Virginia Baptist College was conceived in the hearts of three Fredericksburg area pastors, Don Forrester (Faith Baptist Church, Fredericksburg, VA), Mickey Creed (Colonial Baptist Church, Stafford, VA), and Tom McGee (Ambassador Baptist Church, Woodford, VA). God laid upon these men a burden to further the purposes of their churches, through a combined effort, by providing college-level training for Christian workers. The deacons of Faith Baptist Church voted unanimously on April 16, 1984, to establish the institute as a ministry of the church and named the three cooperating pastors as the Board of Directors.
The school was born as Berean Baptist Institute in the fall of 1984, offering a three-year Graduate of Theology diploma. In keeping with the Institute’s purpose, the first students were a combination of those seeking to improve their knowledge and skills for ministry as lay people in their current churches as well as those who had committed themselves to full-time Christian ministry. Since the students were local and were already employed full-time, classes were scheduled on Monday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, with class sizes ranging from five to twenty students. BBI produced its first graduate on May 26, 1985.
The Board of Directors named Don Forrester as President in June of 1989 and reorganized the school in 1990 as a four-year bachelor’s degree program. The two course tracks were Pastoral Studies and Christian Education. On April 7, 1992, the school received recognition by the Commonwealth of Virginia Council of Higher Education as a religiously exempt degree-granting institution. The first graduate of this program received his degree on May 26, 1992.
In 1994, the curriculum expanded to include a major in Ministry with concentrations in Pastoral Studies, Christian Education, and Bible, and a major in Elementary Education. Minors were introduced in Office Administration, Music, and Youth Ministry, as well as an associate’s degree in Secretarial Science. The Institute’s name was changed to Virginia Baptist College to more accurately reflect the nature and scope of its program. The Commonwealth of Virginia Council of Higher Education formally recognized the College under its new name on July 12, 1994, as a religiously exempt degree-granting institution.
In the mid 1990s, the school grew both in student body and organization. Because of students attending from greater distances, the College began teaching classes in Leesburg, Virginia, and Waldorf, Maryland, to allow students to take classes without commuting to Fredericksburg. Dr. David Freshour served as the College administrator from August 1997 to August 1999. VBC offices were opened in Leland Hall in the summer of 1998, and a full-time secretary was employed. The College was accepted as a member of the American Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries on February 9, 1999.
Recognizing the value of continued self-improvement, the Board of Directors voted on September 19, 2000, to make application to the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). TRACS accepted VBC as an applicant on December 19, 2000.
During the fall 2003 semester, the Board gave approval for VBC to launch the Video Conferencing Center (VCC) pilot program for the existing centers in Leesburg, VA, and Waldorf, MD. This program incorporated the latest technology to transmit courses to other centers real-time. Students at other centers could now see, hear, and interact with the instructor just as if they were sitting in the same classroom. In the summer and fall of 2004, VBC added a VCC in Nokesville, VA; Alexandria, VA; and Richmond, VA. In the summer of 2005, a VCC was added in Fairfax, VA.
In January 2004, VBC began the Master of Ministry program (M.Min.), and in 2005, a certificate program and associates degrees were added.
In December 2005, the administration submitted a request to TRACS to begin the process of moving from applicant to candidate status. In January 2007 TRACS granted approval for the college to proceed with a self-study in preparation for an accreditation team visit. On April 14, 2008 Virginia Baptist College was granted candidate status by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). TRACS is recognized by both the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as a national accrediting body for Christian colleges and seminaries. This recognition is an important step in the process that was started by college leadership in 2000. Candidate status indicates that an institution is in basic compliance with the Standards of Accreditation, has been evaluated by an on-site peer team, and in the professional judgment of the evaluation team and the Accreditation Commission, provides quality instruction and student services. This status is effective for a period of five years, during which period the college intends to complete the additional steps needed to achieve fully accredited status.
In the spring of 2010, Virginia Baptist College requested from TRACS a change in status from candidacy to a fully accredited institution. A self-study was completed in February 2011 in preparation for a team visit in April of 2011.
Dr. Forrester resigned his position as senior pastor of Faith Baptist Church as of February 28, 2011, in order to devote his full efforts to his work as president of Virginia Baptist College.
Virginia Baptist College is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) [PO Box 328, Forest, VA 24551; Telephone: 434.525.9539; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org] having been awarded Accredited status as a Category III institution by TRACS’ Accreditation Commission on November 8, 2011; this status is effective for a period of 5 years.
In October 2012, VBC submitted to TRACS a plan for three new programs: Church Business Concentration in the undergraduate program and a Master of Christian Education and a Master of Biblical Studies degrees on the graduate level. Approval was granted by TRACS to proceed with these programs in January 2013.
In July of 2013, Mickey Creed was given the title of Dean of Students and Adam Davis assumed the title of Director of Student Services. In addition, Daniel Stevens was named Vice President to assist Dr. Forrester and serve as Director of Graduate Studies.
In November of 2013, the college received approval to participate in Federal Student Aid (Title IV funds). Twelve students received Pell grants that fall.
In June 2014, Dr. Tony Retterer was appointed as the new Academic Dean. In August 2014, Dr. Don Forrester resigned as VBC president, devoting himself to teach and travel for the college. He was given the title of Chancellor by the board. Daniel Stevens was appointed the new president. In fall of 2014, the college began to utilize Adobe Connect, a video conferencing program, which allows students to access courses real-time from their laptops or mobile devices all over the world.