SOUTH POINT, Ohio — When the Rev. Walter E. Staten opened the door to welcome the first class of 50 students on Aug. 28, 1970, at the newly established Tri-State Bible College, it was the culmination of more than 20 years of prayer and preparation.
Staten had successfully incorporated the college on Jan. 27, 1970. Staten was the first president and was joined by four other professors: Jerry Aldridge, Charles Jayne, Alma Sherman and Charles Sheers.
Staten’s widow, Norma, remembers that opening day: “Aug. 28, 1970, was a day of excitement as 50 eager students gathered together (quoting from a steel worker) ‘to get tools with which to mine the gems of holy inspired scriptures.’ God answered many prayers to provide a place in the Tri-State area for these hungry students to be equipped as faithful servants. A lay preacher stated, ‘I have wanted to study the Bible at a Bible institute for 10 years.’ My husband’s dream had come true. To God be the glory!”
The first 13 classes were held at Tri-State Baptist Temple Church. Four programs of study were established: a three-year layman’s program to earn a Bible Institute diploma; a four-year bachelor of religious education program; a four-year Christian education course; and a five-year pastors’ bachelor of theology program.
By 1974, enrollment had grown to 159 students and the current property at Margaret Street in South Point, Ohio, was acquired. In the spring of 1975, the student body had grown to 200. Volunteers under the guidance of local contractor Paul Rowland laid the foundation for the college’s first building.
In 2014, a donation from former students Paul and Bessie Broomhall enabled the college to build the 24,000-square-foot Research Center in South Point, which includes classrooms, offices, a chapel and student center. Currently, the South Point campus includes the Broomhall Bible Research Center, the Staten Administrative Building and the Marquardt Learning Center/Henderson Library. TSBC offers four programs of study: master of arts, bachelor of arts and associate of arts degrees, all in Bible/theology, as well as a one-year certificate in biblical studies.
On Aug. 10, TSBC welcomed a new president, Rex Howe. Howe graduated from TSBC in 2006 with a B.A. in Bible/theology and a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2011. He is working on a doctorate from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
“Tri-State Bible College has faithfully served Christian communities in our region and around the world for 50 years by providing quality biblical and theological education, resulting in faithful servants who are working and serving in our local churches today. It is my privilege to return to the area to see TSBC’s legacy of glorifying God and training servants continue for another 50 years,” said Howe.
“So many steps have been made to grow and mature the school to be able to better train servants in our area for the future today. It’s a big anniversary,” he added.
Howe credits TSBC for providing the foundation he’s used to sustain his career in ministry, which has taken him to multiple states, serving in various roles such as a youth pastor, outreach pastor and senior pastor.
“Sometimes people driving down the road might see our little green sign and think, ‘What is that?’ or maybe they think it’s a glorified Sunday school class, but it really is an accredited qualified program. We offer associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Bible theology and train people to go do ministry and know the Bible better,” Howe said.
In 2009, the college opened an additional location in Akron, housed in the Herzig University Akron building. Between the two locations, Tri-State Bible College will offer 35 classes this fall in Bible, theology and core courses. Classes are available for credit and for audit (undergraduate).
For more information, contact the college at 740-377-2520 or log onto the website at www.tsbc.edu to view the schedule.