The Mars Hill University: A History project has evolved from a series of published books, articles, presentations, and historical research and work carried out by various Mars Hill University students, faculty/staff, and alumni spanning the last 60 years. Preserving the history of the institution has been the one of the University’s main missions ever since its founding in 1856, and is a process that has seen constant support under Dr. Dan Lunsford’s current presidential administration.
This project originally began with work done by Mars Hill graduate and current instructor of history, Patrick Cash, in the fall of 2014. Late in the fall of 2015, steps were made to provide a manner in which the history of Mars Hill University could be presented in one location to the campus and surrounding community members. To accomplish this goal, a website dedicated to the institution and its history was agreed upon and created.
This website is a collection of writings that seek to describe the people, place, organizations, and events that have helped shaped the history of Mars Hill University. Mars Hill University: A History is a not a traditional comprehensive history of the institution that treats events in fine detail. Instead, the stories found on this site are brief and to the point so that they may be quickly understood and enjoyed by the visitor. This site seeks to recall the important events and basic concepts that one needs to know to better understand the detailed and lengthy history of Mars Hill University. These digital exhibits are meant to provide interested individuals a starting point in which they can begin their own historical research into the major milestones and important figures that have walked this beautiful campus.
The digital exhibits found here shine a light on the historically significant and newsworthy events, people, and organizations that have helped shape Mars Hill. From its beginnings as the French Broad Baptist Institute in 1856 up through its transition to from senior college to university in 2013, the very foundation Mars Hill University’s image, mission, and story have been shaped by the men and women who have become recognized as leaders and loyal friends of the institution. As Mars Hill itself is a constant changing body, so is this site. Additional topics and new interactive exhibits will be added in time to better tell this growing story.
Mars Hill University: A History features digital objects or "artifacts" from the collections found in the Southern Appalachian Archives housed here at Mars Hill University which will be used to help illustrate the narratives. Many of these digital “artifacts” are photographs of people and milestone events in the institution’s history, but the site will also features single- and multi-page documents, and audio and video recordings.
Mars Hill University: A History was built using the Omeka exhibit tool developed by George Mason University's Center for History and New Media. Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform designed for the creation and display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions.
The Mars Hill University: A History Advisement Committee
Mars Hill University: A History is researched, written, designed, and maintained by:
Mr. Patrick Cash; M.A., Public History Program Coordinator, Archival Associate, Southern Appalachian Archives.
Ms. Ragan Ramsey; B.A., Mars Hill University Class of 2016.
The Mars Hill University: A History project is advised by:
Dr. Phyllis Smith; Professor of History & Dean, Humanities & Social Sciences Division.
Dr. Lucia Carter; Associate Professor of History & Chair, Religion, History & Philosophy Department.
Dr. John Gripentrog; Associate Professor of History.
Dr. Marc Mullinax; Professor of Religion & Philosophy.
Dr. Karen Paar; Director, Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies & Archivist, Southern Appalachian Archives.
Mr. Richard Dillingham, Regional Specialist, Retired.
Mr. Brandon Johnson, M.A.; Instructor of English.
Mr. Les Reker; Director, Rural Heritage Museum.
Mr. Gerald Ball; Director, Information Technology, (Retired.)
Mrs. Kristie Holifield; Public Services Coordinator, Information Technology/ Media Services.
Mr. Eddie Ball; ITS Technician.
Mr. Mike Thornhill; Director of Communications.
Mrs. Teresa Buckner; Media Relations Coordinator.
Mr. Daryl Norton; Director, Auxiliary Services.
A Special Thank You to Mars Hill University's Administration for their ongoing support of Mars Hill University: A History
Dr. Dan Lunsford; President, Mars Hill University.
Dr. Joy Kish; Assistant Vice President for Human Resources & Strategic Initiatives, Mars Hill University.
Dr. Jason Pierce; Former Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs & Enrollment Management, Mars Hill University.
Dr. Grainger Caudle; Executive Director for Auxiliary Services & Planning, Mars Hill University.