Living University, founded on February 27, 2007, serves the Living Church of God in response to its growing need for university-educated personnel and to further edify its world-wide membership and their families. While Living University courses and degree, diploma and credential programs are open to the general public, its focus is on the higher educational needs of the Living Church of God which includes over 35 congregations in 49 countries including the Americas, the Caribbean and the West Indies, the British Isles, Continental Europe, Africa, Australia and the Pacific Isles, and Asia. The University also serves scattered church members in at least 27 countries.
Living Church of God membership around the world is about 11,300 (approximately 6,300 in the USA and 5,000 internationally). The Church has international regional offices in Australia, Barbados, Canada, France, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom. Average weekly church service attendance is about 12,000. The Church’s Tomorrow’s World television program airs on more than 220 stations in 206 countries. The potential number of people reached by the telecast is over one billion. Its Tomorrow’s World magazine circulation is over 400,000 in 176 countries.
On August 15, 2007, Living University opened its virtual doors enrolling more than 150 students from 18 countries. Its first commencement exercises were held on May 19, 2008, where the Certificate in New Testament Studies was conferred on its first six graduates. In the fall of 2008 the University added undergraduate certificate programs in Biblical Archeology, Old Testament Studies, Church History and Christian Leadership to its offerings.
On June 18, 2009 the B.Th. and A.Th. degree programs were declared exempt from the requirements for licensure pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes Section (G.S.) 116-15(d) for exemption from licensure with respect to religious education. In August the University admitted its first on-campus class of three full-time students. On May 17, 2010, the University conferred its first associate degree upon Tony M. Leman and baccalaureate degree upon Kathleen Wollin.
Photo of LU President Michael Germano presenting the Herbert W. Armstong Excellence Award to bachelor's degree candidate Kathleen Wollin at the 2010 Commencement Exercises.
The University opened a new and expanded library in the fall 2010 and as of July 1, 2014 the collection numbered over 6,500 book volumes supported by an Online Catalog (OPAC), several external databases and the University’s online Archive and Special Collections Repository. In the fall of 2010 the University expanded its services for senior citizens through introduction of its Senior Citizen Tuition Waiver entitling them to audit one course per semester with a 100% tuition discount provided that there was space available in the course.
In its first four years, the University conferred twenty-three credentials (two Bachelor of Theology degrees, three Associate of Theology degrees, three Diplomas in Biblical Studies and fourteen Certificates in New Testament Studies and one Certificate in Old Testament Studies).
With its fifth year, the University began offering a Certificate in Biblical Studies and an academic version of the Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course and announced a new program leading to a Certificate in Christian Family Studies and a Diploma in Christian Family Studies.
During its first eight years of operation, the University served students from Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, the United Kingdom and Zambia, as well as the U.S.—all able to participate in the online distance learning program and interact with each other though they were thousands of miles apart.
The fall 2015 semester began its ninth year, wherein the University added an undergraduate Certificate in Business Studies program and began a new Early College Program for high school students. A committee from the University of North Carolina General Administration visited the campus on November 16, 2015 as part of the review required pursuant to Living University's application to offer an Associate of Arts degree and bachelor's degree minors in the fields of business and communications.
A highlight of the University's 2016-2017 tenth anniversary year was the opening of contemporary cooperative student housing for unmarried students in the Beckingham development in Mint Hill. Redstone Hall, decorated in a decidedly masculine British theme serves as a five bedroom men’s residence hall. The facility, designed to advance comradery and further build masculinity, includes a game room equipped with a Brunswick eight foot billiard table, a study/reading room, great room, kitchen, and an enclosed porch. Sheryl Manor, named in memory of Sheryl Meredith, is an elegantly furnished woman’s residence hall fostering contemporary Christian womanhood. It has an exercise room equipped with two Sole E235 Elliptical trainers, a music room with a baby grand piano, a formal dining room, and a great room, and five bedrooms.
The year also saw to the major expansion of library shelving to house about 15,000 books, the addition of an additional library conference room, the recataloging of its collection in the process of upgrading its online services for patrons, and the implementation of its “self-check system.” These changes reflect an increasing on-campus student body population and a migration of the library management system from OpenBiblio to the Koha Open-Source Integrated Library System.
Pending state approval, in the fall of 2017 the University plans to introduce an Associate of Arts degree program to better serve the young adult population of the Living Church of God in an on-campus experience and expand student housing for on-campus students.
Although many Living Church of God elders, deacons and deaconesses enroll in Living University courses, the majority of its students are Church lay members with widely varying backgrounds—some with previous degrees, others with little or no previous exposure to college-level coursework. What they all share, of course, is their zeal to deepen their understanding of God’s Truth and to apply it in their lives.