Blue Mountain College (BMC) is a private liberal arts college, supported by the Mississippi Baptist Convention, located in the northeastern Mississippi town of Blue Mountain not far from Tupelo, Miss. In 2005, the College's Board of Trustees voted unanimously for the college to go fully co-educational.
The college was founded in 1873 by Confederate General Mark P. Lowrey, a pastor, as a women's college. Blue Mountain Female Institute, as it was called at first, started with 50 students with Mr. Lowrey and his two daughters serving as the faculty. In 1877, the college was officially chartered by the State of Mississippi. Lowrey, his sons W. T. and B. G., and grandson Lawrence Lowrey all served as the first four presidents. A longtime professor of the school, Dr. Wilfred Tyler, became the first non-Lowrey family president in 1960, followed by Dr. E. Harold Fisher in 1965. Dr. Bettye Rogers Coward served as the seventh president from 2001-2012. Dr. Janice I. Nicholson, a BMC alumna, served as transitional president prior to Dr. Barbara Childers McMillin's becoming the eighth president on August 1, 2012.
Originally an independently-owned institution, the college was turned over to the Mississippi Baptist Convention in 1920 by the Lowrey Family. It remained focused on women's education until 1956 when a program to train men for church-related vocations was started. In October 2005, the college's Board of Trustees voted to make the school co-educational.
The 2012 Fall enrollment was 513. Twenty-five percent of the students are male and 75 percent of the students commute to campus each day.
Notable alumni: George Duke Humphrey (9th president of Mississippi State University); Natalie Frances Talbot Gardner (wife of Erle Stantley Gardner, creator of the Perry Mason series)
Blue Mountain teams are known as the Toppers. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Starting in the 2013-14 season, the Toppers will join the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country and golf; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, softball and golf.
Women's Basketball: Coach Lavon Driskell took over as the head coach of the Lady Topper basketball team in 2006.
Men's/Women's Cross Country: In the spring of 2007 College added a co-educational cross-country team. Phillip Laney is the current cross-country coach.
Men's Basketball: BMC named J.D. Parker head coach for the 2010-2011 season.
Softball: Fall 2010 marked the opening season of fast-pitch softball under head coach Kevin Barefield.
Baseball: Coach Curt Fowler brought his team to the field for the first time in Fall of 2010.
Golf: Men's golf was introduced in Fall 2010 under the direction of Coach Danny McKenzie.
Conference Information: Beginning the Fall of 2013, intercollegiate sports teams for men and women will participate in the Southern States Athletic Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Honors: The women's basketball team has been the recipient of the NAIA's Champions of Character award for seven consecutive years. The award recognizes intercollegiate athletics that are committed to the true spirit of competition through respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship. In addition, the women's basketball team has earned the Halbrook Award for academic achievement among athletes in the independent college division. Administered by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges, and the Mississippi Association of Independent Colleges, the Halbrook Award was awarded to Blue Mountain College for maintaining and achieving a high academic standard for student athletes which promotes high graduation rates.
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Blue Mountain College
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