Adventist (SDA) Church, and registered under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to operate as a private University and, as such, does not receive any government grants. As a senior College, the first set of Bachelor of Arts degrees in Theology were awarded under its own name in 1966. ACWA made history in 1975 by becoming the premier institution to sign and operate an affiliation agreement with Andrews University, Berrien Springs Michigan, USA. This relationship enabled it to train students and award Bachelors degrees from Andrews University, primarily in Biology, Business Administration, Theology, and Religion with minors in Biblical Languages, Biology, Business Administration, History, Religion and Secretarial Studies. Also, in 1975, the name Adventist Seminary of West Africa (ASWA), was adopted in response to the dynamics of its socio-political environment.
The four B.A. programs were run until 1983 when restricting local factors necessitated the phasing out of the B.A. programs in Biology and Business Administration. In 1988, ASWA reached the second milestone in its academic history in an affiliation agreement with the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary of Andrews University which authorized the college to offer the M.A. in Pastoral Ministry (by extension). The M.A. Religion program was later added in 1990. Both programs were upgraded from part-time to resident status in 1992 but later reverted to summer sessions again in 1997 due to the unsuccessful search for qualified full-time teaching staff. A stop-gap measure was meanwhile taken to afford national recognition for its status and programs by way of the institution’s request for a local Affiliation agreement with the University of Ibadan (UI) under the name “Babcock College”. The request was still clearing the tedious hurdles of UI administrative process when BU got its own accreditation on April 20, 1999.
A major bridge crossed by the institution in its quest for a charter as Babcock University, was the Accreditation Visit by a team from the National Universities Commission (NUC), representing government, the first of its kind ever in the history of the nation.
This was in response to the application of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nigeria, for the establishment of a private tertiary institution with diverse programs ranging from the Arts to various science disciplines, technology and medicine. The Certificate of Registration No. 002 was handed over to the President of the Africa-Indian Ocean Division of Seventh-day Adventists, pioneer BU Chancellor and Chairman of the University Council, Pastor Luka T. Daniel, at a May 10, 1999 public ceremony in the Conference Hall of the National Universities Commission in Abuja, presided over by the Honorable Minister of Education, Sam Olaiya Oni. The University was formally inaugurated by the Proprietors on June 17, 1999, in the presence of various ecclesiastical, governmental, diplomatic corps and local community leaders and dignitaries, including the Minister of Education, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Registrar of the Joint Admissions & Matriculations Board, Secretary-General of the National Council on Education.
Babcock University finally opened its gates to welcome the premier intake of 1006 students on September 13, 1999 and Prof. Jan Paulsen, General Conference (GC) President and world leader of Seventh-day Adventist Church, in his official capacity as Visitor to the University presided over the maiden Matriculations Ceremony on January 28, 2000.