1918 - 1930
Beulah Heights Bible Institute was founded in 1918 by Rev. Paul T. Barth and his wife, Hattie. Her mother, Elizabeth Sexton, had communicated her vision of having a Bible-based educational facility in Atlanta with them, and it became the sole purpose and ambition of Paul and Hattie Barth to make this vision become a reality. Rev. Paul Barth served as the first President of the school, starting out with just a few local students, until 1928, when the vision of training young men and women to spread the gospel became even greater, and the school expanded by adding new buildings. The Barths were instrumental in the spread of the Pentecostal movement to the East Coast in the early 1900’s. Hattie Barth’s theology of the “five-fold gospel” helped shape the doctrines of the Pentecostal movement of that era.
The Barths continued operating Beulah Heights Bible Institute together through the next several years, and served as local pastors as well. They made great personal and financial sacrifices in order to keep their dream alive, selling much of their own property to provide the needed finances to keep the school running.
1930 - 1940
Louie W. Stokes was the first graduate of Beulah Heights Bible Institute on May 9, 1929, and then gave his education back to the school by serving as an instructor from 1930-1937. He met his wife Lillian during this time, and after graduating in 1935, she also served as a teacher through 1936-1937. The couple then went to South America as missionaries. The Stokes’ were trophies of Beulah Heights as they answered the Great Commission and gave themselves totally to the cause of Christ.
Another outstanding graduate in this time frame was Oscar P. Smith. He graduated in 1937 and became a missionary to Colombia, South America. He was threatened, imprisoned and ultimately martyred for attempting to share the gospel. On February 2nd, 1951 after several months of being imprisoned, he was allowed to return home. Three days later he was awakened at 4:00 AM, forced outside, shot in the back, and his home burned.
1940 - 1950
From July 23, 1940 until the summer of 1942, two colleges operated from what became Beulah Heights Bible College; Southeastern, an Assembly of God college, which is now located in Lakeland, Florida shared the campus and faculty as Beulah Heights-Southeastern Bible Institute. Also during the 1940’s, Black Hills Bible Institute was consolidated with Beulah Heights, becoming the official school of the International Pentecostal Assemblies.
Paul Barth passed away in 1942, and Hattie Barth assumed the role of President, continuing the ministry and fulfilling the dream they had shared as a team for so long.
1950 - 1960
In 1954 Rev. Robert Lichty became the Principal at Beulah Heights, serving beside Mrs. Barth, and he considered it an honor to work with a woman of such character and ambition. He would serve in this capacity until 1958. On October 31, 1956, Hattie Barth passed away at the age of 80. At that time, James A. Keiller began his service to Beulah Heights as President and also served as Pastor of Barth Memorial Church, later known as Beulah Heights Tabernacle, serving in that capacity for many years. The college continued to provide quality Christian education as dedicated laborers joined together to instill godly wisdom into the students. Among such leaders was Rev. Al Hughes, who served as Principal in 1958 and also shared his awesome leadership gifts as an instructor. In 1959, Beulah Heights changed the title of the principal’s position to that of Dean, and Mrs. Ossie Whitlock filled that role. She and her husband, John, were faithful supporters of the school. Mrs. Whitlock also taught many Bible classes, and Mr. Whitlock provided guidance as a member of the College Board of Trustees and served as Business Manager of the college for a number of years. Upon their deaths many years later, this precious couple continued to bless Beulah Heights Bible College, when they left to the school several pieces of property, providing much needed student housing. Their legacy of generosity and faithful service to God lives on today.
1960 - 1970
Edward Klaus held the position of Dean from 1962-1964. In September of 1963, the Beulah Heights College, Seminary and Institute were chartered by the state of Georgia as a degree granting institution. In that same year, the school also achieved accreditation with the Southern Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges. In 1964, Dr. James B. Keiller, son of Dr. James A. Keiller, came on board at Beulah Heights as Academic Dean. This father and son team would take the College to a new place of excellence as they labored together in ministry.
1970 - 1980
In 1971, Dr. James A. Keiller stepped down from the office of President of Beulah Heights, but continued to serve as an instructor who was well loved and respected by all his students. He impacted many lives throughout every aspect of his ministry here. At that time, Rev. William Houck became President of the college, while also serving as Pastor of a church in Michigan. He would visit Beulah Heights frequently, supporting the school in various ways, while Dr. James B. Keiller assisted with the day-to-day campus needs. Beulah Heights went through many name changes throughout the years, and in January of 1972, the Trustees approved to amend the corporate name to read, “Beulah Heights Bible College”.
In 1976, Dr. Richard Edwards and his family moved to the Atlanta area. He became President of Beulah Heights, and also taught at Georgia State University. His faithfulness to ministry and education paved the way for the future, providing much needed technical and software developmental assistance to the school. The knowledge and skills he shared with the faculty and students helped to equip the college with much needed modern technology, causing the offices and classes to run much more efficiently.
1980 - 1990
In 1981, Clifford and Eunice Edwards moved to Atlanta to serve at Beulah Heights Bible College. Rev. Clifford Edwards, brother to Dr. Richard Edwards, worked diligently assisting the President for many years. He also served later as Vice President for Business and Finance. Mrs. Eunice Edwards diligently served the office staff by providing much needed secretarial support and skills for many years. She also had a vision for the college, and before her retirement in June of 2001, her dream of a campus bookstore at Beulah Heights became a reality and was opened under her management. For many years, the Edwards were considered the “Mom and Pop” of Beulah Heights, always extending warmth, love and words of advice to each student that passed through in need of a spiritual family while their calling for knowledge led them away from their physical families.
In 1989, Dr. Richard Edwards moved to Baylor University, and Dr. Samuel R. Chand became the President of Beulah Heights. He and his wife, Brenda, were both alumni of Beulah Heights, and were launched into ministry upon their graduation from the college.
1990 - 2000
Through Dr. Chand’s leadership and vision, dual accreditation was achieved through Transnational Association of Christian Colleges & Schools (TRACS) and the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Education (ABHE). Beulah Heights Bible College achieved recognition with the U.S. Department of Education, thus, providing eligible students with financial aid assistance. Students became more and more excited as each semester brought about new records being set in both attendance and diversity. At a time when Bible colleges were declining, Beulah Heights Bible College became the fastest growing Bible College in America, offering programs to obtain a Certificate, Associate of Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Biblical Education, Urban Ministries & Public Policy, and Leadership and Administration, as well as minors in Urban Ministries, Christian Counseling, Leadership, Intercultural Studies (Missions), and Criminal Justice Ministries. He took the college to new levels of excellence with his theme focusing on Beulah Heights being a place of Academic Excellence, a Resource Center and a Change Agent. The campus was growing at a rapid rate, bringing about constant additions, property purchases, and face lifts to the campus. The small, intimate, and relaxed atmosphere that once described Beulah Heights was now replaced with a fast paced, exciting place of change, diversity and constant growth. This revolutionized the college’s approach to ministry, while holding onto the core values of the founder’s vision of being a place of integrity, Biblical inerrancy, humility, and servanthood.
2000 - 2007:
On December 31, 2003, Dr. Chand made the transition from being President of Beulah Heights to taking on the role as Chancellor, as God was leading him into another capacity of sharing the ministry leadership skills that were instilled in him. Dr. Benson Karanja, who was serving as Executive Vice President, became the 7th President of Beulah Heights. Operating under Dr. Karanja’s “campaign for excellence” strategy BHBC has expanded, and streamlined its systems, achieved quality control, and positioned itself to achieve new heights. Dr. Karanja has instilled in faculty, staff and students to push themselves one extra degree. One degree makes the difference between hot water and boiling water, one degree determines if water will remain a liquid or become frozen, and one degree of extra effort on everyone’s part will equal exponential results for BHBC.
2007 - Present:
Dr. Karanja led a partnership with John Wieland Homes that helped BHU construct a massive student housing expansion project. The project created over 42 student housing units. The Master of Arts program concentrating in Religious Studies and Leadership Studies began in the fall of 2007. A Master of Divinity degree program was then added in 2008. BHU launched a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2010, that is tailored to fit the needs of the marketplace through Global centered business education. The program was approved by the State of Georgia, Department of Education on June 25, 2010 and by TRACS in April 2009. By 2012 BHU will launch the Doctorate of Ministry program.
Today, BHU continues to serve the faith-based community through its educational services. Many faculty and staff members not only provide training, but are also practitioners in their field. Students are provided ways to put their training into practice through internships, mission opportunities, volunteer services, and work-study within the community. With the average age of the student population being 34 years, many have already experienced life-changing circumstances, which have created a deeper passion for being used in the ministry God has led them into. The student population is proof of the diversity it is so proud of, being represented over 35 countries, over 400 churches, and 45 denominations.