officially Established

1920 Faculty Members Both male and female students were admitted when Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) opened. Despite segregation laws within the city of Marion, the college’s student body was also racially integrated from its founding. With a faculty of both men and women, Marion College was proud to have 22 graduates in their 1920-21 class.

1923 First Foreign Exchange Student Admitted

With the admission of Wilmer Riest, from Canada, a rich history of foreign exchange students began.

1929 French Club Formed

The French Club was formed by students at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University). The club later changed its name to the French-Spanish Club in 1931. 

1942 International Relations Club Formed

The International Relations Club was formed by students at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) as a way to learn about and connect with different cultures.

1944 Marjorie Elder Elected First Female Student Body President

Marjorie Elder was elected as the first female student body president of Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) in the year 1944. Ms. Elder went on to teach at Marion College and write the book The Lord, The Landmarks, The Life in which she recorded the history of the University.

1946 Marion College Veterans Organization Formed

By the fall of 1946, 100 veterans were enrolled in Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University). In fact, three of the Senior Officers for the Class of 1947 were veterans: James Decker (President), John York (Vice-President), and Byron Tippey (Treasurer). The Marion College Veterans Organization was formed to honor those who served our country. 

1963 Richard Bareiss Hired As School’s First Chaplain

Chaplain Richard BareissRichard Bareiss had served 20 years as a U.S. Navy chaplain prior to his service at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University). During his time as a college chaplain, Bareiss introduced the Volunteer Service Outreach Program, a campus organization dedicated to serving needs throughout the community. Those involved in the program spent time volunteering at the Veterans Administration Hospital, nursing homes, Big Brother/Big Sister programs, and writing to prisoners. 

1968 First Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Teams Formed

The Women’s Volleyball, Basketball, Field Hockey, and Tennis teams were formed during the 1968-1969 school year, 10 years ahead of the Title IX mandate. The first IWU intercollegiate sports team to win a NCCAA National Championship was the Women’s Volleyball team in the year of 1985-1986!

1985 LEAP Program Established

The LEAP (Leadership Education for the Adult Professional) program at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) was established in 1985. This program was created to help adult students further their education. Among the Class of 1987 graduates were 170 students from the LEAP program.

1991 Grant County Minority Scholarships Created

Barbara Faulkner-Roach, director of the Marion Black Community Chorus that performed on the Marion campus in February of 1991, established the Grant County Minority Scholarship to encourage minority students in Grant County to further their education at IWU.

2002 Jackson Library Built

Dr. Lewis Jackson Lewis A. Jackson, who enrolled at Marion College after being turned down at another college due to his race, had a desire to change the world through his teaching. Even before graduating from Marion College in 1939, Dr. Jackson was teaching in local schools. It was Dr. Jackson’s love for higher education that moved his wife, Dr. Violet Jackson, and their two children, Dr. Robert Jackson and Joyce Dixon, to support IWU’s work in developing world-changing students through a major donation toward the building of this state of the art 79,000 square foot library named in his honor.

2009 Multicultural Task Force Directive

At the direction of the IWU Board of Trustees, the Multicultural Task Force was created in order to examine and recommend an approach to create a campus culture that would be welcoming to all students and faculty of multicultural diversity and international origins. 

2010 Diversity Audit Survey Report Conducted At IWU

The 2010 Diversity Audit Survey Report was conducted by Dr. Pete Menjares from Biola University. Menjares’ report allowed the Multicultural Task Force to gain a clearer understanding of diversity at IWU and formulate next steps toward diversity.

2010 IWU Multicultural Enrichment Council Established

IWU’s Multicultural Enrichment Council was established as part of Dr. Henry Smith’s vision. The council seeks to foster richly diverse curricular and co-curricular educational experiences and spiritual formation rooted in the Wesleyan tradition that fully engages students, faculty, and staff as we prepare all students for Christian service locally and globally. 

2012 Military Chaplain’s Endowed Scholarship Fund Established

The Military Chaplain’s Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2012 by Richard and Elinore Bareiss. This scholarship is made available to dependents of Wesleyan military chaplains (active duty or retired).

2013 Employee Diversity Training Sessions For IWU Faculty

In December 2013 Employees of Indiana Wesleyan University participated in inaugural employee diversity training sessions.  These sessions focused on diversity in race, gender, religion, socioeconomic class, and other markers of difference in contemporary culture.

2014 Office of Multicultural Enrichment and Employee Development Established

Diversity and equality are deeply embedded in the heritage of both the University and the Church. Expanding on the concept, in 2014 IWU established The Office of Multicultural Enrichment and Employee Development.

2014 Inaugural Martin Luther King Gospel Concert

In January 2014, Indiana Wesleyan University held its first Martin Luther King gospel concert. The concert has since become an annual event enjoyed by students, faculty, and community members.

2014 English As A Second Language Program Launched

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program was launched by the Global Engagement Office in order to help international students strengthen their English academic writing abilities.

2014 Introduction to Spanish Workshops 

In August 2014 IWU began offering employee workshops that provided participants with a beginner’s level overview of the Spanish language.

2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Recognized

In September/October, the first annual Residential and Non-Residential Chapel Services honoring Hispanic heritage were held.

2014 Cultural Intelligence Employee Workshops

The workshops, which begin in September, focused on the recognition and improvement of each participant’s cultural intelligence level.

2014 An Evening With Luther Lee

Dr. Bud BenceLuther Lee was an abolitionist, feminist, and co-founder of the Wesleyan denomination.  On October 2, 2014 Dr. Bud Bence, Emeritus Professor of Church History at IWU, portrayed Luther Lee at this event hosted by the John Wesley Honors College and the Global Engagement Office. 

2014 Diversity Mapping Project Begins

October began a months-long Diversity Mapping Project.  Led by Dr. Rona Halualani and Professor Hugh Haiker of Halualani & Associates, this mapping project provided data gauging IWU’s progress on diversity and inclusive excellence, as well as spotlighting areas for improvement. 

2014 Chapel Services Honor Veterans

In November, the first annual Residential and Non-Residential Chapel Services honoring veterans were held.

2014 World Religions Chapel Service

In November, Dr. David Vardaman and Dr. Steve Horst spoke in a residential chapel service about various world religions.

2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service

Reverend Shonda GladdenIn January, Reverend Shonda Gladden spoke at the first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service.  Reverend Gladden is the pastor of Allen Temple AME Church of Marion, Indiana, an African Methodist Episcopal church that works to embrace the diversity of God’s Kingdom. 

2015 Diversity Recruitment & Retention Workshop

In February, a Diversity Recruitment & Retention workshop led by Dr. Sonel Shropshire was offered to IWU faculty.

2015 Introduction to Chinese Workshops

In August IWU began offering employee workshops that provided participants with a beginner’s level overview of the Chinese language.

2015 Dr. Christena Cleveland Guest Speaker At Luther Lee Lecture Series

Dr. Christena ClevelandIn March Dr. Cleveland, an author, professor, and speaker with a passion for overcoming cultural divisions in groups, was the Guest Speaker for the Luther Lee Lecture Series.

2015 IWU Diversity Statement

In July administrators, faculty and staff began working on the IWU Diversity Statement.  The statement was formally rolled out at the 2016 MLK Celebration Concert.

2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service

Bishop John Drew SheardBishop John Drew Sheard spoke at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service held in January of 2016.  Bishop Sheard is the senior pastor at Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit, MI.  He is also currently serving as a member of the Presidium of the Church of God in Christ and as the Jurisdictional Bishop of the Michigan-North Central Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.  In 2007, Bishop Sheard was inducted into the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers. 

2016 Board Of Trustees Diversity Training

Dr. Pete Menjares and Dr. Soong-Chan Rah conducted Diversity Training for IWU’s Board of Trustees during the February 2016 Retreat.

2016 Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Policy

In February, IWU developed and put in place a Limited English Proficiency Policy and associated plan to help identify reasonable steps for providing language assistance to persons with limited English proficiency who wish to access programs, courses, or support services at IWU.

2016 Building and Creating Diversity In Curriculum Workshop 

In April faculty were invited to attend a workshop facilitated by Dr. Lawrence Burnley, Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, aimed to introduce participants to inclusive core curricula that are informed by and responsive to diverse cultures and identities in order to advance a Christ-centered educational atmosphere. 

2016 Intergroup Dialogue Education Facilitator Training  

In October, 30 IWU employees successfully completed Intergroup Dialogue Diversity Education, a 2.5 day workshop designed to prepare facilitators to conduct and manage effective intergroup discussions and feedback with IWU students, faculty, staff and administration. 

2016 Inaugural Veterans Day Celebration

Missing Man TableSponsored by the Office of Multicultural Enrichment and Employee Development, the Joy Council, several professors, chaplains and students teamed to develop and organize a very meaningful 2016 Veterans Day Celebration. The first of the annual celebrations received university wide participation with events taking place during Non-Residential Devotions, during Student Chapel and in the Commons area of Barnes Student Center. In addition, IWU began offering a 10% tuition discount for veterans who have exhausted their post 9-11 GI Bill Benefits, or veterans who are no longer eligible for those benefits.

2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service and Celebration Concert 

Missing Man Table Pastor Wintley A. Phipps was the guest speaker and vocalist at the annual 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service, as well as the evening MLK Celebration Concert. One of the most watched Gospel Music artists on YouTube, Wintley Phipps is a world-renowned vocal artist, education activist, motivational speaker, author, and pastor. For more than thirty-five years, he has traveled the world delivering messages of hope, advocacy, and equality to thousands.

2017 A Common Day of Learning:  Courageous Conversations

In February 2017, Indiana Wesleyan University added new programming to its annual Love Revolution Week - designed to provide our university community an opportunity for a multicultural and intercultural “Week of Learning”. The week now includes A Common Day of Learning: Courageous Conversations. Venues were overflowing with participants engaging in discussions between students, guests and presenters on a variety of themes, problems and issues faced in our world today.

2017 Director of Military and Veteran Recruitment Position Created

kchaight.pngA newly created role, Director of Military and Veteran Recruitment, was created by IWU and filled with the hiring of Kenneth (KC) Haight in June of 2017.  With his extensive background of serving our country as a US Air Force noncommissioned officer and his experience in recruiting, KC was ideally suited to be the inaugural director as he oversees recruitment of active-duty service members and veterans for the adult enrollment program at IWU’s National and Global Campus.

2017 First Annual Veterans Day Prayer Breakfast

Expanding upon its annual Veterans Day programming, IWU held its first annual Veterans Day Prayer Breakfast in November. Attended by community members and University employees, the guests enjoyed breakfast as they heard Dr. Kersten Priest recount the history of Dr. Lewis A. Jackson, a former IWU student and later a director of training for the Army Air Force 66th Flight Training Detachment, who trained three groups of Tuskegee Airmen.

2017 IWU Dedicates New Center for Student Veterans

studentveterans.pngRealizing veterans face their own unique challenges when returning to school, in November of 2017 IWU dedicated a new Center for Student Veterans at its Cincinnati Education Center.  Providing a comfortable place to study and connect with other veterans, the center is designed to provide support, guidance, help and understanding for students who are veterans, aiding them as they complete their educational journey. 

2017 Diversity Campus Climate Survey Conducted

November brought the completion of the Viewfinder Diversity Campus Climate Survey, conducted by Campus Climate Surveys, LLC. Quantitative and qualitative reports were compiled to identify institutional action items flowing out of the findings.

2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service and Celebration Concert 

blindboys.jpg The Blind Boys of Alabama were the guest speakers and performers at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel Service, as well as the evening MLK Celebration Concert.These Grammy-winning artists are known for transcending barriers to race and genre to become one of the most acclaimed and celebrated groups in modern music.

2018 Women's History Month Recognition Breakfast

barbaraboyd.jpgSpring of 2018 brought the first annual gathering celebrating Women’s History Month on the IWU campus. Keynote speaker for the breakfast event was Barbara Boyd, the first African-American female television journalist in Indiana as well as the first African-American female in the state to anchor a newscast.

2018 Inaugural Native American Heritage Month Celebration

nativeamerican.png A free concert in the Student Commons was held during the inaugural Native American Heritage Month celebration. Michael Jacobs, an award-winning Cherokee contemporary recording artist whose songs address issues such as peace, justice, suffering, the environment, relationship and wholeness was the featured performer for the event.


R-Benjamin-2.jpg Author, essayist and adventurer, Dr. Rich Benjamin was the guest speaker at the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. After his keynote address, “King & The More Perfect Union”, Dr. Benjamin held a Q & A session with audience members.


DAW_US_Flag_headshot-1.jpg October brought IWU’s first Diversity Leadership Summit. The two-day event, featuring Dr. Damon Williams, offered multiple sessions designed for campus units as well as a keynote address that was warmly attended by many community leaders. At each session, Dr. Williams shared recommended steps to move our community toward inclusive excellence and responded to audience questions.


2020-MLK-Pic2.jpg The Chicago Mass Choir, featured guests of the 2020 MLK Celebration Concert, reminded us He is God “in a weary land”. Once again, the MLK Celebration Concert brought together not just the IWU community but the surrounding communities as well. A highlight of the evening was the collaboration of the IWU Chorale Singers with the Chicago Mass Choir as they sang, “God is My Everything”.