When the Free Methodists of Central Illinois acquired Almira College in 1891, they gained a neglected, but useful, four-story building on a 10-acre campus. The Greenville site suited their plans to educate young men and women with a blend of learning and Christian faith that church leaders advocated.
The “Father of Free Methodism” B.T. Roberts believed deeply in the Christian liberal arts college. “Education and religion should by no means be separated,” he said. The new owners of Almira College believed the same. They soon renamed the school Greenville College and installed Wilson T. Hogue as its first president in 1892.
Hogue, a pastor and accomplished scholar, proved masterful at bringing clarity and purpose to this fledgling school. His sound grasp of Christian culture, clear definition of policy, and skillful administration left such a mark that later, one observer proclaimed, “Greenville College stands as a living monument of Wilson T. Hogue.”
Today that monument, Greenville University, consists partly of a 50-acre campus with spaces that facilitate learning, computing, performance and practice, art exhibition, athletics, science, and research. It also encompasses study abroad on various continents and a “virtual” community that reaches far beyond campus and across the world to connect students with faculty and other students.
The “living” parts of Hogue’s monument are today’s students who fully engage in pursuits that fulfill his vision for “true and thorough Christian education.” Their learning, ever integrated with faith, takes place on campus, online, and across the world in places like Rwanda, Costa Rica, Israel, and Uganda.