Berea College
Official Logo of Berea College
MottoGod has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.[1]
TypePrivate Undergraduate liberal arts college
Religious affiliationChristian (unaffiliated)
Endowment$950 million [2]
PresidentLyle Roelofs
Academic staff131
LocationBerea, KY, US
CampusRural (140 acres)
ColorsBlue and White
AffiliationsKentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Berea College is a liberal arts work college in Berea (south of Lexington), in the U.S. state of Kentucky, founded in 1855. Current full-time enrollment is 1,514 students.[3] Berea College is distinctive among post-secondary institutions for providing free education to students and for having been the first college in the Southern United States to be coeducational and racially integrated.[4] Berea College charges no tuition; every admitted student is provided the equivalent of a four-year, full-tuition scholarship (currently worth $102,000; $25,500 per year).[5]

Berea offers undergraduate academic programs in 28 different fields.[6] Berea College has a full-participation work-study program where students are required to work at least 10 hours per week in campus and service jobs in over 130 departments. Berea's primary service region is Southern Appalachia, but students come from all states in the United States and more than 60 other countries. Approximately one in three students represents an ethnic minority.[7]


Founded in 1855 by the abolitionist John Gregg Fee (1816–1901), Berea College admitted both black and white students in a fully integrated curriculum, making it the first non-segregated, coeducational college in the South and one of a handful of institutions of higher learning to admit both male and female students in the mid-19th century. The college began as a one-room schoolhouse that also served as a church on Sundays on land that was granted to Fee by politician Cassius Clay. Fee named the new community after the biblical Berea. Although the school's first articles of incorporation were adopted in 1859, founder John Gregg Fee and the teachers were forced out of the area by pro-slavery supporters in that same year.

Fee spent the Civil War years raising funds for the school, trying to provide for his family in Cincinnati, Ohio, and working at Camp Nelson. He returned afterward to continue his work at Berea. He spent nearly 18 months working mostly at Camp Nelson, where he helped provide facilities for the freedmen and their families, as well as teaching and preaching. He helped get funds for barracks, a hospital, school and church.


In 1866, Berea's first full year after the war, it had 187 students, of whom 96 were black and 91 white. It began with preparatory classes to ready students for advanced study at the college level. In 1869, the first college students were admitted, and the first bachelor's degrees were awarded in 1873.

In 1904, the Kentucky state legislature's passage of the "Day Law" disrupted Berea's interracial education by prohibiting education of black and white students together. The college challenged the law in state court and further appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in Berea College v. Kentucky. When the challenge failed, the college had to become a segregated school, but it set aside funds to help establish the Lincoln Institute near Louisville to educate black students.[4] In 1925 famed advertiser Bruce Barton, a future congressman, sent a letter to 24 wealthy men in America to raise funds for the college. Every single letter was returned with a minimum of $1,000 in donation. In 1950, when the law was amended to allow integration of schools at the college level, Berea promptly resumed its integrated policies.

During World War II, Berea was one of 131 colleges nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a navy commission.[8]

Up until the 1960s, Berea provided pre-college education in addition to college level curriculum. In 1968, the elementary and secondary schools (Foundation School) were discontinued in favor of focusing on undergraduate college education.[9]


For the past decade, Berea College has been consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the number one comprehensive college in the South, and it is currently ranked as #3 among liberal arts colleges by The Washington Monthly College Ranking 2012.

Academics and student lifeEdit


A high percentage of Berea graduates go on to graduate and professional schools, and the college is also active in international programs, with about half of Berea students studying abroad before graduation. The college provides significant funding to assist students in studying abroad.[10] Berea students are also eligible to win the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which provides funding for a year of study abroad following graduation.[11] Like many private colleges, Berea does not enroll students based upon semester hours. Berea College uses a course credit system, which has the following equivalencies:

  • A .25 credit course is the equivalent of 1 semester hour.
  • A .50 credit course is the equivalent of 2 semester hours.
  • A .75 credit course is equivalent to 3 semester hours.
  • A 1.00 credit course is the equivalent to 4 semester hours.[12]

All students are required to attend the college on a full-time basis, which is 3.00 course credits of enrollment, or 12 semester hours. Students must be enrolled in at least 4.00 course credits to be considered for the Dean's list. Enrollment in 4.75 or more course credits requires the approval of the Academic Adviser, and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30.There are also optional Summer opportunities to engage in study. Students may take between 1 and 2.25 credits during Summer. One Berea course credit is equivalent to four semester hours (6 quarter hours). Part-time enrollment is not permitted except during Summer term. A cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required in all majors in order to graduate with a Bachelor's degree.

Scholarships and work programEdit

Berea College provides all students with full-tuition scholarships (valued at $25,500 per year), and many receive support for room and board as well. Admission to the College is granted only to students who need financial assistance (as determined by the FAFSA); in general, applications are accepted only from those whose family income falls within the bottom 40% of U.S. households. About 75% of the college's incoming class is drawn from the Appalachian region of the South and some adjoining areas, and about 8% are international students. Generally, no more than one student is admitted from a given country in a single year (with the exception of countries in distress such as Liberia). This policy ensures that 70 or more nationalities are usually represented in the student body of Berea College. All international students are admitted on full scholarships with the same regard for financial need as U.S. students.[13]

In order to support its extensive scholarship program, Berea College has one of the largest financial reserves of any American college when measured on a per-student basis. The endowment stands at $950 million, down from its 2007 height of $1.1 billion.[2] The base of Berea College's finances is dependent on substantial contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations that support the mission of the college and donations from alumni. A solid investment strategy increased the endowment from $150 million in 1985 to its current amount.[14]

As a work college, Berea has a student work program in which all students work 10 or more hours per week on campus. Berea is one of eight colleges in the United States and one of only two in Kentucky (Alice Lloyd College being the other) to have mandatory work study programs. Employment opportunities range from bussing tables at the Boone Tavern Hotel, a historic business owned by the college, to managing the hanging and focusing of lights for the productions at the Theatre Lab. Other job duties include janitorial labor, building management, resident assistance, teaching assistance, food service, gardening and groundskeeping, information technology, woodworking, weaving, and secretarial work. Some of the work-study has helped to extend and support practice of traditional crafts from the Appalachian region, such as weaving. Berea College has helped make the town a center for quality arts and crafts.[15]

Students are currently paid an hourly wage at or above $4.0 per hour by the college. The college regularly increases student pay on a yearly basis, but it has never been equivalent to the federal minimum wage in the school's history. Students are not allowed to work off campus.

Campus lifeEdit

Technology is an important part of life at Berea College. Since 2002, all students at Berea receive laptops that they take with them when they graduate. Students are not required to pay for the computers, though they do provide a small fee to support the technological infrastructure.

Students are also not allowed to have cars on campus without a special permit, and student permits for cars are rarely granted to first- or second-year students. The college provides students with supplemental transport through a shuttle bus system and a bicycle sharing system known as Berea Blue Bikes.

The college has a non-discrimination policy and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, handicap, or sexual orientation in its educational programs, admissions practices, scholarship and loan programs, athletics and other school-administered activities or employment practices.[16]


Berea College teams are nicknamed as the Mountaineers. The college is currently a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

On February 20, 2012, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced it had granted Berea permission to begin a one-year period exploring membership in its Division III, non-scholarship athletic program.[17] That period will commence on Sept. 1, 2012.

Berea has not had a football team since 1904.

Christian identityEdit

Berea was founded by Protestant Christians. It maintains a Christian identity separate from any particular denomination. The college's motto, "God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth", is taken from Acts 17:26. One General Studies course is focused on Christian faith, as every student is required to take an Understandings of Christianity course. In effort to be sensitive to the diverse preferences and experiences of student and faculty, these courses are designed to be taught with respect for the unique spiritual journey of each individual, regardless of religious identification.

Library collectionsEdit

The Hutchins Library maintains an extensive collection of books, archives, and music pertaining to the history and culture of the Southern Appalachian region. The Southern Appalachian Archives contain organizational records, personal papers, oral histories, and photographs. Included are the papers of the Council of the Southern Mountains (1912–1989) and the Appalachian Volunteers (1963–1970).


Berea's Campus Environmental Policy Committee (CEPC) is developing a set of indicators by which to measure the progress of the college toward ecological sustainability, creates bi-annual reports on that progress, and links the school's efforts to green campus operations with its mission to raise consciousness of environmental issues among faculty, students, and staff.[18]

Berea addresses environmental sustainability from both an operational and an intellectual perspective; the school emphasizes an experiential education for its students, combining hands-on work with academic exploration.[19] Berea's Ecovillage is a living/learning community comprising 50 apartments. The community houses students and student families, and it includes a child development lab, an environmental studies demonstration house, wetlands, a permaculture food forest, individual gardens, and the "ecological machine," which is a wastewater treatment system that naturally treats sewage to reuse quality.[20]

Berea's sustainability initiatives earned it a "B" grade on the 2009 College Sustainability Report Card, published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.[21] Berea's grade placed it in the top 23% of schools nationwide, surpassed by only three schools in the Southeast.[22][23]

Presidents of Berea CollegeEdit


Presidents of Berea College Years as President
1 Edward Henry Fairchild (1869–89)
2 William Boyd Stewart (1890–92)
3 William Goodell Frost (1892–1920)
4 William J. Hutchins (1920–39)
5 Francis S. Hutchins (1939–67)
6 Willis D. Weatherford (1967–84)
7 John B. Stephenson (1984–94)
8 Larry Shinn (1994–2012)
9 Lyle D. Roelofs (2012–Future)

Notable alumni and professorsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. "Berea College: Our Motto".
  2. 2.0 2.1 Alessi, Ryan (2011-04-06). "Berea College president talks about his plans to retire in 2012". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
  3. "Berea College Enrollment: Quick Facts".
  4. 4.0 4.1 About Berea, Berea College website
  5. "Berea College website Admissions Page".
  6. "About Berea College".
  7. "Berea College website".
  8. "Navy V-12 List of Deceased". Berea, Kentucky: Berea College. 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "History: About Berea College".
  10. "Center for International Education: Berea College".
  11. "Thomas J. Watson Fellowship: CIE-Berea College".
  12. "Academic Services Advisor Guide: Berea College".
  13. "Admission Requirements: Prospective Students".
  14. Brull, Steven. (September 2005). "Appalachian spring". Institutional Investor, p. 35.
  15. "About Our Labor Program- Berea College".
  16. [1][dead link]
  17. "DIII panel suggests consequences for not meeting conference requirements". Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  18. "Sustainability Initiatives: -SENS, Berea College". Berea College. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  19. "Ecological Design". Berea College. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  20. "Ecovillage". Berea College. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  21. "Berea College - Green Report Card 2009". June 30, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  22. "The College Sustainability Report Card". Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  23. "Green Report Card - East - Google Maps".,-81.518555&spn=16.347063,28.300781&t=p&z=5. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  24. Roger M. Williams. "The Bonds, An American Family". New York Atheneum, 1971.
  25. John B. Fenn - Autobiography
  26. Sam Hurst- Berea College Physics Alumni
  27. The National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Fiction Selections for 2009, National Book Foundation, accessed July 27, 2010
  28. Jeffrey Reddick Bio
  29. Moyers, Bill (2009-03-27). Bill Moyers Journal: "James Thindwa" (Television Production). New York, NY: Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
  30. "Nontombi Naomi Tutu". Kent State University. Retrieved 2008-07-21.


  • Peck, Elizabeth. Berea's First Century, 1855-1955. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1955.
  • Wilson, Shannon H. Berea College: An Illustrated History. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8131-2379-0

External linksEdit

Template:Work Colleges Consortium

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