As New England's other Christian liberal arts college, Barrington College of Barrington, Rhode Island distinguished itself in a variety of important and groundbreaking ways during its 85-year history.
Prior to merging with Gordon in 1985, Barrington pioneered educational programs such as the Evening School of the Bible that spread to Providence, Boston and New York City and permitted people to study the Bible after work. It also had a flourishing radio ministry that aired daily broadcasts of preaching, teaching, gospel music, and news. Its legacy is one that reflects Christian service, mission, and outreach.
Shaping a Heritage
Barrington was founded in Spencer, Massachusetts in 1900. It was an educational experiment for Pastor Essek W. Kenyon, who wanted to train young Christians in the Bible and Christian service. Within 15 years, the school had grown to 50 students before World War I reduced that number to four or five.
After the war, Kenyon moved the school to Dudley, Massachusetts in 1923, where it became the Dudley Bible Institute. Shortly after the move, Kenyon decided to leave the presidency. Following his resignation, the college entered a time that would allow for its greatest growth and expansion.
One year later Howard W. Ferrin became the new president. He was to serve in that role for 40 years.
The Miracle Dollar Campus
Under Ferrin's leadership, the school relocated in 1929—this time to Capitol Hill in Providence, Rhode Island. Renamed the Providence Bible Institute, the school began to experience great growth. By 1950 it became apparent that PBI needed more space.
In that year, Ferrin and the Board of Trustees put down a bid on a 150 acre estate in nearby Barrington, RI. Just before submitting a bid of $331,000, Ferrin felt a spiritual prod to add a little more to the bid. He raised the bid to $331,001, beating the closest competitor's bid by $1. From that point on the Barrington Campus was known as the Miracle Dollar Campus.
From 1950 until 1960, PBI operated campuses in Providence and Barrington. But in 1960 the Providence campus was sold and integrated with Barrington to become Barrington College. After the merge with Gordon in 1985, the Barrington campus was sold.
An Unforgettable Presence
Though Barrington has been a part of Gordon for many years now, it is not hard to find vestiges of this school's great history on the campus. There is the Ferrin residence hall, the Barrington Center for the Arts (pictured above right), a photo exhibit hanging in the Jenks Library and the Barrington rock that now sits near the main entrance to the Barrington Center for the Arts.
Several lounges, classrooms, auditoriums, and academic chairs at Gordon are named in honor of the faithful men and women of Barrington College who taught generations of young men and women the life-giving and faithful ways of Jesus Christ.