Southwest Baptist University

The information on this page was last updated 4/12/2023. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Founded in 1878, Southwest Baptist University is a Christian liberal arts university offering more than 100 areas of academic study at undergraduate and graduate levels throughout four physical campuses in Bolivar, Mountain View, Salem and Springfield, Mo., plus an online campus.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Southwest Baptist University
1600 University Ave
Bolvar, MO 65613-2578


Phone: 800-526-5859

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 440567385

CEO/President: Richard J. Melson, Ph.D.

Chairman: Eddie Bumpers

Board size: 28

Founder: Abner S. Ingman and James R. Maupin

Ruling year: 1947

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 05/31

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


Southwest Baptist University will be the exemplar Christian university, providing a transformative and holistic educational experience. The mission statement of the University implies there will be a fusing of the liberal arts with career preparation and the Christian faith with learning. Recognition is also given to the enduring values of the liberal arts as the foundation of critical thinking, decision making, and the high literacy required for responsible careers in the contemporary world.

Mission statement

Southwest Baptist University is a Christ-centered, caring academic community preparing students to be servant leaders in a global society.

Statement of faith

The University is committed to the teachings of the Holy Bible, God's inerrant Word, as articulated in the "The Baptist Faith and Message, 2000" (BFM 2000) (or current edition), as well as supplemental statements of religious convictions in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, the Nashville Statement, and the Danvers Statement, and to providing an environment where those truths are taught and demonstrated by the University's employees.

Donor confidence score

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Transparency grade


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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Colleges/Universities

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating366 of 110441 of 129
Fund acquisition rating425 of 110549 of 129
Resource allocation rating381 of 110545 of 129
Asset utilization rating531 of 110469 of 129

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$6,423,982$5,426,857$3,148,068$3,974,554$4,178,214
Short-term investments$36,221,700$38,345,775$28,150,003$27,693,092$27,704,263
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$47,565,431$49,048,145$34,400,894$34,831,815$33,818,752
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$35,043,552$37,387,987$39,405,308$41,964,462$43,169,233
Other long-term assets$8,724,477$9,688,179$7,160,161$7,553,262$8,015,692
Total long-term assets$43,768,029$47,076,166$46,565,469$49,517,724$51,184,925
Total assets$91,333,460$96,124,311$80,966,363$84,349,539$85,003,677
Payables and accrued expenses$11,022,170$12,639,062$13,234,881$12,984,998$12,484,472
Other current liabilities$493,273$613,200$587,639$650,781$467,540
Total current liabilities$11,515,443$13,252,262$13,822,520$13,635,779$12,952,012
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$666,273$820,544$764,184$784,517$1,253,943
Total long-term liabilities$12,791,582$14,592,790$13,978,313$17,728,092$17,891,981
Total liabilities$24,307,025$27,845,052$27,800,833$31,363,871$30,843,993
Net assets20222021202020192018
Without donor restrictions$37,330,124$36,623,808$29,938,704$30,837,332$29,528,149
With donor restrictions$29,696,311$31,655,451$23,226,826$22,148,336$24,631,535
Net assets$67,026,435$68,279,259$53,165,530$52,985,668$54,159,684
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$11,894,556$10,760,748$6,243,813$4,461,100$5,745,634
Program service revenue$32,869,552$38,086,273$38,293,436$39,550,973$38,918,564
Membership dues$0$3,495$6,556$8,050$6,200
Investment income$2,496,303$2,066,884$2,276,478$1,688,286$1,212,257
Other revenue($116,341)$578,264$7,048$324,274$52,191
Total other revenue$35,249,514$40,734,916$40,583,518$41,571,583$40,189,212
Total revenue$47,144,070$51,495,664$46,827,331$46,032,683$45,934,846
Program services$37,425,508$38,090,300$39,705,527$40,063,194$39,773,003
Management and general$5,268,724$4,684,748$4,911,930$4,869,689$4,482,395
Total expenses$43,573,928$43,688,022$45,641,975$46,008,980$45,330,978
Change in net assets20222021202020192018
Surplus (deficit)$3,570,142$7,807,642$1,185,356$23,703$603,868
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$3,570,142$7,807,642$1,185,356$23,703$603,868


Lee SkinkleProvost$147,650
Brad JohnsonVP Univ Relations/Interim Pres$138,744
Josh LaymanProf/Chair of Physical Therapy$132,546
Tara ParsonVP of Administration$130,603
Richard MelsonPresident Beg 08/21$72,549

Compensation data as of: 5/31/2022

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 4/12/2023. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


Southwest Baptist University first opened its doors in 1878 in Lebanon, MO, as Southwest Baptist College. In 1879 the college was chartered by the state of Missouri and moved to Bolivar. Early writings recount a legacy of sacrificial giving and extraordinary efforts by Baptists in southwest Missouri to establish and maintain the college. The founders, Abner S. Ingman and James R. Maupin, faced many difficulties as they rode horseback seeking funds, students and an ideal college site.

Each spring semester, SBU celebrates Founders Day. It is a time to reflect upon our rich heritage and to remember that in 1878, our founding fathers, Ingman and Maupin, established Southwest Baptist College. Founders Day is an important time when we are challenged to reflect on our past and to thank God for the people who have made the success of today possible.

The college faced many hardships in its early years and actually closed from 1910-13 to regain financial solvency and to recover from a devastating fire that destroyed the college's only building. The efforts and prayers of area supporters and Missouri Baptists brought results, and the college reopened in 1913 as a two-year junior college.

The University has maintained its strong Baptist heritage through its affiliation with the Missouri Baptist Convention, which provides financial support for the University and elects the 25-member board of trustees which governs the institution. The Missouri Baptist Convention approved plans in 1964 for the college to become a senior liberal arts college. The first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in 1967. Bolivar citizens donated a 102-acre farm on the southern edge of the city that allowed the college to expand beyond the small 10-acre campus located near downtown.

Another milestone occurred in 1981 when the college name was changed to Southwest Baptist University. In 1995 the University entered a joint nursing education agreement with St. John's Regional Medical Center in Springfield, MO, to form St. John's School of Nursing of SBU. The school became the St. John's College of Nursing and Health Sciences in 2005. St. John's changed its name in 2012, making the name of the college Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of SBU.

Today, SBU is a thriving higher education institution with more than 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled annually. The 152-acre main campus is located in the southern portion of Bolivar, a community of about 10,300 residents that serves as the county seat of Polk County. Bolivar is located about 25 miles north of Springfield, which is the third-largest city in the state of Missouri after St. Louis and Kansas City. The University also operates campuses in Mountain View, Salem and Springfield, MO. An online campus was added in 2019.

Program accomplishments

99% of students receive financial aid
35+ student organizations on campus
2700+ undergraduate and graduate students