Although the University of La Verne was originally founded by members of the Church of the Brethren, it seems that today, these ties to the church have gradually dissipated.
ULV was established as Lordsburg College in 1891 by members of Church of the Brethren. The church’s influence and power was evident throughout the campus. For example, students were required to enroll and take specific religion classes. Students were also required to attend chapel at least once a week.
In his book, “The Centennial History of the University of La Verne,” Herbert Hogan writes about the influence of the church and the contrast of the past and present: “It has grown from a parochial school composed of an essentially Brethren student body and faculty in which members of the Church of the Brethren are a small minority of the faculty, and the students are an even smaller minority of the student enrollment.”
After the church withdrew its power from the University in 1933, religion began to slowly lose its influence on the campus. However, it was not until after the 1960s that it become evident that the Church of the Brethren was gradually losing its influence and power.
“Since 1933, the college has operated under an independent Board of Trustees,” said Marlin Heckman, University archivist and librarian emeritus. “The philosophy of the Brethren is still here in terms of values.”
Today, the University still has some ties to the Church of the Brethren, although these ties are not as obvious as in the past.
“While it is true that colleges are often rooted in church traditions, which are not as strong as the years go by, we at ULV still have some strong ties with the Church of the Brethren. Our Mission Statement comes out of that tradition, which lifts up community-building, peace and service,” said Campus Minister Deborah Roberts.
“We also have a strong Soup and Substance group on campus, which combines the La Verne Church of the Brethren and other young adults who attend ULV and are interested in the ties between justice and religion which is what the Church of the Brethren advocates,” she added.
Along with a strong Mission Statement that reflects values that come from the Church of the Brethren there are also programs and events that continue to hold strong to church. Julie Wheeler is the church relations coordinator at ULV.
“I keep Brethren alumni connected through mailings, church visits and the choir tour,” Wheeler said.
Along with this, there are meetings in which seats are reserved for Brethren alumni. These University church council meetings allow these alumni to be aware of happenings on campus, as well as to give their input.
Wheeler also coordinates programs and events for the small population of Brethren students on campus.
These events such as karaoke and game nights are open to the Brethren students as well as anyone else who is interested.
Most of these events take place off-campus.
Marilee Lorusso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.