Gutenberg College admitted its first class of four students in September 1994 and held its first commencement exercises in June 1998. Gutenberg’s short history, however, has a much earlier beginning. The college is the culmination of nearly thirty years of thought and experience by the staff of McKenzie Study Center (MSC), founded in 1979 as a Christian ministry to Eugene-area college students.
After years of teaching students to interpret and apply the Bible, MSC teachers saw a need for giving students a broader education, one that would provide the learning skills essential to understanding the Bible and other writings and to understanding life. Discussions as to what would constitute such a program and, more generally, what would constitute a quality undergraduate education resulted in a program largely consonant with the Great Books colleges.
In October 1991, the MSC staff called a special meeting to discuss the idea of forming a liberal arts college. A committee convened later that month and held weekly planning and development meetings. In December 1993, the founding faculty applied to the State of Oregon for authority to grant the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, which the State granted after evaluating the college’s application and making a site visit. Gutenberg’s first classes opened in September 1994. On June 18, 1998, the Board of Governors formally adopted the mission statement of Gutenberg College.
In 2001, Gutenberg College, Inc., became the “umbrella” organization under which the undergraduate program operates along with two institutes, McKenzie Study Center and Art Project. Gutenberg College Press has since come under the umbrella, publishing its first book in 2004. Together Gutenberg College, McKenzie Study Center, and Art Project constitute a single educational institution that exists to educate individuals and to foster both an understanding of the biblical worldview and a desire to pursue truth conscientiously. Gutenberg College Press serves as an outreach vehicle for the mission of the educational institution.
The staff of McKenzie Study Center—and now the faculty of Gutenberg College—have earned a reputation for intellectual integrity, commitment to teaching, and professional and ethical conduct. Gutenberg College—a Great Books college in the spirit of classical education that seeks to foster a love for learning and a desire to follow the truth wherever it leads—was built and exists on this solid foundation.
Gutenberg College is named in honor of Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the moveable-type printing press in the mid-1400s. Many of the great writings of Western culture were among the first books to be printed and made available at an affordable price. The Bible was the first book to be printed on the Gutenberg press. Much of the influence enjoyed by the books in the Gutenberg College curriculum is due to the fact that the printing press made them available to a much larger readership than would otherwise have been the case.