CEDARVILLE, OHIO — For the past 14 years, Cedarville University has enjoyed record student enrollments. Will this trend continue in the 2023-24 academic year?
Early indications suggest it will be another banner year at Cedarville, and one reason for the continued growth is the interest from incoming freshmen students. This year in particular, nine students from Bethesda Christian School in Brownsburg, Indiana, will be part of the student body.
Despite different backgrounds and majors, all nine students are excited to get started at Cedarville and open this new chapter of life. They all plan to move into their residence halls on Friday, August 18, with the majority of new and returning students.
Bethesda students’ selection of academic programs represents six of Cedarville’s 175 programs of study. Seth Bradley, Ellie Geimer and Paige Vawter will pursue a degree in nursing, while Ian Whitehead and Eva Campbell are majoring in biblical studies. The remaining students are all over the academic spectrum, with Jake Henry selecting engineering, Jenny Li pursuing a degree in biology, Emma Spencer in business and Ella Titus in English.
The path to enrolling at Cedarville University was different for each student. For Bradley, attending Cedarville was an easy decision as his older sister, Hannah, is a student and their parents both earned degrees from the university. In selecting Cedarville, he believed his educational experience would also help him grow spiritually — as he witnessed from his sister and parents.
“I’ve been able to see the change it has made in my older sister,” said Bradley. “I saw maturity and spiritual growth in her life that I can only credit to the Lord and her experience at Cedarville. I hope that when I graduate from Cedarville, I will be as prepared professionally as I will be spiritually.”
While Bradley, Whitehead and Vawter have family legacies at Cedarville, others like Campbell and Henry are first-generation Cedarville students.
Campbell’s decision to attend college more than two hours from home was difficult. She had heard about Cedarville through friends and teachers who had connections to Cedarville, but she wasn’t sure it was the university for her. But when she joined some of her high school classmates on a campus visit, she was drawn to Cedarville’s commitment to biblical teaching and the Gospel.
Ultimately, the decision came down to a song that was the final piece in her decision-making process.
“I was praying in the car when Cedarville’s musical group HeartSong was singing ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness.’ That song has meant so much to me,” Campbell explained. “So, when I heard that song in the car (on the way home from the campus visit), it sealed the deal for me. I felt confident that the Lord was calling me to attend Cedarville University.”
Historically, Bethesda Christian has had a strong connection with Cedarville since its founding in 1965 by Dr. Donald Tyler, for whom the Tyler Digital Communication Center on Cedarville’s campus is named. Many Bethesda graduates have graduated from Cedarville and returned to the Indiana high school to teach.
This is the largest number of Bethesda graduates heading to Cedarville in recent years.
Martha Blodgett, a teacher at Bethesda and a graduate of Cedarville, said, “It’s been cool to see how eclectic the nine students are but also how Cedarville has bonded them together on a different level even though some of them have gone to school together for years.”
With the nine Bethesda students moving into their college residence halls on Friday, it paves the way for a potential 15th-consecutive record enrollment at Cedarville University. And it’s a record size of Bethesda graduates who may help propel Cedarville into another banner year.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual-enrollment high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu
UPDATE: The “Bethesda Nine” are one month into their freshman year at Cedarville University in Ohio–and they, by their own admission, are thriving. Three of the students, Seth Bradley, Paige Vawter, and Ellie Geimer share their CU stories and how they selected Cedarville on this week’s Cedarville Stories Podcast with Mark Weinstein. To hear this podcast, click: https://cedar.to/ZTWDRa.