MC Marks 182nd Birthday
January 24, 2008A special collection at the Leland Speed Library, and a new book on Mississippi College history tell the story about Mississippi's oldest institution of higher learning.
It's a history that stretches from 1826 through 2008, with MC celebrating its 182nd birthday on Thursday.
Mississippi College was originally known as Hampstead Academy and was chartered on January 24, 1826. The name was changed to Mississippi Academy, and in 1830 to Mississippi College.
"Few institutions have survived as long as MC at 182 years old, the oldest college in the state," President Lee Royce said Thursday. "We are committed to pursuing those enuring works that have served us so well as we seek to be known as a university recognized for academic excellence and commitment to the cause of Christ."
With 4,600 students, MC is Mississippi's largest private university and second oldest Baptist college in America.
While some at MC are already thinking ahead to a much bigger birthday - the 200th anniversary - Thursday's 182nd birthday was relatively quiet.
People with an interest in MC history are continuing to buy copies of the recent book "MIssissippi College With Pride" written by the late Charles Martin, a retired MC administrator and professor for nearly four decades.
Copies of the book selling for $25 are available at the office of vice president for Academic affairs Ron Howard at Nelson Hall, at the MC library, the Clinton Visitors Center and Mississippi Discount Drugs in Clinton. It tells the story from its Hampstead Academy origins through the Civil War upheaval and marches up to the rapid growth in the 21st Century. Proceeds from the book sale will boost student scholarships.
As another MC birthday comes and goes, MC supporters are learning more about the school's history by visiting the MC Archives on the third floor of the library. Hours are from 8 a.m. until noon and 1-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"Today we should take a minute to remember our rich history," said Savannah Kelly, special collections librarian at the Speed Library along College Street. The Mississippi Legislature played a role in MC's early days. State lawmakers granted nine private citizens the charter that marked MC's beginnings 182 years ago. Mississippi Gov. David Holmes signed the charter in 1826.
MC boasts a proud history and envisions an exciting future, said Joel "Hap" Hudson, a 1959 MC graduate, during a visit to the Clinton campus Thursday. A retired assistant football coach, trainer and physical education professor at his alma mater, the Clintonian stays in close contact with the MC family.
Royce, who's directing MC's $65 million "Growing the Vision" fund drive, is optimistic about the school's future as another anniversary passes. "We hope we age both gracefully and with continued vitality," said Royce, who's led the Christian university since July 2002.