Southwest Baptist University

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Bolivar, Missouri is home to Southwest Baptist University (SBU), a Baptist institution of higher learning that is private. The Missouri Baptist Convention, which is a component of the Southern Baptist Convention, is the organisation with which it is linked. It had a total enrolment of 3,280 students in 2019, all of whom were taking classes at one of SBU's four campuses located in the state of Missouri: Bolivar, Mountain View, Salem, or Springfield.

Southwest Baptist College was established in the year 1878 in the city of Lebanon, Missouri, by Abner S. Ingman and James R. Maupin. At the beginning of its existence, the Lebanon campus had a total of sixty pupils and six teachers. After one year, the city made the decision that it was no longer interested in having the institution there. After hearing that the college will be relocating, the municipalities of Aurora, Monett, and Bolivar in southwest Missouri made an effort to entice the institution to relocate to their areas. The school received its charter from the state of Missouri in 1879, after which it relocated to the town of Bolivar in the same year. In the early half of the twentieth century, the institution had a great deal of financial difficulty.

In 2015, Southwest Baptist University received approval from the Department of Education for an exemption to Title IX, which paves the way for the university to discriminate against LGBT students on the basis of their religious beliefs.

It was put on probation by its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, in November 2021 for failing to comply with several requirements relating to effective leadership, academic freedom, and governance.