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History of IMU

History of IMU

Mary Phelan and Charlotte Pritt

Mary Phelan and Charlotte Pritt at an important IMU meeting!

The idea for IMU really started in 2001 when IMU co- founder Deborah Lindsey found herself combing the globe looking for legitimate, high-quality metaphysical education. At the time, mainstream colleges rarely went beyond a degree in psychology, religion, or philosophy. Metaphysics or consciousness was nowhere to be found. The internet was new and so online schools were largely non-existent.

The best to be found at the time were distance education programs. These schools, which were basically mail order schools, were the cutting edge at the time and offered a wonderful avenue for learning. But the mail order format and the abbreviated learning style left a lot to be desired. A need for a school that met mainstream credentials with top quality instructors that included student/teacher interaction and student/student interaction was still obvious.

Kelly Weary is Communications Director for the International Metaphysical University

Kelly Weary, working hard, as usual

And thus the seeds for IMU began simmering under the surface.

Then in 2003, after two years of running The Self-Health and Awareness Center, a metaphysical healing and spiritual development center in Vienna, WV, Deborah held a meeting to discuss the idea. The meeting included Rev. Randy Hastings and Self-Health and Awareness Co-Founder Joe Fielder, among others. At the time, ideas were discussed to actually start a brick and mortar school for metaphysics.

The idea, however, was overwhelming. Details of funding, accreditation, curriculum development, quickly overrode the enthusiasm to get the school up and running and the idea was quickly tabled.

IMU founding teammates Sandy Vickers and Charlotte Pritt pose with Santa Claus.

IMU founding teammates Sandy Vickers and Charlotte Pritt pose with Santa Claus.

On one particular night, Deborah found herself sitting at her computer contemplating the idea and its sheer enormity once more.  In the midst of it, she threw up her hands and looked to the heavens and said, “God if you want me to do this, I will but you’ve got to bring me everything I need. I can’t push this puppy uphill by myself!” Seems like God was listening on that particular night.

As if on cue, Deborah, Joe, and Randy were soon invited to participate as members of the Advisory Board at Hocking College in Nelsonville, OH. They were starting a program in Holistic Health and needed specialized help in doing so. So over the course of the next two years, the three worked with a team of others to create the program. When all was said and done, the program was fantastic! It was only an associates degree, but it was a cutting edge degree with fantastic potential. Unfortunately, once the program moved out of the design stage into the development stage, it simply didn’t translate and the program died in under two years.


The process of creating a program was however pivitol to the creation of IMU. We now knew how to create a program and we knew what wouldn’t work and why.  We also knew that traditional academia could leave a lot to be desired and that there was something to be said for  having a passion for what you do.

Shortly thereafter, Deborah met another pivotal person in Sandy Vickers. Sandy had shown up to enjoy some training at the Self-Health and Awareness Center. After the class, she and Deborah had a conversation in which she said the now famous words, “I can put this class online for you….”

IMU founding Dean Susan Rawlings

Founding Dean Susan Rawlings looking stunning as usual

That conversation led to a meeting with Sandy her business partner Tim Wiblin (who passed away less than 3 months later).

Within a few short weeks, a top-notch team was assembled. Deborah invited Randy Hastings (Shamanism), Mary Phelan (Intuitive Arts), Charlotte Pritt (Holistic Health), and Susan Sheppard (Paranormal Studies) to join the team as founding deans.  Within a few months, Susan Rawlings joined the team as the decision was made to add Ufology to the mix, Janet Decker took on the Consciousness Studies program, and Kelly Weary joined the team in the role of Communications Director.

Janet Decker, Dean of the Consciousness Studies Program at IMU

Janet pondering deep metaphysical thoughts

The team was complete and they were, by all accounts, spectacular.  Everyone was exactly where they were supposed to be, doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing and we all knew it. It was one of the most exciting times of our lives.

For the next seven months, we worked tirelessly (with no money by the way) to create the school of our dreams. We came together in “summits” as we chose decided on classes, invited instructors, and created processes. Six programs were developed from Associates through Doctorate.  The “dream team” created a school that was meant to change the world.

Randy Hastings leads the opening ceremony for IMU.

Randy Hastings leads the opening ceremony for IMU.

On November 4, 2009, we officially opened our doors to students. We made a pilgrimage to a local Adena Mound and held and opening ceremony, which was led by Rev. Randy Hastings. The ceremony was extraordinary as sacred mists settled in all around us on this cool November day.

At the time, the founding deans and co- founder Deborah Lindsey were granted doctorate degrees from IMU honoring their contributions to the development of the school.

One week later, on November 11, 2009, Rev. Randy Hastings died suddenly. With Randy’s passing, the energy of the school changed.  Like all great projects, the pendulum swung and we hit a rough patch. We experienced huge learning curves and all of the other difficulties of birth.  In the process, many of our original members were drawn in other directions.  We miss them but remain eternally grateful for the part they have played in creating the International Metaphysical University.

Susan Sheppard is an instructor of astrology at the International Metaphysical University, an online college that offers degrees in metaphysics

Susan Sheppard looking mysterious…

With the turmoil, came great opportunity. The remaining team members ( Janet Decker, Kelly Weary, Sandy Vickers, and Deborah Lindsey) came together in a new way with a deep conviction to make IMU everything it could be. New roles were assigned and everyone buckled down to get to work. The vision was becoming clearer. The evident weaknesses were addressed at the end of the day, IMU was a lean, mean machine!

Since that time, IMU has culled the myriad programs down into a single Masters degree with several majors . This centralization is meant to fast-track the path to accreditation and help to control the speed at which the university grows. We still have great visions of growing into our original vision but for now we are quite pleased to create this amazing Masters program in Metaphysics.


As for the future? Well, we have great plans. Ideas to create a program in Conscious Business, to introduce a Doctorate degree program that introduces top quality research to validate fields like Holistic Healing and Consciousness Studies, to hold conferences where students come together… the list goes on and on.

And so now, we wake up each day and put one foot in front of the other, moving IMU into the future. Our present is quickly becomes our history as we continue each and every day to move the school forward to fulfill the early promise of creating something relevant, meaningful and sustaining in the world. We like to think that we are fulfilling our own destinies as we fulfill the destiny inherent in this school.

We welcome you to be a part of it.