Our History

Grand View continues to this day to engage, equip, and empower its students to fulfill their individual potential and serve society. We are committed to the development of the whole person and to preparing students for successful careers and responsible citizenship both in their communities and in a diverse and changing world.

Timeline of Events





  • Grand View receives Lilly Endowment grant of nearly $1 million to establish The Moses Project, designed to provide a professional development program for rural pastors who are in the early stages of their careers. 
  • Grand View University and Des Moines Area Community College announce a 3+1 pathway for DMACC nursing graduates.
  • The Grand View Views Forward Project starts a community garden on land next to campus so individuals living and working in the neighborhood have space to grow fresh food. 



  • Dr. Carl Moses appointed Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.


  • The Jensen Bridge is a 156 foot skywalk over East 14th Street and connects the Student Center to the Rasmussen Center. The skywalk is the longest freestanding skywalk in the city of Des Moines. Watch the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  • The Viking Events Center, a state-of-the art wrestling facility opens.


  • What was once a street through the heart of campus, the Grand Central Plaza opened as a direct walkway for students to get around campus.


  • With the addition of graduate programs, Grand View College was renamed Grand View University.
  • Grand View added the following athletic programs: football and wrestling.
  • Located on the prominent corner of Grandview Avenue and East 14th Street in Des Moines, the Rasmussen Center opened. The 40,000 square foot facility houses several academic programs including the following departments: Art and Graphic Design, Education, Psychology, Sociology, History, and Political Science.


  • The Charles S. Johnson Wellness Center is an impressive structure that houses the nursing division, a double court multipurpose gymnasium, wrestling room, a 1/10 mile track, a full weight room and more. The gymnasium is part of the Wellness Center and the building attaches to Knudsen Residence Hall.


  • Kent Henning became Grand View’s 13th president. Henning retired in 2022.


  • The renovation of Old Main on the Grand View University campus is on the National Register of Historic Places and includes new mechanical and electrical systems, installation of a new elevator and third-story structural support. Old Main was renamed Humphrey Center and now houses the administrative offices on campus.


  • 100 year centennial celebrated with a reenactment of Grand View in 1896.


  • While workmen were installing cables for a computer network, workmen discovered Bud, the Grand View mascot of an earlier day, buried beneath some 18 inches of dirt on the south side of the building.


  • A legendary landmark fell to the wrecker’s ball when the gymnasium, built in 1910, was demolished.


  • 5,000 square foot addition to the Library and now contains 100,000 books and 800 periodical subscriptions. It also provides an electronic collection and online research access.


  • Nursing was the first baccalaureate program at Grand View.


  • Grand View College became a fully accredited four-year college.


  • The Theological seminary was relocated to Maywood, Illinois, a suburb in Chicago, and was renamed Lutheran School of Theology of Chicago.


  • Granted full accreditation of the College by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools as a private junior college.


  • Dr. Ernest D. Nielsen was named president. His tenure was to last 20 years, the longest period of any president in the history of the College to date.


  • Campers aged 12 through 15 from Midwestern congregations of the Church came to the College for a week with what was called Junior Camp.


  • The long-running game of hide-and-seek with Bud the Bird, a 33-inch tall, 200-or-so-pound cast iron eagle statue became a long-standing tradition for students in the school’s own version of “capture the flag.”


  • New east wing on Old Main was built following an extensive fire.


  • Pastor Jen Jorgensen of Kimballton, Iowa, gifted a drinking fountain in memory of his wife.


  • Grand View began to offer junior college subjects.


  • Grand View College opened a fully accredited academy or high school.


  • Booker T. Washington spoke at Grand View on a Saturday evening telling of a trip he had made to Denmark and of his work at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He voiced the hope that enlightenment would eventually solve the race problem.


  • A notable gift came in the form of a stained glass window depicting the coat of arms of the Danish kingdom.


  • The College Anthem was sung for the first time in honor of the dedication of Old Main.


  • When re-sodding the lawn of what was then Old Main (now Humphrey Center), students placed the rock on the lawn directly in front of Old Main’s entrance. Students traditionally paint the rock in the darkness of the night whenever students feel the urge to express themselves. The rock is also sometimes used to announce campus events, and at least on one occasion, has been used to propose marriage. 


  • The long-standing tradition of Studenterfest, similar to a homecoming festival, began.
  • The first graduate of Grand View College was Soren Damsgaard Rodholm.


  • 200 trees were planted on campus.


  • R.R. Vestergaard named as the first president of Grand View College.


  • Grand View College was founded by members of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


  • Des Moines became the state capital of Iowa.


  • Iowa became the 29th state in the Union.