Vernon Newland

The specific move to launch St. Louis Christian College (SLCC) grew out of a conversation by Luther Perrine1 Hubert Burris, and Vernon Newland in late June of 1956. On July 28, 1956, eight trustees were appointed, and Newland was named the first chairman of SLCC.1 Newland also served SLCC as its first Academic Dean.2
At the first general meeting to plan SLCC, Newland stated3 that “the purpose of establishing a New Bible College in this area is primarily evangelistic and not entirely for scholastic attainments or prestige, but to fill the need of providing new workers for our general area.” Newland also “presented a map of the area to be reached stretching from mid-way between Joplin & St. Louis and St. Louis & Lincoln. The immediate area of Greater St. Louis has a population of 2 ½ million.”

Vernon Newland was a primary driver in establishing St. Louis Christian College. It was one of four similar colleges he established.4 “These schools were seen as “centers of evangelism” put in strategic urban areas for the express purpose of planting new churches.”5 Six years after its inception, SLCC boasted of starting 20 churches.6
Upon Newland’s untimely death in May 1974, the St. Louis Christian College News noted Newland’s impact by mentioning him as “founder” (more properly “a founder”) of SLCC. Furthermore, it said, “Consider the cities where Vernon Newland led in the establishing of Bible colleges: Oklahoma City, Dallas, St. Louis, Memphis, Des Moines — two state capitals and the chief cities of three other states, Missouri, Texas, and Tennessee.”7

1 July 28, 1956, minutes.
2 St. Louis Christian College News. May 1957.
3 First general meeting minutes, 1956.
4 Newland founded: Midwest (1946, OK), Dallas (1950, TX), SLCC (1956, MO), and Memphis (1958, TN). Newland later founded Iowa (1973). Gary E. Weedman, “Higher Education and the Restoration Movement” (lecture, B. D. Phillips Memorial Lectureship, Lincoln Christian College and Seminary, Illinois, March 8-10, 1983), 32. Gerald C. Tiffin, “The Interaction between the Bible College Movement and the Independent Disciples of Christ Denomination.” PhD diss., Stanford University, 1968, 97-100.
5 Weedman, 32.
6 St. Louis Christian College News, August 1962.

The Crusader was published quarterly by Vernon Newland and these 1956 newsletters essentially became the predecessors to the SLCC News.