In the fall of 1912, the Iowa Inter-Conference Commission met to consider a proposal by Rev. Elias Handy that “a student pastor be placed in each of our state schools.” The next year, Rev. William Hints was appointed as pastor to the students at Ames. His headquarters were at First Methodist Church–two miles from the campus. Bible study classes and other fellowship groups were held on campus in Alumni Hall.
Rev. Hints continued to remind the Commission of the great need for a church and student center more in the vicinity of the campus. In 1916, Campus Methodist Church was organized. (It would later be formally named Collegiate United Methodist Church.) In 1917, the Wesley Foundation of Iowa was incorporated, providing financial support to the campus ministry from all the Methodist churches in Iowa. Iowa State University was the second campus in the country to have a Methodist student program supported in this way. To this day, the Wesley Foundation at ISU continues to be one of only two Wesley Foundations in the country that share building and staff with a local congregation.
In the beginning, only a temporary Wesley Hall was constructed. The cornerstone for the current sanctuary was laid in October, 1925, with the dedication of the completed building held on June 6, 1926. A wood frame building affectionately known as “The Shack” provided educational and fellowship space until the south and west wings were completed in 1955-56. The property to the west of the main building, formerly Campus Baptist Church, was purchased in 1999 and is now known as The Annex. The entire main building was renovated and expanded in recent years, including the addition of a new north wing of the building.