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A Stamp of Approval: Mars Hill College Receives Accreditation as a Senior College

12/1/2017

December 2, 1967: On Wednesday, November 29 1967, Mars Hill College learned that they had officially received accreditation as a senior college by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. This exciting capped an eight year journey that saw Mars Hill transfer from a two-year junior college to a four-year senior college. The transition began in May of 1959 when the Baptist State Convention adopted the recommendation that Mars Hill College “proceed to convert into a senior college as soon as its seems desirable and possible to do so.” The next three years proved to be a hectic time on campus as administrators and faculty were busy working on changing the curriculum and adding a junior academic year for students beginning in September 1962. Senior courses were taught for the first time the following year, culminating in 146 students receiving the Bachelor degrees from Mars Hill College in May 1964.

Along with changes to the core curriculum offered at Mars Hill College, the faculty also conducted an extensive self-study of the institution during the 1965-1966 academic year, which Mars Hill submitted to the Souther Association of Colleges and Schools in September 1966. In April 1966, a committee of administrators and leaders from already accredited senior colleges payed a visit to Mars Hill’s campus to inspect the institution prior to it receiving accreditation. Their three-day inspection led to the recommendations that improvements were needed to the curriculum, financial policies of the institution, faculty preparation, the library, and student affairs prior to Mars Hill College receiving accreditation.

In the end, Mars Hill was able to meet the recommendations given to them in 1966 and received their accreditation shortly after. When speaking on the news of the accreditation, Dr. Bentley remarked that the accreditation was a sign a profession acceptance from Mars Hill College by its peer institutions.

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On May 31, 1964, Miriam Carolyn Jones of Belmont, NC was awarded the first baccalaureate degree given at Mars Hill College.