BMC Looking Back

The History of Blue Mountain College: Old Made New

Like the myriad of colleges that dot America’s landscape, Blue Mountain College is steeped in rich, intriguing history. Since its founding in 1873, thousands of students have ventured to this school to seek higher education. Many of these students have graduated with degrees and ventured back into the world with a new purpose.

However, times have changed, and Blue Mountain has changed as well. Even within the last several years, progress made to both the physical landscape and the student body has made the campus unrecognizable. Where once was a girls’ finishing school now stands a liberal arts college where young men and women pursue their higher education.

Founded by General Mark Perrin Lowrey, Blue Mountain College began its academic history as an all girls’ school where women from the post-Civil War South came to better themselves by gaining an education. The General named the college after the bluish tint of the foothills where the college campus resides. The first young women who attended the school were taught in etiquette as well as academics, becoming proper ladies whilst in the process of their scholastic career. The dress code for Blue Mountain students enforced modesty, and all young women had to wear skirts or dresses. Other activities encouraged ladylike behavior such as May Day, a campus-wide celebration. These were just some of the many ways that the college used to educate their young women in the art of being a lady.

It would be just over eighty years before the school accepted male students. In 1956, upon request from the Mississippi Baptist Convention, men were granted the ability to attend Blue Mountain College officially. Before then, in some classrooms, some aspiring ministers would sit in while the teachers lectured, taking notes and learning; they were unable to enroll or obtain a degree from the school. However, even after Blue Mountain opened its gates for them, these men could only pursue ministerial degrees, as there were no other programs available for them. It would be another fifty years before that would change.

In 2005, Blue Mountain College opened its gates for all students to pursue any of the degrees that they offered. Since then, the school has changed in many, many ways. From the addition to new degrees to new sports opportunities, the campus now has more to offer than ever before. However, the purpose of this school is still the same: assisting “students in developing intellectual integrity, academic excellence, civility, and Christian character.”