The Naming of the Institution: Acts 17:22
When Mars Hill opened for the first time in 1856, the institution was known as the French Broad Baptist Institute. There are no official records that explain how or when the name was changed from the French Broad Baptist Institute to Mars Hill College. It is known that the 1858 minutes of the Western Baptist Convention listed the school as being the Mars Hill Institute in Madison County. Later, when the North Carolina General Assembly granted the institution its charter on February 16, 1859, the document referred to the school as Mars Hill.
According to John McLeod’s history of Mars Hill College, Garret Sidney Chambers, the grandson of trustee Lewis Palmer, claimed that Palmer originally suggested the name change. Drawing inspiration from Acts 17:22, “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill and said, “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” The first use of the name Mars Hill College appears in the 1858 minutes of the institution’s student Literary Society.