Mississippi College

Mississippi College
Motto Veritas et Virtus
Motto in English
Truth and Virtue
Type Private
Established January 24, 1826
Affiliation Baptist
Endowment $60,716,982[1]
President Lee Royce
Students 5,152
Undergraduates 3,200[1]
Postgraduates 1,310 graduate students
550 law students
Location Clinton, Mississippi, U.S.
32°20′9″N 90°19′53″W / 32.33583°N 90.33139°W / 32.33583; -90.33139Coordinates: 32°20′9″N 90°19′53″W / 32.33583°N 90.33139°W / 32.33583; -90.33139
Campus Suburban
320 acre (3 km²)
Colors Blue and Gold[2]
Athletics NCAA Division IIGulf South[3]
Sports 16 varsity teams
Nickname Choctaws
Affiliations Mississippi Baptist Convention
Website www.mc.edu

Mississippi College is a Christian university located in Clinton, Mississippi, just west of the capital city of Jackson. Founded in 1826, MC is the second-oldest Baptist-affiliated college in the United States and the oldest college in Mississippi. With more than 5,000 students, Mississippi College is the largest private university in the state.



In June, 1832, Mississippi College granted its first degrees. Shortly threreafter, the college was divided into a female and a male department, each having its own faculty. The female department appeared to prosper more than its male counterpart. The curriculum for women in 1837 included Latin, Greek, French, music and art. The male department fell on hard times, and in 1837 the entire faculty in that department resigned because funds were not available to pay their salaries. It is believed the school closed briefly in 1839, but reopened in February, 1840, with an entirely new faculty. When the state finally passed legislation locating a state university in Oxford, the trustees abandoned hope of state support and began to look for denominational backing for the college.


Provine Chapel

On January 24, 1826, the college received its first charter, signed by Mississippi Gov. David Holmes. In 1827 the name was changed from Hampstead Academy to Mississippi Academy at the request of the Board of Trustees.[5] On December 18, 1830, having become a college, the name was changed to Mississippi College. It offered degrees in arts, sciences and languages.[6]

As a private institution in 1831, Mississippi College became the first coeducational college in the United States to grant a degree to a woman. That year it granted degrees to two women, Alice Robinson and Catherine Hall.[6][7]

In the beginning Mississippi College was not church-related. For a number of years, it was affiliated with the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. Since 1850, Mississippi College has been affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Board of Trustees oversees the institution.[6]

Civil War and reconstruction

The Civil War was a turbulent time for Mississippi College: its endowment was destroyed, its student body disbanded and its buildings deteriorated. Many students joined with faculty, a school trustee and townspeople to form the Mississippi College Rifles during the war years or signed up with other units.[6]

In the half-century after the war the college enrollment and campus slowly recovered, but its neglected buildings were not significantly damaged by the war. College President Walter Hillman helped refurbish the buildings by securing Northern financing prior to being offered the college presidency.[8] The endowment fund was renewed and the physical structures were renovated.[6]

From 1911 through 1932 the college prospered, seeing the completion of the Provine Science Building as well as Lowrey Hall, Alumni Hall and Farr-Hall Hospital, among others. The college endowment grew to $500,000 and in 1922, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approved accreditation for the college. Enrollment reached 400 students.[6]

World War II and later 20th century

In 1942, Mississippi College purchased and absorbed all-female Hillman College. A new Nelson Hall administration building was erected in 1948, and new residence halls were built.[6]

Nelson Hall

In 1943, MC was among 131 colleges and universities nationwide taking part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy Commission. During the V-12 period, the Navy had exclusive use of Chrestman, Alumni Hall and the cafeteria. The last surge of construction during this era was a building for a growing fine arts program and a library. The war years saw enrollment in the 550-600 range. With veterans returning from World War II, enrollment increased. There were 1,000 students by 1950 and there were 1,581 students by Fall 1956.[6]

From 1957 through 1968 the college built the B.C. Rogers Student Center, Hederman Science Building, Self Hall and a pair of residence halls. Provine Chapel was restored. The School of Nursing began in 1969. With the coming of the School of Law in 1975, when MC purchased the former Jackson School of Law, the college took another step toward a university structure. In 1975, the division of business became the School of Business. In 1977 the division of education became the School of Education. In 1982, twelve remaining departments were grouped into the College of Arts and Sciences.[6]

In May 1992 MC absorbed Clarke College after the smaller school was forced to close due to declining enrollments. Throughout the 1990s the college renovated and expanded: work was carried out on the library, electronic media center, Cockroft Hall (for the School of Nursing), A.E. Wood Coliseum, the Law School building in downtown Jackson, the New Men's Residence Hall, the New Women's Residence Hall, Jennings Hall and Latimer House (a Victorian house later used for alumni receptions).[6]

21st century

From 2002 to 2015 the college's enrollment grew from 3,227 to 5,152, an increase of 60%. The number includes a record of 618 freshmen.

The number of international students rose from nine to a record 505 students from more than two dozen nations in Fall 2015.

The college added a physician assistant program in 2011, becoming the first institution in Mississippi to offer such a degree. MC now offers doctorates in educational leadership and professional counseling.[6]

MC emphasizes public service. In 2011-2012 students, faculty and staff performed more than 45,000 hours of community service at 153 different agencies, while the campus hosted Centrifuge and Super Summer camps.[6]


Since its beginning, Mississippi College has had 23 presidents/principals, including three interim presidents.[9] The first three presidents were known as Principals, before changing the official title to President.

  • F. G. Hopkins (1826 to 1828)
  • Daniel Comfort (1828 to 1834)
  • N. Shepherd (1835 to 1836)
  • E. N. Elliott (1836 to 1837)
  • Daniel Comfort (1837 to 1841)
  • Alexander Campbell (Jan. to April 1842)
  • Alexander Campbell (1842 to 1844)
  • Interim Robert McLain (1844 to 1845)
  • Daniel Comfort (1845 to 1846)
  • Simeon Colton (1846 to 1848)
  • Consider Parish (1848 to 1850)
  • Isaac Newton Urner (1850 to 1867)
  • Walter Hillman (1867 to 1873)
  • Warren Sheldon Webb (1873 to 1891)
  • Robert Abram Venable (1891 to 1895)
  • John William Provine (1895 to 1897)
  • John William Provine (1897 to 1898)
  • William Tyndale Lowrey (1898 to 1911)
  • John William Provine (1911 to 1932)
  • Dotson McGinnis Nelson (1932 to 1957)
  • Richard Aubrey McLemore (1957 to 1968)
  • Lewis Nobles (1968 to 1993)
  • Interim Rory Lee (1993 to 1994)
  • Howell W. Todd (1994 to 2001)
  • Interim Lloyd Roberts (2001 to 2002)
  • Lee G. Royce (2002 to present)


Mississippi College’s main campus in Clinton sits on more than 80 acres. The Mississippi College School of Law is located in downtown Jackson, just blocks from the Mississippi capitol. Classes are also offered on Saturday mornings.[10]

Notable buildings at Mississippi College include its historic Provine Chapel that opened in 1860 and is the oldest building on the Clinton campus. During the Civil War, U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant used it as a hospital for his wounded troops and reports say it was also used as a stable for his horses. Opened in 1926, Alumni Hall houses a gymnasium used for intramural basketball games, and a large pool used for water aerobics by students, faculty and staff. Built in 1948, Nelson Hall serves as the university’s administration building and contains Swor Auditorium, the venue for concerts and other musical performances. Aven Hall houses the recitals at the Jean Pittman Williams Recital Hall and some theatre performances in the Aven Little Theater. The Samuel Marshall Gore Galleries hosts some of the finest art pieces from the state, region and around the nation.[10]

The A.E. Wood Coliseum is used for MC Choctaws basketball games as well as serving as the site for university graduations. Self Hall houses the MC School of Business and Lowrey Hall, the former MC library, serves as the home of the School of Education. The modern Leland Speed Library houses books, audiotapes, computers, study rooms, meeting rooms and its Learning Resources Center that includes studios for the Department of Communication to videotape events on campus. A new 20,000-square-foot medical sciences building opened in January 2013 contains a cadaver lab, research facilities and new classrooms with the latest technology to prepare students for medical and dental schools. The 106,000-square-foot Baptist Healthplex serves the health and fitness needs of faculty, staff, students, alumni and Jackson area residents. The Healthplex also contains medical offices serving the community and is home of MC’s Physician Assistant Program. The School of Law building in downtown Jackson serves more than 500 law students each year. Cockroft Hall houses the nursing and kinesiology departments. The B.C. Rogers Student Center includes the campus cafeteria, meeting rooms for large functions, such as Anderson Hall, and office space for organizations including the Baptist Student Union. The 8,500-seat Robinson-Hale Stadium is the home field for MC Choctaws football games and track meets on the Clinton campus.[10]

New facilities like the Rice Baseball Field House located at Frierson Field provide locker rooms, offices for coaches, and storage space to enhance MC’s baseball team that returns to Gulf South Conference competition in February 2015.

New University Place residence halls opened in August 2015 to accommodate 189 students. Cost of the eight modern brick units was $16 million. The facilities represent the first new residence hall construction in nearly 20 years on the Clinton campus.


Schools and departments

The School of Education includes the Department of Kinesiology, the Department of Psychology and Counseling, the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership, and the Dyslexia Center. The School of Business located in Self Hall has four main departments (accounting, finance, management, and marketing) at the undergraduate and graduate levels; The School of Christian Studies and the Arts includes the Department of Art, the Department of Christian Studies and Philosophy, the Department of Communication and the Department of Music.[11]

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences spans the Department of English, the Department of Modern Languages, the Department of History and Political Science, and the Department of Sociology and Social Work; The School of Science and Mathematics includes the Department of Biological Science, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Department of Computer Science and Physics, the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. The School of Nursing is based at Cockcroft Hall on the Clinton campus. The MC School of Law serves more than 400 students on East Griffith Street in downtown Jackson. Overall, Mississippi College consists of more than 80 academic programs.[11]

Students in the premedical program are the only undergraduate students in the country able to take medical school board exams (also called "shelf exams"). These exams, written by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), are taken at the end of each medical school course. Because MC teaches many Biology courses at medical school level, the NBME has allowed MC to give those board exams to our students. Top MBME Board scores for MC students are above the 90th percentile. The 20,000 square-foot Hederman Medical Science extension opened in 2013 and features a wet cadaver lab that is available to undergraduate students via the Gross Anatomy course. The Department of Biological Sciences sends nearly 100 graduates to medical school and dental school each year. [12]

The Physician Assistant Program enrolls 94 students. The program received continuing national accreditation through March 2021. The doctorate in professional counseling, the first of its type in the USA, enrolls 120 students.

In addition to electrical engineering that began for about 25 undergraduates in August 2015, MC’s newest array of academic programs includes: graduate degrees in health informatics and graphic design as well as bachelor's degrees in worship leadership and early childhood education.

The MC student/faculty ratio is 14:1.[10] The average ACT score for incoming freshmen is 24.

Notable programs

Launched in May 2011, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies serves 90 graduate students.[13] One-of-a-kind in Mississippi, the MC program works with the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, federal clinics and other medical facilities to train professionals to serve under the supervision of physicians to meet critical healthcare shortages in the state and nation.[13] MC’s newest doctorates include educational leadership and professional counseling. MC’s School of Law in Jackson serves students from around the South, other parts of the U.S. and others from around the globe.[14] Serving more than 200 graduate students, the university’s master’s in medical sciences program prepares students from around the USA and Canada to gain admission into medical and dental schools.

Since its inception in June 1984, the Mississippi College Administration of Justice Program has provided its students with exceptional faculty members from diverse backgrounds who help students develop the necessary critical thinking skills to compete in the multi-faceted world of criminal justice. Since June 1984, the Mississippi College Administration of Justice Program has had over 250 Bachelor of Science graduates as well as 70 graduates in the Master of Social Science Program. [15] The Administration of Justice Online Program is ranked among the best nationally. [16]

Mississippi College’s Writing Center assists undergraduate and graduate students with their writing from any discipline, at any stage of the writing process. Through collaborative discussions between student writers and peer tutors in an encouraging environment, the Writing Center creates a safe, supportive academic community—a community that welcomes everyone, develops writing and thinking skills, cultivates ideas, and builds writers’ confidence. [17]


Mississippi College competes in NCAA Division II as a member of the Gulf South Conference.[18] The college sponsors teams in football, basketball (men's and women's), baseball, softball, tennis (men's & women's), golf (men's & women's), soccer (women's), volleyball, track and field (men's outdoor & women's indoor & outdoor), cross country running (men's & women's), equestrian (women's), and table tennis (men's & women's).[19]

The MC men’s soccer team advanced to the championship games of the National Christian College Athletic Association in Fall 2014 with some of its outstanding players named to the group’s All-American team. Founded in 1968, the group represents at least 111 Christian institutions of higher learning across America and Canada.

In 2015, the women's soccer team advanced to the championship game of the National Christian College Athletic Association, losing in penalty kicks after battling to a draw with Houghton College.[20]

From 2012 through 2014, MC’s table tennis team ended the season ranked No. 2 among the more than 150 colleges playing the Olympic sport in the USA and Canada. Mississippi College won the 2015 National Collegiate Coed Team Championship in table tennis.[21]

The university’s equestrian team based at Central Mississippi’s 2,000-acre Providence Hill Farm has ranked among the best in the South since taking up the sport in 2008. The farm was utilized in 2014 as the site of a movie about a young girl’s love for horses to help her cope with her grief after her mother’s death. MC became the first college in the state to field an archery team in Fall 2014. The university’s bass fishing and sporting clays squads also began a couple of years ago and take part in regional and national competitions.

Mississippi College athletic teams began the transition to NCAA Division II and rejoined the Gulf South Conference based in Birmingham, Alabama in Fall 2014.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. 1 2 "College Compass". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report. 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  2. http://www.mc.edu/identity/style-guide/
  3. In transition from Division III American Southwest Conference
  4. NAICU – Member Directory
  5. 1 2 McLemore, Richard Aubrey (1973). A History of Mississippi. 1. Hattiesburg, Mississippi: University & College Press of Mississippi. p. 361. ISBN 0878050132.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "History". Mississippi College: About MC. Mississippi College. 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  7. Cooper, Forrest Lamar (2011). Looking Back Mississippi: Towns and Places. University Press of Mississippi. p. 23. ISBN 9781617031489.
  8. Howell, Walter. (2014). Town and Gown: The Saga of Clinton and Mississippi College. Clinton: Privately printed by McNaughton & Gunn. pp. 149-150. email: walter-howell@comcast.net
  9. "Presidents of the University". Mississippi College: Catalog. Mississippi College. 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  10. 1 2 3 4 "Mississippi College At a Glance". Mississippi College: About MC. Mississippi College. 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  11. 1 2 "Schools and Departments". Mississippi College: Academics. Mississippi College. 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  12. http://www.mc.edu/academics/majors/undergraduate/biology/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. 1 2 "Physician Assistant Program". Mississippi College: Physician Assistant Program. Mississippi College. 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  14. "Mississippi College School of Law". Mississippi College. Mississippi College. 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  15. http://www.mc.edu/academics/departments/history/administration-of-justice/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/degrees/masters-programs/best-online-masters-in-criminal-justice/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. mc.edu https://www.mc.edu/academics/departments/english/writing-center/. Retrieved 23 June 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. "American Southwest Conference: ASC Schools". American Southwest Conference. American Southwest Conference. 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  19. "Official Site of Mississippi College Choctaws". Gochoctaws.com. Mississippi College. 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  20. "Houghton College Goes to PKs to Win DI National Women's Soccer Championship". Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  21. "2015 TMS College Table Tennis Coed Team Championships". Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  22. Brown, Adam (February 2011). "Representative J. Andrew Gipson, Mississippi House of Representatives". Adam Brown, BYU political Science. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  23. "Edgar Godbold". lahistory.org. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  24. "Biography". Congressman Gregg Harper. 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  25. "Former Miss. First Lady Carroll Waller dies at 87". Mississippi News Now. 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2014-11-27.
  26. http://www.mc.edu/news/mississippi-college-family-remembers-author-barry-hannah/

Further reading

Wikisource has the text of the 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article Mississippi College.
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