Des Moines University 1927-1929 -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 08:2 (Summer 1965)
Article: Des Moines University 1927-1929
Author: Anonymous

Des Moines University 1927-1929

The year of 1926–27 had been one of transition in the Baptist Bible Union. Of the original leadership, only Shields and Van Osdel remained. Their new associates were somewhat younger men than those who had founded the Bible Union. The policies had also changed. Protest had developed into boycott, and boycott into the resolve to found new enterprises. In 1925 the Bible Union had organized a foreign missions arm, and at the end of 1926 Shields had organized a seminary. Outright and open separatism was now only a question of time. The regional programs had also shifted, with the end of Bible Union work in the South and the impending change in Canada. The Bible Union now limited its operation to the area of the Northern Baptist Convention, particularly the Middle West. Quite in harmony with these shifts, the Baptist Bible Union in 1927 took control of Des Moines University.

Problems At The University

For years the university had been in trouble. Between 1916 and 1921 five schools had united to form what was then named Des Moines University. It claimed for its founding date 1865. Its campus was located at the northern edge of the city, with twenty-two acres and six major buildings. It was now the only school of higher learning held by the Iowa Baptist Convention. The New

World Movement had given $418,000 in the years after 1919, a disproportionately generous figure, but this had, if anything, only hastened the bankruptcy of the school.

The Minutes of the board of trustees from 1925 through 1927 show a prolonged and unhappy attempt to keep the school solvent. The student body was dwindling, support was off, and the faculty was demoralized. The following entry is indicative of the trend: “Moved by Anderson and seconded by Royal that Phillip Nelson be employed to look after the collection of certain notes given by students for tuition to the University, and that he be given a 10% commission before suit is instituted and 20% for all collections made after suit is instituted.”

That same year, 1925, the trustees amended the Articles of Incorporation of the university to permit the endowment to be spent. Article X had read, “The Board of Trustees shall hold in trust all moneys and property belonging or accruing to the corporation. They shall invest and, as occasion arises, reinvest all money and property received for purposes of endowment. They shall expend for the current expenses of the institution no part of the endowment funds, but only the income thereof, and shall sacredly conform to the conditions of any and all gifts made to the college as stipulated in the written conditions of each gift. They shall not use for the erection of college buildings...

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