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Calvary University Academy Officially Launched

Calvary University Academy Officially Launched

Calvary’s K-12 school offering quality Christian education in Colorado and worldwide through blended model.

Calvary’s K-12 Academy in Colorado has begun its first independent school year. Calvary University Academy (CUA) was created through a partnership between Calvary University Innovation Center and Riverview Christian School. CUA offers quality Christian education to Morgan County, Colorado, families as well as students worldwide, using Calvary’s blended model of education.

Superintendent Ian Bacon said classes were going well, and students were “settling in getting to know each other and the school.” CUA spent the last school year in transition, and Bacon said, “There is curiosity of what we are doing. We are establishing ourselves within the community now that the transition has occurred.” He deemed it a definite positive response from the local community.

With the transitional period over, this is the first school year CUA has used the blended course structure, and Bacon explained that the response had been good with their online student base. Especially in the upper grades, the format is causing waves of interest. High school students take early college courses streamed from the Kansas City campus. Bacon said, “It has been wonderful watching the students begin the courses and realize they are much more capable than they knew.”

Bacon estimated half of the on-campus students were returning families who were involved in the transition, and half had no prior knowledge of Calvary. As the campus expands, Bacon anticipates the growth that their course structure facilitates. “It is exciting to think that in the future our students in Colorado will be able to interact with classmates around the world!”

For more information about Calvary University Academy, please visit our website or call (970) 842-4604. 

CUA Students performing science experiments.

Upper level students take dual enrollment college courses.

Calvary University Retooling Colorado Operations

In order to be faithful stewards CU is forced to reevaluate

In 2017, the Lord, through the wonderful people of Fort Morgan, Colorado, gifted Calvary University with a magnificent 130,000 sq ft facility which was renamed the Calvary University Innovation Center (CUIC). This gift was accompanied by a tremendous outpouring of public support, which CU leaders at the time knew would have to translate into significant student enrollment if the effort there was to be sustainable.

The initial plan was to transform the facility into a unique, innovative space where Christian educators, ministries, and the public at large could co-locate, collaborate and hold events.

Unfortunately, a year and a half later, the university still can’t get off the starting blocks.

As CU quickly pursued and invested in this vision, and despite its unflagging efforts, to include faculty and staff relocation, one key obstacle has stalled sustainable progress: the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CODHE) has still inexplicably delayed in granting CU permission to offer anything but “religious” programs in CO.

More than a year ago, CU submitted application to operate in CO as a University. The CODHE only granted approval as a religious entity, meaning that CU could offer its “religious” based programs, but couldn’t operate as a university offering more in-demand degree programs like business and education. Knowing that those two programs in particular were the greatest need and opportunity for student enrollment in the area, CU continued working with the CODHE, rapidly submitting all requested information.

Each dutiful submission resulted in requests for more information and, at times, revelation of new submission requirements inexplicably neglected earlier in the process.

To CU leaders it has seemed like more than a year of runaround, as the school has not been able to get the simple approval it needs and has easily acquired in other states. “We would have never dreamed we would still be at this stage after a year and a half. It is crippling – we have high quality, in-demand programs, and have had no problem receiving accreditation and reaccreditation with national and regional accreditors.”

The process Dr. Bitner, CU’s Chief Academic Officer, referred to is the CODHE’s referral of all submitted materials to a pair of private consultants who review, comment, and recommend. The school is essentially at the mercy of these consultants and their limitations. “It seems clear that the consultants the CODHE outsources are very comfortable with traditional models of education, but seem unfamiliar with multisite and online programs. Perhaps because the latter is the model we are bringing to the table, we have been placed into back and forth process. I am sure these are good folks, but the processes don’t seem to serve the people of Colorado very well.”

After almost two years of substantial planning, preparation, and CU investment, university leadership finds themselves at a point where, in order to be faithful stewards of what God has entrusted to them and not hamstring other university operations, they are forced to reevaluate how to proceed in Colorado.

Tania Edwards, VP of enrollment management, explained that because of the continued delays and sea of red tape, CU is now two major recruiting cycles behind. This, coupled with the university’s over $2 million investment in the past year and a half demands an urgent change to its model. “Because we have not been able to recruit based on the in-demand programs we offer, we have seen only marginal growth in Colorado-based enrollment—an unsustainable situation. Unfortunately, the CODHE’s disappointing delays deny us the ability to recruit for the very programs that could sustain us,” Edwards went on to say. “It has been very disappointing that with this high level of personal investment in the state and in Fort Morgan, the state’s agency hasn’t been helpful. It is a remarkably frustrating place to be.”

In today’s uncertain and turbulent times, extended delay and indecisiveness in the higher education realm often equates to institutional suicide. Still profoundly grateful for the gift of the property in Fort Morgan, as well as the opportunity to come alongside and ensure the sustainability of Riverview Christian Academy (soon to relaunch as Calvary University Academy), CU is reevaluating how to best steward the property.

Accordingly, Dr. Cone is leading a comprehensive reevaluation of the university’s operation in Fort Morgan. “We are completely committed to the people of Fort Morgan and of Colorado. Because to this point, we have not been granted the ability to offer our full catalog of programs, we are reevaluating and retooling for long term sustainable efforts in Colorado. This will probably mean shifting our operations into more economical facilities, as we will never come close to covering the cost of operation in the Innovation Center without the state approval to operate as a university.”

Cone expects CU to move quickly so as to still be able to serve Coloradans in the long-term. Calvary leaders will be pleading Calvary’s case before the CODHE commission at the next opportunity. “We are looking at ways to have less of a footprint as we move forward, and the partnerships we have formed will be important in that process. We may even be looking at selling the building that houses the Innovation Center. In the short term, we have been forced to consider some uncomfortable decisions.”

Nevertheless, while Calvary University has encountered obstacles in Colorado, efforts in the state have still contributed to CU’s award-winning global enrollment growth. Several degree programs can be taken locally at the Innovation Center, including Bible and Theology, Biblical Counseling, Ministry Studies, Pastoral Ministry, Youth Ministry, Intercultural Studies, and Worship Arts. Most other degrees can be taken online or through CU’s main campus in Kansas City.

God Provided a Library for the Colorado Innovation Center

God Provided a Library for the Colorado Innovation Center

Weekly Portraits of Calvary Life

God has provided for Calvary yet again!  Our Innovation Center in Fort Morgan, Colorado, now has a library full of resources for use in equipping students for life and service.

The shelves are ready for books.


God provided the 35,000 books in this full university library through the closing of Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska.  The officials at Grace chose to give their entire library to Calvary, and we are so grateful.

35,000 books are waiting to be shelved.

Within a few short months, God has provided a new home for the Kansas City campus library and books to fill the Colorado one.


Getting 35,000 books from Omaha to Fort Morgan is no small task!  However, God provided again.  Keim TS, a trucking company in Sabetha, Kansas, donated their time and a truck to haul the boxes of books to Colorado.  What a blessing!

Keim TS transported the books to Colorado.

Help Needed

Calvary faculty and staff spent a Tuesday Work Day disassembling shelves that were left over from when our Kansas City library moved.

Calvary faculty and staff in Kansas City (pictured: Tressa Shoemaker, Dr. Luther Smith, and Tim Hange) disassembled shelves for the Innovation Center.

The shelves and some furniture were loaded up and driven out to Colorado back in June.

Randy Grimm and John Oglesby loaded shelving to be transported to Colorado.

The shelving has been set up, but the books are still in boxes.

Dave Vande Berg traveled to Colorado to put together the shelves.

We are looking for someone with library knowledge to help put the books in their new home.  If you are interested in helping with that project, please contact Jeff Campa (  We are also looking for a part-time library branch manager for the Innovation Center.  Click here to get more details.

Sara Klaassen

Alumni Relations Coordinator


Upcoming Calvary Events

Cycle 2 begins             August 27

Connect Fest               August 31


Calvary University Signs Agreement to Launch K-12 International School Based in Morgan County, Colorado

Calvary University Signs Agreement to Launch K-12 International School Based in Morgan County, Colorado

KANSAS CITY, MO – Calvary University and Riverview Christian School of Morgan County, Colorado have signed a landmark agreement that creates a partnership between the two schools. Under the agreement, the 2018-19 academic year will be a transitional year, designed to maximize continuity for the local students, while both organizations move toward a full acquisition of Riverview Christian School operations by Calvary University at the end of the transitional year. At that point the Riverview Christian Board will become the Advisory Board for the new academy, as the school rebrands as Calvary University Academy. The new academy will function as a laboratory school, and will offer education in the university model, with three days of formal instruction and two days of individualized learning and application for students.

Calvary University Academy will provide instruction using the unique blended model from Calvary University classrooms, with video recorded classroom experience, and online and campus students learning and interacting together. Calvary University and Riverview Christian School officials are excited that this approach will help Calvary University Academy to be accessible not just to traditional Christian school students, but also to homeschool students around the globe, ultimately making it easier for parents to choose Bible-centered education for their children. The agreement will also provide significant scholarships for all historic RCS graduates to attend Calvary University.

The agreement between Calvary and Riverview is a reflection of Riverview’s longstanding commitment to ensuring that there is quality Christian education available to Morgan County families and youth, and is an expression of Calvary University’s commitment to providing globally accessible, quality, and affordable Bible-centered education that prepares Christians for excellence in life and service in the church and in the world according to the biblical worldview.

Riverview Christian School is in the process of relocating from its historic campus (which RCS leaders are working to sell to a Christian ministry or church) to Calvary University’s Innovation Center in Fort Morgan, Colorado, and is now enrolling for the 2018-2019 academic year.

For questions regarding the agreement between CU and RCS, enrollment at RCS for the Fall,  or to inquire about purchasing the old Riverview campus, RCS can be reached at 970-842-4604, and CU can be reached by emailing

President’s Update: What is an Innovation Center???

President’s Update: What is an Innovation Center???

By now I hope you have all heard of our recent announcement that God has blessed us with an incredible 7.5-acre property with a beautiful 130,000 square foot building in Fort Morgan, Colorado. We also announced that we would be launching the Calvary University Innovation Center as a second location there. Quite a few have asked what exactly this Innovation Center is.


Excellent question. I am glad you asked. While God has been very gracious in allowing us the wonderful property at our main campus in Kansas City, Missouri, we don’t quite have the room there to do some of the things we believe necessary for Calvary University to best fulfill its mission. So we have been on the lookout during these past couple of years for properties that might fit our needs for a second site to complement what we are doing in Kansas City and online. Our new Innovation Center offers just what we need.


First, the Innovation Center will be a hub for student and faculty engagement in the Western United States. Calvary U currently offers more than 60 different degrees at our main campus, and many of those are available fully online as well. But along with our blended model which integrates the best of both the online and on campus worlds, we still want our students in other regions to be able to have an on-campus community. The Innovation Center allows us to do that in a ministry-rich area around Denver, Colorado. We plan to offer degrees onsite there in Bible and Theology, Christian ministries, Biblical counseling, intercultural studies, and business and organizational development, with classes launching late this Summer.


Second, the Innovation Center will be a center for community engagement. The athletic center seats nearly 1700 and the auditorium seats nearly 900. These are incredible facilities that will allow the Calvary University Innovation Center to be home to conferences, community groups, and more. We are working as we speak to develop relationships and partnerships with those who might be a great fit for collaboration. The facilities allow us to serve the residents of Fort Morgan and beyond. Further, we will have plenty of space to house ministries and businesses who want to locate their offices at the Innovation Center. This will provide great opportunities to connect community leaders with our students, allowing our students to learn and serve the community well. Have a ministry or business in the Denver area, and interested in being part of Calvary’s Innovation Center? Let’s talk! There may be a home for you at the Innovation Center.


Third, the Innovation Center will be a place of outreach to a beautifully diverse population. The area northeast of Denver is surprisingly diverse, with a few major companies operating factories and plants there. It is a growing area, and judging by the housing market in that area, the economy there seems about ready to explode (in a good way).


Speaking of housing – that will be one of our greatest challenges: to provide housing opportunities for students. While the opportunity is significant, so is the cost. We ask that you consider how you might prayerfully support our efforts there in providing opportunities for our students. If you can help in any way let us know!


Finally, the Innovation Center will give us opportunities to launch innovative mission-supporting programs, complementing and aiding our efforts in Kansas City. We expect that the Innovation Center will help us grow and sustain the quality we need in order to best serve our students in both of our locations.  We are excited about this second location for Calvary University, and we ask you to keep us in prayer as we strive to be excellent stewards with this unique opportunity. And if you have a pair of gloves or a few expendable dollars, come on! We could use your help…

President’s Update: What is an Innovation Center???

Calvary University Acquires Colorado Property to Launch Innovation Center

FORT MORGAN, CO: Calvary University formally acquired the former middle school in Fort Morgan, Colorado, as closing was finalized on Tuesday, January 16. Calvary officials had been working for several months with Morgan County School District leaders to complete the transaction, and both groups are excited about Calvary’s new presence in the Fort Morgan area.

Calvary plans to develop the 7.5-acre property and the 130,000 square-foot building to house the Calvary University Innovation Center, which will be designed to facilitate collaboration between Calvary’s academic programs, local businesses and ministries, and the community as a whole. Calvary University will be reaching out to businesses and ministries who might have interest in housing their offices at the Innovation Center, as a way of connecting students with real-world community partners with whom students can serve and grow.

Calvary University’s mission is “to prepare Christians to live and serve in the church and in the world according to the biblical worldview,” and is built on four distinctives: (1) the Bible as the foundation of its courses and programs, (2) high quality programs at an affordable cost, (3) highly marketable degrees for its graduates, and (4) an environment for growth and not just learning. Calvary University offers more than 60 degrees through its online global campus and its main campus in Kansas City, Missouri, and Calvary plans to highlight several of those at the Innovation Center (including undergraduate and graduate programs in Bible and theology, biblical counseling, and business administration and organizational leadership, and an undergraduate emphasis in intercultural studies). Calvary also plans to develop new programs in Colorado based on community need and in cooperation with Morgan Community College.

Calvary University President, Dr. Christopher Cone sees this move as significant for Calvary’s future growth and service: “We are thrilled with this opportunity to be part of the Fort Morgan community, and we have already begun the process of developing collaboration with Morgan Community College and other community partners. Even though those discussions are just beginning we are thankful for the new relationships being formed, and for the chance to work beside those already working hard to serve the people of Colorado. We hope and pray that Calvary University will be a blessing there, and we will work hard to ensure that happens.”


Calvary’s Innovation Center will be led by Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Jeff Campa, who is in the process of relocating from Kansas City to the Fort Morgan area. Campa wants Calvary’s Innovation Center to be a place for students, for community partners, and for the community itself to feel at home and to flourish. Campa added, “This move gives Calvary a platform to complement the rich heritage of this facility in serving the Fort Morgan Community”

While Calvary is now beginning a process of development and approvals, Campa is working for a Fall 2018 launch for the Innovation Center.

For comment or questions, please contact Jeff Campa at or Dr. Christopher Cone at