Brevard College throughout the years
Throughout our history, buildings have been built and developed, programs have evolved, even our name has changed several times; but when we look to the heart of who Brevard College really is, the true life and legacy of our College emerges from its people.
Brevard College Timeline
1853 - 1934
Brevard College was formed at its present location in 1934 through the merger of two Methodist colleges, Rutherford and Weaver, on a campus donated by the Brevard Institute. From the beginning, the purpose of all three schools had been to give young men and women in the mountains of western North Carolina an opportunity for an education, to help them make “not a mere ‘living,’ but a ‘life.’ ”
Our history begins in 1853 in Owl Hollow School, a one-room log cabin in the foothills of Burke County, under the leadership of The Reverend Laban Abernethy, a Methodist minister. The tradition that “None Shall Ever Be Turned Away for Want of Means” was the principle established by Reverend Abernathy. His school developed into Rutherford College and was later acquired in 1900 by the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A great number of men were trained for the ministry at Rutherford, and the school became known as the “School of the Prophets,” but the college was always coeducational.
In 1854, eight miles north of Asheville on the Salem Camp Ground in the village of Weaver, Weaver College was emerging, beginning as a boarding school known as the Masonic and Sons of Temperance High School. The school was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1872. Montraville Weaver gave land for a new school, and Weaverville College was incorporated in 1873, independent of any religious denomination. However, in 1883, it was deeded to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. When it became a junior college in 1912, the name was changed to Weaver College.
The needs and resources of the time dictated the roles and purpose of Rutherford and Weaver colleges. During their tenure, both schools took the forms of a seminary, a two-year college, a four-year college, and a graduate school.
In September 1895, at the Red House on Probart Street in Brevard, a school for women was established by the Reverend Fitch Taylor and was first known as the Epworth School. Reverend Taylor, a businessman and local preacher from Asheville, felt it a mission to teach girls basic reading, writing, and domestic skills. The Women’s Home Mission Society took over the school in 1903, and property on the edge of town was acquired on the site that is today Brevard College.
Epworth School became the Brevard Institute, a high school with a commercial department, a music department, home economics, and agriculture and work-study programs like those of Weaver and Rutherford colleges. The Institute closed in 1933 when the town of Brevard became able to support a public school system. All three schools experienced financial difficulties caused by multiple disasters from the Great Depression, fires, and a cyclone.
In 1933 the Western North Carolina Conference ordered the merger of Weaver and Rutherford onto the grounds of the Brevard Institute. The Conference created a Board of Trustees, and appointed Dr. Eugene Coltrane as the first president. On September 17, 1934, Brevard College opened its doors with 385 students. The College continued the mission of Rutherford and Weaver to make college education possible for young men and women who would otherwise have been denied that privilege because of limited resources. Work-study opportunities included operation of a farm, food preparation, gardening, dairy farming, handcrafts, needlework, weaving, basketry, woodworking, and machine shops.
1934 - 1949
Brevard College opened on September 17, 1934 with an enrollment of 385 students. In addition to the standard academic curriculum, the College afforded work study opportunities and instruction in its farm, garden and dairy; also in handcrafts such as needlework, weaving, basketry; and in the woodshop, and machine shop.
In 1934 Dr. Eugene Jarvis Coltrane, a Quaker-turned-Methodist and the Superintendent of Schools in Randolph County, NC, became the first president of Brevard. Dr. Coltrane encouraged all students to work on the campus to encourage a community built on “cooperative enterprise.”
Biology and zoology professor Jack S. Dendy designed the first Brevard College seal in 1934.
The seal bore the motto "Labor, Learn, Live" and consisted of a shield, representative of a weapon of defense against the world; a cross and crown, symbolic of the Christian life of Brevard College; a torch and open book, symbolic of modern civilization and intellectual achievement with past, present and future work of the college; the student, representative of the student body and their drive to study; the arm and sledge hammer, symbolic of the work of the college; and the cross bands, representative of the college’s cross. The first seal was used until 1958. The motto was later translated into Latin Cognosce ut prosis: "Learn in Order to Serve." The Clarion, the College’s newspaper has been in continuous publication since 1935. Leighton Presson ’37, editor of The Pertelote, Brevard College’s yearbook, wrote the first College Song, “Our College”.
Leighton Presson ’37
Unto Brevard we’re ever loyal
We sing to her a song of praise
She gives to us endowments royal
To guide us through life’s endless maze.
Brevard, Brevard, Our hearts rejoice
Forever and ever, we will honor thee.
Our College, we will not forsake thee,
Nor for one moment will forget.
Thy standard high, thy moral taper will guide us
‘Til our sun has set.
Brevard, Brevard, Our hearts rejoice
Forever and ever, we will honor thee.
In 1941, community leaders, faculty, and alumni mounted a campaign to prevent moving Brevard College to another site such as Charlotte, NC or Winston Salem, NC. During World War II, many male students were drafted and women took part in the war effort through the Civil Defense Program. Many women made bandages and were used as spotters to watch for planes. Veterans poured into campus after the war and a number of temporary building units were constructed from army surplus materials.
Built in 1895, Spencer Hall was named in honor of J.C. Spencer who contributed funds towards its construction. For many years, all of the classes at Brevard College were conducted in Spencer Hall. In 1944, Asheville businessman and philanthropist H.A. Dunham contributed a quarter of a million dollars to Brevard College towards the renovation of what was then Spencer Hall. Spencer Hall was soon after named Dunham Hall in appreciation of Mr. Dunham's contribution. In 1947, the JA Jones Library was constructed and the holdings were moved from the building that is now Coltrane Commons, the student union.
The Mary Frances Stamey Memorial Infirmary was dedicated on July 10, 1948 in memory of Brevard College alumna Mary Frances Stamey. Stamey died in 1946 after service in the Air Corps. Before the construction of the infirmary, health services for the boys were housed in an old residence hall. The girls' infirmary was located inside West Hall. In 1952, the building was also used as the president's residence. Today, Stamey houses offices for counseling services, as well the Chaplain, Director of Career Services and the International Student Advocate.
1950 - 1969
President Eugene Coltrane resigned after 16 years of faithful service.
Rev. George Brinkmann Ehlhardt was president from 1950-1951. At 35 years of age, he was one of the youngest college presidents in the United States.
1951 Ehlhardt resigned. Dean J.J. Stevenson Jr., was appointed acting president of the college in 1952. He was a member of the Brevard College faculty since 1944 as the administrative dean.
Rev. Robert H. Stamey was appointed the fourth Brevard College president in 1952. He attended Weaver College, then entered Duke University and earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938 and the Bachelor of divinity in 1941.
The Centennial Archway was erected in 1953 for Brevard’s 100th anniversary year. The right side of the arch reads: Rutherford College School of Prophets, Founded by Dr. R.L. Abernathy, 1853 in Burke County, North Carolina. "None shall ever be turned away for want of means." The left side reads: Weaver College School of Opportunity Founded 1872, Weaverville, North Carolina Carl H. Trowbridge, President 1922-1934. Other plaques read: Epworth School Founded by Fitch and Sarah Taylor, and Brevard Institute Founded in 1895.
Dr. Emmett Kennedy McLarty of Asheville was appointed BC’s fifth president and served until his death in 1968.
Boshamer Gymnasium was built in 1962 through a gift by Cary C. Boshamer, a trustee and leading benefactor of the college from Gastonia, NC.
Beam Administration Building was built in 1965. A challenge grant was given by trustee C.Grier Beam of Cherryville, NC, and a matching grant was given from industries, Brevard residents, alumni, etc. It was dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. C. Grier Beam.
The library was first called Addison Jones and was originally dedicated in 1948. It contained 15,000 volumes and several hundred musical recordings. The current library building was built and dedicated in 1967. The new library was also called James A. Jones Library. Both were named for James Addison Jones, a benefactor of the college and the founder of the J.A. Jones Construction Company in Charlotte. Myers Dining Hall was named in honor of Albert G. Myers, Sr., of Gastonia. He was a prominent banker and textile industrialist.
Lena Sue Beam Residence Hall was named in honor of Mrs. C. Grier Beam, of Cherryville - the wife of C.Grier Beam (listed above).
McLarty-Goodson was named in memory of Brevard College's fifth president, Dr. Emmett Kennedy McLarty, and in honor of the bishop of the Birmingham area of the United Methodist Church, Kenneth Goodson. The building was completed in 1969.
Dr. Robert A. Davis was appointed the sixth president of BC in 1969.
1970 - 1989
Alumni House was dedicated at the College’s 140th Convocation.
1971 The Eugene Coltrane Art Building was dedicated on September 30th. This building was previously Jones Library. The building now named Coltrane Commons is used as the Brevard College Campus Center.
1971 The Sims Student Union was added to the campus landscape. The building was named in honor of Allen H. Sims, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and in memory of his two sons. Prior to moving to the Sims building, the campus center was located in the present-day Dunham Music Building. The Sims Student Union was renovated in 1989 to be the Sims Art Center.
1974 Taylor Hall residents were granted permission to have girls in the Lobby seven days a week. The only catch here is that the lobby was only open at certain times during the week/weekend.
1976 Dr. Jacob C. Martinson, Jr. became Brevard College's seventh president.
1976 Brevard College bought its first computer, a WANG, was used to teach a Basic programming course.
“Derby Day" was held at Brevard College in 1970s and 80s. Derby Day was a battle of the residence halls that included music, food, and games. There were games like, Izzy Dizzy (spinning around a baseball bat twenty times), the egg toss, balloon toss, three-legged race, and tug of war. Each dormitory had its own t-shirt to wear. Derby Day commenced with the tossing of a hat and someone yelling out "Let the festivities begin."
Brevard College held a long tradition called "creeking," which involved dragging students on their birthday down to Kings Creek and throwing him or her in the cold waters of the creek.
1978 The first Associate in Fine Arts Degrees were awarded
1978 School for Gifted Student in the Arts Established
1982 was the first year that campus offices went to using computers to “increase productivity and to make better use of time.”
1982 Brevard College won the first of more than a half dozen National Cross Country Championships.
1985 Rev. Dr. Billy Greer served as BC’s eighth president until 1992.
1985 First Women’s soccer team established
1987 Women’s Cross Country team placed second in the nation
1990 - 1999
1990 Coltrane Commons opened as the newly remodeled student center.
1991 - The Weaver College Bell tower was constructed in honor of Weaver College and was presented to the College by Weaver College alumni. The bell tower is forty feet of bricks and features clocks, chimes, and an inside display of the original Weaver College bell.
Baseball returned as a varsity sport in the fall of 1991. It was the college's first baseball team since 1969.
1992 Associate in Science degree program begins
1992 Dr. Cameron P. West named interim president
1994 BC's tenth president, John Thomas Bertrand, was named.
1994 The newly established Alumni House was dedicated at the College’s 140th Convocation.
1995 The addition of the four-year baccalaureate degree program was added to the curriculum. This was possibly BC’s most dramatic change since its merger in the 1930s.
1998 The Paul Porter Center for Performing Arts celebrates its first season.
The Coan Baseball Field was named after Gil Coan, BC ‘40. Gil Coan played baseball at BC and then went professional and played outfield for the Washington Senators. In 1951, he tied a major league record by getting two triples in one inning.
1999 The Village Residence Halls were constructed and opened in the fall.
2000 - 2009
2001 Bill Moncrief served for one year as Brevard’s eleventh president
2002 Drew Van Horn was appointed as Brevard College’s 12th president.
2003 Brevard College held a pinning ceremony to recognize its Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors. Members of each board were given pins commemorating the college’s 150th anniversary. President Van Horn also presented Weaver College alumnus J. Carlyle Rutledge (’37) with the Brevard College Medallion of Honor for his service to education and his fellow man.
2003 A new food court was also added to the College’s recently renovated “Underground” student area in Coltrane Commons.
2003 Brevard College introduced two new majors making it possible for students to pursue degrees in Theatre Studies as well as Music with an emphasis in Performance. The new Bachelor of Music in Performance was designed for students preparing for a career as a professional performer, studio teacher or college professor.
2004 President Van Horn announced a $14 million fundraising campaign titled “Building from Strength – ‘Remembering the Past…Securing the Future.’” The comprehensive campaign would be used to renovate residences halls and academic facilities and provide funding for operations and the college’s endowment.
2004 The College’s academic quadrangle was named the “Betty Neale Academic Quadrangle” in memory of longtime Brevard College family member Betty Neale.
2004 President Van Horn presented Board of Trustee member Robert I. Dalton Jr. of Charlotte with the College’s Medallion of Honor for living Brevard’s motto of Learn in Order to Serve.
2004 Brevard College installs a chapter of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, a coeducational academic honor society open to student of all academic disciplines.
2005 A state-of-the-art science annex adjoining the Bryan Moore Science Building was completed.
2005 Brevard College admits students into programs for its newest majors – psychology and teacher education licensure.
2005 The Reuter Family Fitness Center, located within the Jenkins Campus Activity Center of the Boshamer Gym, was completed. The center includes two completely renovated wellness areas stocked with new cardiovascular, free-weight and other fitness equipment.
2005 Edwin L. Jones, Jr. of Charlotte is presented the Brevard College Medallion of Honor for his generous philanthropy in supporting facility enhancement and academic scholarship at the four-year liberal arts college.
2005 The Brevard College Board of Trustees approved the creation of a football team that would begin playing in 2006.
2006 One of the most ambitious capital campaigns in Brevard College’s history came to a close on May 31 after raising more than $19 million, $5 million more than the College’s $14 million target.
2006 The second phase of construction is completed on the Moore Science Annex. A second floor was added as were additional state-of-the-art lab and classroom spaces.
2006 For the sixth straight year, Brevard College is among the top 50 “Comprehensive College – Bachelor’s” institutions in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report. In the magazine’s special 2007 America’s Best Colleges edition, Brevard College is also recognized for having one of the best “First-Year Experience” programs in the United States, a distinction the college has now earned five times.
2006 President Van Horn presented the game ball at the College’s first football game in more than 50 years. BC played the University of Virginia-Wise at Brevard Memorial Stadium.
2010 - Present
2011 Dr. Charles Teague named interim president
2012 Dr. David Joyce named president