Bethel University - Tennessee

The information on this page was last updated 5/9/2024. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Bethel is a private, faith-based, 4-year university with a supportive academic environment designed to help you succeed.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Bethel University
325 Cherry Avenue
McKenzie, TN 38201


Phone: 731-352-4000

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 620548913

CEO/President: Robert Watkins

Chairman: William Dobbins

Board size: 25


Ruling year: 1946

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 07/31

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


Bethel University creates a learning community which:

Accepts individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs.

Offers opportunities for individuals to contribute to the University and to other communities in a variety of ways.

Emphasizes human dignity and ethics that are consistent with the Christian tradition.

Encourages inquiry and the examination of values, self, and society.

Prepares individuals for the life-long pursuit of knowledge in a complex and constantly changing world.

Mission statement

The mission of Bethel University is to offer an accessible education, whether in person or through technology mediated methods, to the diverse learning community. The mission encompasses the goal of offering the opportunity to each individual to develop to the highest potential intellectually, spiritually, and socially in an environment that fosters Christian ideals of reverent spirituality with respect and inclusion of all members of the community.

Statement of faith

Since its founding in 1842, Bethel University has been affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Donor confidence score

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Transparency grade


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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Colleges/Universities

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating342 of 111042 of 129
Fund acquisition rating220 of 111134 of 129
Resource allocation rating666 of 111179 of 129
Asset utilization rating440 of 111056 of 129

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$12,627,434$19,310,025$19,838,535$24,892,342$20,154,002
Short-term investments$4,669,303$4,962,204$3,685,106$3,298,073$3,606,138
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$18,429,806$24,893,589$25,454,175$29,865,990$25,361,916
Long-term investments$14,322,937$5,114,055$5,477,532$5,416,882$7,522,339
Fixed assets$60,576,563$61,988,449$63,608,370$65,830,139$67,948,834
Other long-term assets$542,669$524,428$506,586$488,319$469,244
Total long-term assets$75,442,169$67,626,932$69,592,488$71,735,340$75,940,417
Total assets$93,871,975$92,520,521$95,046,663$101,601,330$101,302,333
Payables and accrued expenses$1,359,413$1,455,732$2,498,378$3,213,835$3,304,184
Other current liabilities$1,142,881$1,696,332$1,475,452$1,740,330$2,673,907
Total current liabilities$2,502,294$3,152,064$3,973,830$4,954,165$5,978,091
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$33,659$33,659$144,263$227,849$227,849
Total long-term liabilities$49,856,042$47,950,415$50,818,004$59,827,945$59,285,811
Total liabilities$52,358,336$51,102,479$54,791,834$64,782,110$65,263,902
Net assets20222021202020192018
Without donor restrictions$28,879,054$28,365,799$28,291,616$25,258,864$24,310,749
With donor restrictions$12,634,585$13,052,243$11,963,213$11,560,356$11,727,682
Net assets$41,513,639$41,418,042$40,254,829$36,819,220$36,038,431
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$9,125,990$5,140,710$7,708,832$2,055,531$5,237,337
Program service revenue$42,328,627$47,264,735$50,967,529$59,850,173$61,085,805
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$5,495$12,829$14,180$8,137$19,376
Other revenue$18,325$28,250$9,074$52,199$81,360
Total other revenue$42,352,447$47,305,814$50,990,783$59,910,509$61,186,541
Total revenue$51,478,437$52,446,524$58,699,615$61,966,040$66,423,878
Program services$42,104,470$40,944,698$43,014,558$49,310,268$55,708,365
Management and general$8,935,614$10,951,137$12,403,950$12,208,481$10,697,885
Total expenses$51,382,840$52,196,932$55,711,689$61,826,693$66,726,601
Change in net assets20222021202020192018
Surplus (deficit)$95,597$249,592$2,987,926$139,347($302,723)
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$95,597$249,592$2,987,926$139,347($302,723)


Walter G ButlerPresident$268,570
Phyllis K CampbellChief Academic Officer$198,701
David W HussVP of Finance/CFO$197,082
Cindy A MallardVice President Cas$173,402
Ronald L DemingProfessor of Business$116,087
Edward ScottExecutive Vice President$37,159

Compensation data as of: 7/31/2022

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 5/9/2024. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


Bethel College was granted a charter by the State of Tennessee in 1847 and operated as Bethel College until 2009 when the trustees voted to change its name to Bethel University.

Bethel's first president was Rev. Reuben Burrow, who served for 20 years. During his presidency, Rev. Burrow also served as a fundraiser, a member of the Board of Visitors, head of the Theology Department, and a teacher.

Bethel successfully weathered the economic hardship brought on by the Civil War and in 1865 admitted women for the first time.

In 1872, Bethel President W.W. Hendrix led the initiative to move Bethel from McLemoresville to its current location in McKenzie, where the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway intersected the Louisville & Nashville Railway.

During the 20th century, Bethel College made a name for itself as an outstanding church-affiliated school producing many graduates headed for the clergy, for the classroom as educators, and many other career paths.

In more recent years, the university has been an innovator, pioneering online education with Bethel's Success Adult Degree program. Bethel was also the first college in Tennessee to offer a laptop initiative where each full-time student would be provided with a laptop computer. Since then, Bethel has continued to innovate. The Renaissance Performing Arts Experience was developed to offer performing arts students scholarships, much like the scholarships awarded to student-athletes. This opportunity broadened the base of prospective students as did the introduction of a number of non-traditional athletics programs, including inline roller hockey, bowling, and bass fishing.

Master's degree programs including a Master of Arts in education, a Master of Science in physician assistant studies, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Arts in conflict resolution have been added through the years as options in learning platforms for the master's degree. Students can choose to learn face-to-face in the classroom, online, or via both platforms.

In 2009, the Bethel Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change Bethel College's name to Bethel University to best reflect the momentum the school was experiencing. Three colleges currently operate under the Bethel University umbrella: The College of Arts and Sciences, The College of Professional Studies, and The College of Health Sciences.

Our momentum has no signs of stopping. Last year, the football Wildcats finished the season with a 10-1 record. Our bass fishing team won a national championship. Enrollment continues to rise both in McKenzie and in our online program. Our graduates serve as leaders in government, businesses, and communities across the country.

For our students and Bethel University, the best is yet to come.

Program accomplishments