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Louisburg College
Established 1787/1814
Type Private two-year college
President J. Michael Clyburn
Staff 107
Undergraduates 750
Postgraduates 0
Location Louisburg, North Carolina, USA
Campus Rural
Main: 75 acres (0.3 km²)
Mascot Hurricanes

Louisburg College is a private two-year college located in Louisburg, North Carolina. The Methodist-affiliated college claims that 90 percent of its graduates move on to four-year institutions.


Louisburg College has its roots in two schools: Franklin Male Academy, which was chartered in 1787, re-chartered in 1802 but held its first recorded classes on January 1, 1805; and Louisburg Female College, which was founded in 1857, succeeding a previous institution, Louisburg Female Academy, founded in 1814.

Louisburg Female Academy opened its doors in 1815, under the direction of Harriet Partridge, making it one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women. From 1843-1856, Asher H. Ray and his wife Jane Curtis Ray were highly successful as principals of the female academy, which in the 1850s was called Louisburg Female Seminary. Among the courses offered by the seminary were history, botany, algebra, rhetoric, chemistry, geology, logic, French, Latin, Greek, guitar, and calisthenics. The respected reputation of the seminary contributed to a movement to establish a female college.

In 1855, the property of Louisburg Female Academy was transferred to the Louisburg Female College Company; the newly formed body, Louisburg Female College, opened its doors in 1857. A four-story, fifty-room brick Greek revival building for the female college was constructed in 1857 on the west campus where the female academy building had formerly stood. Old Main, the central building of the Female Academy is still in use today as the administrative building of Louisburg College.

In August 1857, Louisburg Female College opened its doors under the management of Professor James P. Nelson. Course offerings included French, Spanish, Italian, piano, guitar, drawing, painting, and needlework. The female college continued to operate during the Civil War under presidents C.C. Andrews (1860-1861) and James Southgate, Jr. (1862-1865). After the war, about 500 Union soldiers camped in the college during May and June 1865.

During the administration of Dr. Turner Myrick Jones (1866-1868), former president of Greensboro Female College, enrollment grew to 133 students. The regular college course in 1867 included such courses as English grammar, mythology, geography, botany, physiology, trigonometry, Latin, French, and "Evidence of Christianity."

After the College opened and closed several times during the 1870s and 1880s, S.D. Bagley became president in 1889. Matthew S. Davis, who had previously served twenty-five years as principal of the male academy, became president of the female college in 1896 and held the office until his death in 1906. He was succeeded by his daughter, Mary Davis Allen (Mrs. Ivey Allen), who was president until 1917.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a number of significant changes took place. The institution became known as Louisburg College, and the college became officially linked to the Methodist Church. Washington Duke, the Durham philanthropist, had acquired ownership of the college property in the 1890s; after his death, his son Benjamin N. Duke presented the property to the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church.

Other changes in the early twentieth century included the erection of the three-story Davis Building, named in memory of Matthew S. Davis, and the reorganization of the college into an institution with junior college rating (1914-1915).

During the presidency of Arthur D. Mohn in the 1920s, Louisburg College experienced a period of building expansion. The West Wing of Main Building, the Pattie Julia Wright Dormitory, and the Franklin County Building were constructed. Unfortunately, a disastrous fire gutted Main Building and the new West Wing in 1928. Closely following the fire came the Great Depression, and the college was burdened with debt and a shrinking enrollment.

The Reverend Armour David Wilcox, former minister of the Louisburg Methodist Church, served as president of the college from 1931 to 1937. Louisburg College became co-educational in 1931, and student enrollment immediately increased. By the end of World War II, institutional debts had been paid. Walter Patten served as president from 1939-1947 and Samuel M. Holton from 1947-1955. In 1952, Louisburg College was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In 1956, a planning committee of the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church recommended the establishment of two co-educational senior colleges and the merger of Louisburg College into one of the institutions. The college alumni and the citizens of Franklin County joined to oppose the merger. A "Keep Louisburg at Home" campaign emphasized the depth of local support for the junior college. The Conference decided, in response to this endeavor, to retain Louisburg College as an accredited junior college.

A period of revitalization and growth occurred during the administration of president Cecil W. Robbins (1955-1974). Student enrollment, faculty size, budget, and physical plant were significantly increased and improved. In 1961, the college purchased the Mills High School property on the east side of Main Street; the Mills Building was remodeled to serve as the college auditorium-classroom building. During the Robbins administration, four dormitories, a library, a cafeteria and a student center were constructed.

From 1975 to 1992, Dr. J. Allen Norris, Jr. served as college president. The Board of Trustees initiated the Third Century Campaign in 1980. The $4.2 million goal of the first phase of the campaign was surpassed, resulting in the construction of the E. Hoover Taft, Jr. Classroom Building. Through the generosity of the United Methodist Men of the Raleigh District, the Clifton L. Benson Chapel and Religious Life Center was opened in 1986. A new auditorium and theater complex was also constructed.

During the 1986-87 school year, Louisburg College held a Bicentennial Celebration in recognition of its unique two-hundred-year heritage. The first college flag was designed and displayed during the celebration, and the first published history of the college, Louisburg College Echoes, was issued in 1988.

Dr. C. Edward Brown, Jr. served as interim president in 1992, and Dr. Ronald I. May was president of Louisburg College from January 1993 through May 1998. Dr. Brown again assumed the interim presidency in June 1998. Dr. Rosemary Gillett-Karam became the twenty-fourth president of Louisburg College in December 1998. Dr. Reginald Ponder assumed the presidency in 2002 and announced his resignation effective in June 2007. His successor as president was J. Michael Clyburn. [1] Clyburn announced his intent to resign in 2008 to become the president of Alderson-Broaddus College. [2]

Ponder oversaw a revitalized college, which was struggling with low enrollment and financial instability when he arrived. Approximately 750 students were on campus in 2006, versus less than 400 in 2002. Louisburg College has also recently revived its football program and established a partnership with Shaw University allowing students to complete four-year degrees without leaving the Louisburg campus. [3]

In 2007, "the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges placed the school on a six-month warning [regarding accreditation], claiming the school’s financial stability is shaky." [4]




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