With a belief in the value of an education infused with faith, friends David Lipscomb and James A. Harding envisioned a school that was different—one that would instill practical knowledge through a Christian lens.
In the summer and fall of 1889, the two friends spent many long nights at Lipscomb’s farmhouse, developing their vision to establish a school that offered a rigorous and challenging academic education in a Christian context. They did not want it to be a “preacher” school, nor a seminary. Instead, they wanted it to be a place where the most useful academics would be taught alongside Bible study and opportunities for personal interactions with Scripture, rooted in the Church of Christ. This, they believed, was a complete education that would rear graduates who were prepared with wisdom and knowledge to serve their community and the world.
The founders’ vision and dream, and their hard work to make that dream a reality, have borne fruit for generations. Lipscomb University has developed into a fast-growing Christian liberal arts institution that started with just nine students in 1891 and now serves nearly 5,000 students today. And Lipscomb Academy, which serves children in preschool through the 12th grade, is now the largest private school of its kind in Middle Tennessee and one of only a few in the nation associated with a university.
The vision and heart of David Lipscomb continues to be honored and lived out through the university. Lipscomb was beloved by the city of Nashville, evident at his funeral which saw an outpouring of community members, because of his service to the city. Like the man himself, the institution strongly values service to its community and the world as an act of faith. It’s a place known for developing courageous and confident leaders equipped with practical knowledge and rooted in their spiritual growth, who take on some of the most complex and difficult problems with their innovation and willingness to step out from the crowd. Because of the commitment of its founder and every past president thereafter to boldly follow the plans God placed on their hearts, Lipscomb University plays a vital role today in countless lives, communities and countries around the world. Faith is not only our foundation—it’s our purpose and our future.