Mars Hill University is a private university based in Mars Hill, North Carolina. The university offers 35 undergraduate programs, including the School of Nursing and Graduate Schools of Education, Criminal Justice and Management. The school was named Mars Hill College from 1859 to 2013 and formally changed its name to Mars Hill University in August 2013.
Mars Hill University was founded in 1856 and is the oldest college or university in western North Carolina. It started as the French Broad Baptist Institute, sharing a name with the neighboring French Broad River. In 1859, the university changed its name to Mars Hill, in memory of the hill in ancient Athens, where the Apostle Paul discussed Christianity with the leading thinkers of the region. During the American Civil War, the university was closed for two years, but it was reopened after the war. From 1897 to 1938, the university, headed by Dr. Robert Moore, experienced significant financial and physical growth.
Mars Hill became an accredited junior college in 1921. Dr. Hoyt Blackwell served as president from 1938 to 1966, and Mars Hill became an accredited four-year college in 1962. Between 1966 to 1996, Dr. Fred Bentley served as president of the University. At the time of his appointment in 1966, Dr. Bentley was one of the youngest university presidents in the United States. Dr. Dan Lunsford, a 1969 MHU alum, served as President of the University from 2002 to 2018.
Under Dr. Lunsford, Mars Hill University constructed three new dormitories, a new health sciences building to house its nursing program, a new classroom building to house the business department (the most famous campus major), a fully renovated and greatly expanded math and science classroom building, updated its athletic facilities, tripled its endowment, boosted its student enrollment. In June 2018, John Anthony “Tony” Floyd became the sixth president of the university in 121 years.
The University offers six degrees (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Social Work), three degrees (Master of Arts, Master of Education and Master of Management) and 35 majors. The university received its first M.Ed degree in May 2013. A M.A. has recently been introduced to the university. Training in the field of criminal justice and Master in Management.
The university opened its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in August 2016. The most common majors are in the fields of business administration and management, education, social work, physical education and coaching, and general psychology. The university is also well known for its outstanding programs of music and other fine arts. In 1932, Lamar Stringfield, a Mars Hill alumnus, founded the North Carolina Symphony, the nation’s first state-sponsored orchestra.
You will find this school in the beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, along with these other must-see places of interest:
- Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (Asheville)
- Black Mountain College (Black Mountain: 1933–1957)
- Shaw University College of Adult and Professional Education or C.A.P.E.
- Brevard College (Brevard)
- Lenoir-Rhyne University – Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville (Asheville)
- Mars Hill University (Mars Hill)
- Montreat College (Montreat)
- The University of North Carolina at Asheville (Asheville)
- Warren Wilson College
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