Spring Arbor University

About Spring Arbor University

Clock Tower in the winter

Since 1873, Spring Arbor University has helped students pursue wisdom by offering an education grounded in the Christian faith. What began as a small elementary and secondary school in the late 1800’s has evolved into a top-tier, liberal arts, Christian university with more than 3,000 enrolled students. Spring Arbor University now offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and programs, degree completion programs, associate programs and graduate programs. With programs presented on campus, online and on site at 12 locations throughout Michigan and Ohio, the university continues to meet the growing needs of its students.

The Concept | Values | Verse of the Year | Statement of Faith | History

The Concept

The Spring Arbor University mission is known as “The Concept.” It serves as both a mission statement and cornerstone for all of those associated with Spring Arbor University. It reads:

Spring Arbor University is a community of learners distinguished by our lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts, total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning, and critical participation in the contemporary world.


  • We, at Spring Arbor University, are committed to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and affirm the importance of learning grounded in God’s Creation and in His uniquely authoritative revelation through Scripture.
  • We, at Spring Arbor University, are committed to a liberal arts education involving the pursuit of all truth as God’s truth, the development of Christian character, and the living integration of faith and learning.
  • We, at Spring Arbor University, are committed to the value and potential of every human being as created in God’s image and thus accountable to Him and responsible for effective, redemptive participation in society and culture.

Verse of the Year

The Verse of the Year for the 2018-19 academic year is John 1:1-2 ESV:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

Statement of Faith

As an institution affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, Spring Arbor University affirms the Articles of Religion contained in the church’s Book of Discipline. The university acknowledges that the specific doctrinal confession to which it adheres does not define orthodoxy for the whole body of Christ, nor is it comprehensive of every Christian truth. Spring Arbor University embraces all who faithfully adhere to the essentials of biblical Christianity as fellow believers and co-laborers in Christ’s cause.

The essentials of Christianity are contained in the Statement of Faith. The faculty members in the Department of Religion must further affirm the Articles of Religion of the Free Methodist Church. Learn more about Spring Arbor University’s Statement of Faith.


Over 140 years ago, Edward Payson (E.P.) Hart and Martha (Mattie) Bishop Hart left the comforts of their Illinois home where, E.P. was serving as a pastor, to fulfill an important purpose. Eventually, that purpose helped them found today’s Spring Arbor University. The Harts, and everyone associated with Spring Arbor University since then, have shared a common focus on the pursuit of wisdom as they work to glorify Christ in the hearts of many youth who can then become stewards of the faith and bring meaningful and redemptive change to the world. For a detailed look at SAU’s history, visit the Spring Arbor University historical timeline.