Andrews University enrolls more than 3,400 students annually from most of the 50 states and nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. Several thousand additional students study at off-campus locations both nationally and abroad. "U.S. News and World Report" ranks Andrews tied for second in the nation for campus ethnic diversity and tied for seventh in highest percentage of international students (compared to other national universities, according to "U.S. News & World Report" 2015 Best Colleges edition). Andrews has more than 90,000 alumni worldwide.

Andrews University was established more than a century ago, in 1874, as Battle Creek College in Battle Creek, Michigan. It offered a collegiate program with literature, languages, science, mathematics, teacher training and theology. The founders, visionaries of the young Seventh-day Adventist denomination, believed they should use every avenue to spread the gospel and serve the world, including higher education.

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination was, and continues to be, a strong believer in world mission work. John Nevins Andrews, the namesake of Andrews University, was a former Adventist Church president and the denomination’s first official missionary to serve outside North America. In the early 1900s a steady stream of missionaries headed out, and soon the American mission fields prior to the 1880s were joining the U.S. as the new Adventist homelands. The Germans took responsibility for Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and Russia, the Swedes for Ethiopia, the British for East and West Africa, and the Australians for Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Jamaica, too, sent missionaries; one of them, C.E.F. Thompson, went to Ghana.

Many of those converted by the early missionaries desired to continue their education in the United States and came to then Battle Creek College and Emanuel Missionary College. Thus began the rich tradition of international students attending Andrews University.