The University first opened its doors in 1878 in Lebanon, Missouri, as Southwest Baptist College. In 1879 the college was chartered by the state of Missouri and moved to Bolivar. The founders, James R. Maupin and Abner S. Ingman, both in their early 20s, faced many difficulties as they rode horseback seeking funds, students and an ideal college site. Each year, the university recognizes our founding fathers by celebrating Founders Day.
From its inception, the University has been a distinctively Christian and Baptist institution in terms of world view and ideological commitments.
The main campus is located in the southern portion of Bolivar, Missouri. The most recent addition to the 152-acre campus is the Jane and Ken Meyer Wellness Center which was completed in January 2005. SBU also operates campuses at Salem, Mountain View and Springfield, Missouri.
The Bolivar Community
The Bolivar community of about 9,000 residents is the seat of Polk County, Missouri. Fishing, boating, and camping are all within a 30-minute drive. Bolivar residents and visitors enjoy playing and relaxing at The Dunnegan Memorial Park on the north side of Bolivar.