In 1954, members of the Churches of Christ formed a Board of Trustees to establish an educational institution in the North Central region of the United States. In the initial college catalog, the institution’s leaders affirmed their dedication “to the task of leading students toward higher academic achievement.” The founders also stated their belief “that the development of Christian ideals in the life of an individual is highly important.” Leaders of Rochester College remain firmly committed to those ideals.

In 1997, the college changed its name from Michigan Christian College to Rochester College. The change in name signaled a broadening of vision for an institution that would be inclusive, affirm academic freedom, and train men and women with life skills beyond mere academic credentials. In today’s Post-modern culture, a values-based and values-driven curriculum is the best hope for a great educational experience. Men and women educated at Rochester College embrace challenge, apply problem-solving skills, serve their communities, and provide leadership for challenges yet to come.

Rochester College is built upon a firm foundation laid by hundreds of individuals over the past six decades. Certain events stand out as historical milestones in the college’s progress.

1954

  • Board formed to establish a Christian school in the North Central region
  • Board organizes as the North Central Christian College Foundation

1957

  • Search process for a president initiated by the board
  • Maxon estate in Rochester selected as a campus site
  • First of several open houses conducted on the newly acquired property

1958

  • Series of rallies for teenagers conducted on the future campus
  • Otis Gatewood named president of the college at the first lectureship
  • Lucien Palmer named dean at a rally in Detroit’s new Ford Auditorium
  • Ground broken for first new facility, the Multi-Purpose Building

1959

  • Rally at State Fair Coliseum with Pat Boone attracts over 8,500 guests
  • Associates formed to raise funds for the college
  • North Central Christian College welcomes first students

1960

  • First addition to greenhouse completed for science classroom
  • Palmer Hall completed

1961

  • Institutional name changed to Michigan Christian Junior College
  • Second addition to Science Building completed for classroom space
  • Barbier Hall completed
  • Men’s Club organized to raise funds for the college
  • Cafetorium completed for use as a cafeteria and auditorium

1962

  • Third addition to Science Building completed for a biology laboratory

1963

  • First Homecoming held in conjunction with the Valentine Banquet
  • Gymnasium completed
  • State accreditation achieved

1964

  • Gold Room completed
  • Lucien Palmer named second president of the college
  • Alumni Association formed
  • Gierok farm purchased to provide 54 acres for future growth of the college

1965

  • Muirhead Center completed for student center, library, and classrooms

1966

  • Addition to Multi-Purpose Building completed for the bookstore

1969

  • Candidate status achieved with the North Central Association
  • First conference title won by men’s basketball team

1970

  • Men’s baseball added to intercollegiate sports program
  • Alma Gatewood Residence Hall completed

1971

  • Don Gardner named third president of the college

1972

  • Partnership Dinner organized to meet annual payments on Gatewood Hall

1973

  • Autumn formed to assist with student recruitment efforts

1974

  • College accredited by the North Central Association

1975

  • Over 300 students enrolled for the first time in college history

1976

  • Barbier Hall updated and Palmer Hall totally renovated with suites

1977

  • Millionth dollar donated to the college by the Associates
  • Celebration in Song introduced as an annual showcase of student talent
  • Third year of coursework added to the Bible program
  • Associate in Applied Science introduced for technical degree options

1978

  • Westside Central Chapel and original Utley Student Center completed
  • Walt Gilfilen named fourth president of the college
  • Bachelor of Religious Education degree approved by state
  • Institutional name officially changed to Michigan Christian College

1979

  • Lobby, restrooms, and locker rooms added to gymnasium
  • New campus master plan unveiled

1980

  • Milton Fletcher named fifth president of the college
  • Bachelor of Religious Education approved by North Central Association

1981

  • Women’s softball team organized
  • Autumn restructured to perform contemporary Christian music

1982

  • Wang VS-80 computer system purchased for campus-wide use

1983

  • Gatehouse renovated for use as the Homemaking House
  • Computer and Office Systems labs opened in Campus Center
  • Silver Anniversary celebration launched during the fall semester
  • Business programs added at the associate degree level

1984

  • Company formed to assist student recruitment efforts
  • City charter approved and college’s hometown becomes Rochester Hills

1986

  • Women’s volleyball added to the intercollegiate sports program

1987

  • Third year of course work added to the business program
  • Women’s basketball team organized
  • Men’s soccer team organized
  • Second millionth dollar donated to the college by the Associates

1989

  • First national championship captured by the men’s basketball team
  • First online database added to resources available in the Muirhead Library
  • Counseling major added to Bachelor of Religious Education program
  • First national title earned by the cross country team

1990

  • Preschool opened by the college in new church facility next to campus
  • Second national title earned by men’s cross country team

1991

  • Ken Johnson named sixth president of the college

1992

  • Music Center renovated by alumni volunteers

1993

  • Bachelor of Business Administration degree approved by NCA
  • Third millionth dollar raised by the Associates

1994

  • Warrior Cafe opened in lower level of former Utley Student Center
  • Second national title captured by men’s basketball team

1995

  • Campus connected to the Internet

1996

  • Bachelor of Science degree approved by the state and NCA
  • First national title earned by men’s soccer team

1997

  • Institutional name changed to Rochester College
  • Weekend College introduced for working adults
  • Ferndale Hall, Hoggatt Hall, and Dearborn Commons completed
  • College web site launched

1998

  • First national title earned by women’s volleyball team

1999

  • Satellite campus established at the Macomb University Center
  • Over 500 students enrolled for the first time
  • Second national title earned by women’s volleyball team

2000

  • Barbier Hall renovated and equipped with modular furniture
  • Satellite campus established at the Mott University Center

2001

  • Isom Atrium and Associates Plaza completed
  • GEO international studies program launched with a study tour in Scotland

2002

  • Bachelor of Arts degree approved by state and North Central Association
  • Ham Library completed
  • Bookstore moved to a new location in the Utley Center

2003

  • Satellite campus established at Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts
  • Michael Westerfield named interim (later elected) president of the college
  • Over 1,000 students enrolled for the first time

2004

  • Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) opened
  • Former library building renovated and rededicated as Muirhead Center
  • Third national championship captured by men’s basketball team
  • Richardson Center completed

2005

  • Fourth national championship captured by men’s basketball team
  • Planned unit development agreement signed with the city of Rochester Hills
  • Master of Religious Education approved by North Central Association

2006

  • College authorized by state to recommend teachers for certification
  • Second national title earned by men’s soccer team

2007

  • Men’s and women’s golf added to intercollegiate sports roster

2008

  • Rubel Shelly named interim (later elected) president of the college
  • 50th Anniversary celebration launched during the fall semester

2009

  • Integrated Learning Program introduced
  • Portion of Gallaher Center restored for Campus Store

2011

  • National championship captured by women’s softball team
  • Nursing program approved by Michigan Board of Nursing
  • College accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

2012

  • College of Nursing accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

2013

  • Fifth national championship captured by men’s basketball team
  • Fourth millionth dollar raised by the Associates
  • John Tyson named president of the college