Corban University & Graduate School began in 1935 as Phoenix Bible Institute in Arizona. The school relocated to California in 1946, and in 1969 moved to Salem, where it purchased the former Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital property.

Governor Tom McCall was instrumental in arriving at the final agreement, and he personally signed the contract on the site. The college purchased 100 acres for $750,000, and a down payment was agreed upon with no payments due for one year. The $5,000 down payment figure was incorporated in its address: 5000 Deer Park Drive Southeast. Since 1970, more than $20 million has been invested in the site to add a road (Warrior Drive), athletic fields, the C.E. Jeffers Sports Center, parking areas, three residence halls, and a performing arts center. In 2005, the institution changed its name from Western Baptist College to Corban Collegea biblical word meaning "a gift dedicated to God"—to reflect the college's expanded outreach. It became Corban University in 2010.

Three thousand Corban alumni have remained in Oregon, contributing to the state’s churches and communities, including State Representative Sherrie Sprenger (Dist. 17), Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell, and Diane Moore, Executive Director for Healthy Families International; the college’s effect on the regional economy is more than $50 million a year. 

Corban is an independent Christian university with more than 50 majors and programs of study, including professional, liberal arts, and ministries. Along with undergraduate and adult degree completion programs, Corban offers post-baccalaureate teacher licensure and graduate degrees in education, business administration, and counseling. The student population is 1,025 with a student/faculty ratio of 13 to 1.