Where did Bakke Graduate University get its name?
Bakke Graduate University was founded by the Urban Associates of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (Lausanne Movement) through key visionary leaders in Seattle, throughout the world and within the Bakke family.
After an extensive survey of these Lausanne leaders in 2003, it was determined that the school needed to have three colleges: 1. urban studies, 2. business and 3. Christian theology, with a strong emphasis on women’s leadership in each college. The survey found that the university should be specifically designed to have students in these diverse pursuits to study together to learn the skills they need to facilitate these three sectors to work together to transform cities. This was recognized as a significant challenge since leaders in these three areas often have very different gifts, perspectives, pacing, and language. The naming consultants recognized this fact by recommending that the school should be named “Paradox University.” However, they also said that the initiative had engaged the Bakke family which had the exact paradox demonstrated in four siblings in their family:
Ray Bakke – a globally respected urban leader and key leader of the Lausanne Urban Associates and author of several books widely used in urban leadership
Dennis Bakke – co-founder of AES, a $40 billion market cap energy company with 40,000 employees in 36 nations that overtly stated its Christian values and author of the NYT bestseller, Joy at Work.
Lowell Bakke – a pastor who emphasized church gathered/church scattered well ahead of the time this was widely practiced
Marilyn Bakke – a women leader and Bible teacher who pioneered key roles in women’s leadership
The Bakke family expressed their discomfort with their name on a University since they preferred to serve without public recognition. Yet, they recognized the importance of the school with this vision having a story to tell of four leaders in four diverse careers in one family. They agreed to allow their unique family “paradoxical story” to be shared in the name of the University and served in significant leadership roles during the first 15 years of the schools founding.
Bakke Graduate University is now most often referred to as BGU since as a global university, the www.bgu.edu moniker allows it to more easily be found on the internet. While most current BGU students do not personally know members of the Bakke family, they are inspired by their story and the vision of studying together as one family with other students, faculty and graduates from over 65 nations serving in urban ministry, pastoral, business, government, and NGO roles.