Blue Mountain College was founded in 1873 by Civil War Brigadier General Mark Perrin Lowrey. The 135+ year old co-educational institution has a stellar history of educating young women and men.
Christian Liberal Arts College
The distinctive atmosphere of Blue Mountain College is attributable to a blending of several factors: the college's sense of its mission as a Christian and specifically a Baptist institution, the traditions created by a distinguished founding family and Christian educators, a careful balancing of liberal arts and vocational studies, a special kind of student life with a system of student government and honor uniquely available in a small Christian liberal arts college, and a family-like environment where students, faculty, and administrators genuinely believe in the worth of the individual.
Blue Mountain College has over the years sought to prepare students for meaningful lives. Emphasis has been given to the development of strength of character and the ability to live creatively. Through small classes, a close faculty-student relationship, and a focus on the importance of the individual, the College has endeavored to produce graduates who are well-prepared academically and spiritually to accept places of leadership in their professions, in their communities, and in the work of the denomination.
The Early Years
As a village preacher before the war, General Lowrey was a man of vision who saw the importance of providing a thorough education for women. The General felt that the South's recovery would be enhanced by the educating its young women. He and his two oldest daughters, Modena and Margaret, comprised the first faculty at what was then Blue Mountain Female Institute. Fifty students were enrolled for the first session.
Miss Modena Lowrey Berry, affectionately known as "Mother Berry" in later years, served as "Lady Principal" and then as vice president from 1873 to 1934, a tenure perhaps unequaled by a woman as a major college official. She was the second woman in Mississippi's history to be named to the Mississippi Hall of Fame.
Between 1873 and 1960 three generations of the Lowrey family including the General's sons, Dr. W. T. Lowrey and Dr. B. G. Lowrey, and his grandson, Dr. Lawrence T. Lowrey, presided over the college. In 1960 Dr. Wilfred C. Tyler, long-time professor of Bible at the school, accepted the presidency and served until his death in 1965. Dr. E. Harold Fisher served the college as president from July 1, 1965, until his retirement June 30, 2001. Dr. Bettye Rogers Coward served the college as president from July 1, 2001, until her retirement June 30, 2012. Dr. Janice I. Nicholson served as interim President during the month of August, 2012. Dr. Barbara Childers McMillin assumed responsibilities as the eighth president of Blue Mountain College on August 1, 2012.
Change of Ownership
Blue Mountain College was independently owned and administered until 1920, when control was turned over to the Mississippi Baptist Convention. From 1873 to 2005, the school operated as a traditional liberal arts college for women. In 1956 at the request of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, the College opened its doors to men preparing for church-related vocations.
On October 4, 2005, the Board of Trustees of Blue Mountain College unanimously voted to make all programs offered by the College available to male students, thus making BMC fully co-educational.