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Rust College
Motto By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them
Established 1866
Type Private, HBCU
Religious affiliation United Methodist Church
President Dr. David L. Beckley
Location Holly Springs, Mississippi,
United States
Former names Shaw University
Rust University
Nickname Bearcats

Rust College is a historically black liberal arts college located in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Located approximately 35 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, it is the second-oldest private college in the state and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and one of only ten historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) founded before 1868 still to be in operation.



One of the oldest colleges for African Americans in the United States, Rust was founded on November 24, 1866 by Northern missionaries known as the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1870, the college was named Shaw University. The named changed again to Rust University in 1882. Both names were applied in honor of major donors to the college. The name was finally changed to Rust College in 1915.


Rust College maintains five divisions or departments of study: Division of Education, Division of Humanities, Division of Science and Mathematics, Division of Social Sciences and the Division of Business. Degree programs are offered in sixteen areas of study. Upon completion of their studies at Rust, students can receive Associate's degrees or Bachelor's degrees.

According to the Princeton Review, the most popular majors at Rust are biology, general studies, business administration, and computer science[1].

Rust College operates on what is called a module system, which is an 8-week semester class system. The fast-paced module system allows the college to constantly enroll a steady stream of transfer students every 8 weeks.

Most classes have between 10-19 students and 42% of all faculty have obtained a PhD. There are 42 faculty members and a student/faculty ratio of 20:1. 57% of students return for their sophomore year.


Holly Springs is in northwestern Mississippi, and considered part of the Memphis, Tennessee metropolitan area.[2] There are five gender segregated dorms on campus, with about 900 spaces. There is a full-time professional who lives in each building and is responsible for the educational and operational functions of the residence hall.

Like all colleges and universities in the United States, under the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act (1990), Rust College reports their on-campus crime statistics to the United States Department of Education and publish the numbers on the Department's website.

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability Reference
Alexander Preston Shaw 1902 Methodist Bishop and notable Preacher
Ruby Elzy pioneer black opera singer who created the role of Serena in George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess
Ida B. Wells newspaper editor, feminist and anti-lynching crusader
Anita Ward African-American singer of disco hit "Ring My Bell"

External links

See also

  • WURC Rust College's public radio station

Additional reading




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