Mission, Vision, & Values
Great Northern University is a Christian, liberal arts university distinguished by meaningful relationships with faculty, rigorous academic programs, and ongoing career preparation.
GNU educates individuals who will engage and transform the world for Jesus Christ.
Our Core Values
The core values of Great Northern University give shape to how we pursue our mission. They can be summarized in three words: Wisdom, Scholarship, and Community. When these values are embraced and purposefully carried out in our work, our mission will be successful, and our vision will be realized. We strive to instill these values in our students so that they will continue to practice them throughout their lives.
Wisdom: Embracing a Christ-like Identity
We believe that the greatest expression of wisdom is to think, act, and love like Jesus did in his earthly life. We affirm that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has made a way to restore humanity to Himself. Through this reconciling work, God has freed us from slavery to sin and calls us to continually put to death the deeds of the flesh so that we can become more like Christ (Col. 3:1-17). It is only by the grace of the gospel that we can pursue wisdom.
At GNU, wisdom involves properly applying scholarship to community. It may look like serving those in poverty in our neighborhoods or giving up a night out to comfort a sick friend. It happens when we seek to hear and understand the perspectives of those from different backgrounds. Wisdom is wrestling with real-world issues, such as refugee resettlement and human trafficking. When we work together to develop godly solutions, we can transform our world for Christ.
Scholarship: Being a Disciplined Learner
At GNU, we strive to develop disciplined learners. This means that we expect—and will coach—students to develop intentional, healthy habits of study. We expect students to reject complacency and indifference, to work hard, to have an open mind, and to practice humility in learning from others. We propel students to exceed their own expectations.
Growing in skills and knowledge doesn’t just happen. It takes a concerted effort to identify the proper course of action and to resolve to follow that course to its conclusion. Our desire is for students to be intentional in their educational journey and to pursue excellence in their studies.
Community: Leading through Service and Humility
Our idea of community is drawn from Jesus’ statement in Mark 10:43b-44: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first, must be slave of all” (ESV). This kind of community produces strength based on humility and service. It cares for the “least of these” as if they were Jesus Himself. Members of this community sacrificially give to one another, forgive each other when wronged, and graciously bear each other’s burdens.
It takes sincere humility and significant effort to believe that the needs and desires of others are more important than one’s own. We want to cultivate a community that produces this kind of humble, godly, and effective servant-leaders.