LaGrange College is a private, four-year liberal arts and sciences college located in LaGrange, Ga. Founded in 1831 as a female educational institution, LaGrange is the oldest private college in Georgia. It offers more than 55 academic and pre-professional programs, including graduate degrees in education. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, LaGrange College has been ranked in the top 10 and as one of 10 “best values” among Southern comprehensive colleges by U.S. News & World Report.
The college enrolls approximately 1,000 students and the student-faculty ratio is 11:1. LaGrange draws more than half of its student body from Georgia. However, students from at least one-third of the other states in the U.S. and from abroad help provide a diverse community that includes various religious and ethnic backgrounds.
Famous alumni include Dean W. Young (1960), nationally syndicated cartoonist of the “Blondie” comic strip; Dwayne Shattuck (1983), Emmy-award-winning producer of “Mad Men” and “Magic City;” Elizabeth Carlock Harris (1961), former First Lady of Georgia; Terry Kay (1959), best-selling author (“To Dance with the White Dog”); Lee Crowe (1981), special effects animator for Warner Brothers; R. Lee Walburn (1959), writer and editor of “Atlanta Magazine;” and Blake Clarke (1969), television and film actor (“Home Improvement,” “The Waterboy” and “Boy Meets World”).
The college is located in the town of LaGrange, Georgia, which has a population of 30,000. Nearby are Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain and Franklin D. Roosevelt's Little White House. The West Point Dam on the Chattahoochee River provides West Point Lake, one of the largest lakes in the region, with waterfronts and a marina within the city limit of LaGrange.
On Dec. 26, 1831, the charter for LaGrange Female Academy was granted at the state capitol. Andrew Jackson was president of the United States, and there were only 24 states in the union. Abraham Lincoln was 22 years old. The Creek Indians had been moved from the LaGrange area for only six years, and Atlanta did not yet exist. The only other college in the state was Franklin College, now the University of Georgia.
The college began as a women’s academy that was housed in a large white building just down the street from the current campus. A few years later, in 1851, the institution moved to its present location on “the Hill,” which is the highest geographical point in the city of LaGrange.
In 1847, the school became LaGrange Female Institute, and the charter was amended to allow the school the power to confer degrees. The name was changed to LaGrange Female College in 1851.
The Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South took ownership of the college in 1856. Today, it is an institution of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
As discussions continued about admitting men, LaGrange Female College became LaGrange College in 1934. In 1953, the institution’s Board of Trustees officially made it coeducational.
The size of the campus doubled in 1992 thanks to the donation of land and facilities from Callaway Foundation, Inc., that included Callaway Auditorium, Callaway Education Building, six tennis courts, two softball fields, sites for Cleaveland Baseball Field and the soccer field, and a swimming pool that would be converted into Charles D. Hudson Natatorium in 1995.
LaGrange College has been ranked in the top 10 and as a “best value” among Southern colleges by U.S. News & World Report. The college offers more than 55 academic and pre-professional programs, ranging from accountancy and art studio, to exercise science and English.
Students may earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, Bachelor of Science degree, Bachelor of Music degree and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The Master of Arts degree in Teaching, the Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction and the Specialist in Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction also are offered.
LaGrange operates on the modified (4-1-4) semester system for day classes, which provides for fall and spring semesters, separated by a January Interim Term. In addition, there is an evening session during the regular year and in the summer.
To prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century, LaGrange College’s “Study-Away” program provides first-year freshmen a voucher worth up to $2,500 for an off-campus travel experience their junior or senior year.
Most often, those experiences happen during the institution’s January Interim Term. The Interim, or “Jan Term,” is designed to encourage students to explore course content outside of their majors through personal, hands-on experience. It falls in the middle of LaGrange College’s academic calendar, between fall and spring semesters, hence the name Interim.
Jan Term classes include on-campus projects, independent research, internships and study-travel experiences. Study destinations may include art classes in Paris, international business seminars in Tokyo or animal behavior research in the jungles of Costa Rica.
Begun in fall 2012, the Servant Scholars Program is exclusively for juniors and seniors who have demonstrated high academic achievement, engagement and leadership on campus. Living and serving locally, these students partner in building a stronger and healthier community.
The program is housed in the newly renovated Broad Street Apartments, a local landmark built in 1936 and located halfway between the campus and downtown LaGrange. Among the only apartments in the city at the time, they filled a vital housing gap and provided a first home for many families.
After falling into disrepair, the apartments were purchased by Callaway Foundation, Inc., in December 2009. The foundation funded their renovation, and the work was completed by Batson-Cook Co. of West Point. The property was turned over to the college in spring 2012.
The Servant Scholars initiative was developed after more than a year of study and is designed to help prepare the next generation of servant-leaders. It brings 12 LaGrange College juniors and 12 seniors to live and learn in the apartments during a two-year focus on scholarship directed at addressing community concerns. The convenient site provides a location for students to work with community agencies to study needs in the area, and to decide how to meet them.
With the aim of creating a community of scholars based on trust and responsibility, the Honor Code was written by a committee of students and faculty and implemented in 1999.
The code states, “As a member of the student body of LaGrange College, I confirm my commitment to the ideals of civility, diversity, service and excellence. Recognizing the significance of personal integrity in establishing these ideals within our community, I pledge that I will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate these unethical behaviors in others.”
Every year, first-year students gather for an honor code signing service. Each active class’s signed code is displayed on the back wall of the college Chapel.
Recognizing the needs of the nontraditional learner—who may be managing personal, professional and collegiate careers—the Evening College structure supports full-time or part-time evening study for qualified adult students.
Students enrolled in Business Administration or Human Development programs normally attend classes on Monday through Thursday evenings. Students may enroll in September, January or March. Students in the above programs also may earn a minor in Sociology, Psychology or Human Resource Management.
Transfer students with 60 hours of acceptable credit are eligible to apply for enrollment in the Degree Completion Programs in Public Health or Health and Human Services. Classes in the 23-month cohort programs are scheduled one night per week.
Evening College offers four degrees: • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration • Bachelor of Arts in Health and Human Services • Bachelor of Arts in Human Development • Bachelor of Arts in Public Health
LaGrange College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, the Specialist in Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.
Accreditation information is given in order for interested constituents to (1) learn about the accreditation status of LaGrange College, (2) file a third-party comment at the time of the institution’s decennial review, or (3) file a complaint against the institution for alleged non-compliance with a standard or requirement. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia, 30033-4097, or call 404-679-4500 or visit www.sacscoc.org for questions about the accreditation of LaGrange College. Normal inquiries about the institution, such as admission requirements, financial aid, educational programs, etc. should be addressed directly to LaGrange College and not to the Commissions of College’s Office.
LaGrange College is also approved by the United Methodist University Senate. It has membership in the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Georgia Foundation for Independent Colleges.
LaGrange College’s teacher education (undergraduate and graduate) programs are accredited by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to recommend candidates for certification in the areas of early childhood, middle grades or secondary education.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 500, Atlanta, GA 30326; Sharon Tanner, Ed.D., RN, Executive Director; 404-975-5000.
The undergraduate programs in business administration, business management and accounting are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
LaGrange College is a member of the NCAA Division III and the USA South Conference. The college’s mascot is the Panther, and its colors are red and black. Intercollegiate teams compete in women’s soccer, basketball, cross country, volleyball, softball, swimming, lacrosse and tennis; and men’s baseball, football, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and tennis.
It is the philosophy of LaGrange College and Division III that the highest priority is placed on the overall quality of the educational experience and on the successful completion of all students’ academic programs, in addition to helping student-athletes achieve their athletic goals. Under NCAA guidelines, no athletic scholarships are offered at Division III schools.
The Panther football program was launched in 2006, and women’s lacrosse was added in 2010. The school also has a host of intramural activities. LaGrange athletic facilities include a $2 million baseball stadium, a natatorium and a softball complex.
In 2008, the Panther football team rewrote NCAA Division III history when it went from its first two seasons of 20 straight losses to a 9-1 conference championship and a trip to the national playoffs, a turnaround record that stands to this day.
LaGrange offers more than 50 student groups as part of its living/learning experience. Many students also participate in service efforts or spiritual life activities.
Overseen by Athletics, intramurals provide opportunities for recreation and competition among members of the campus community. Teams representing campus organizations and independents compete in organized tournaments and events throughout the year. Competitive events include flag football, volleyball, basketball, softball, dodge ball and Ultimate Frisbee. Special awards are presented to the men and women’s groups with the highest participation rates and best records of the entire year. In addition, male and female “Athletes of the Year” are selected.
Many opportunities are available for recreational use of the facilities in the LaGrange College Aquatics Complex: recreational swimming and lap swimming all year round in the indoor pool, as well as water aerobics or aqua exercise classes (non-credit). Students also enjoy use of fully equipped weight-training room and a fitness area.
The Student Government Association, a voice of the student body, promotes diversity and involvement through activities, entertainment and service at LaGrange College and in the surrounding community. In addition, Student Engagement works with many on-campus organizations to foster student growth, leadership and involvement. Those groups include fraternities and sororities, service clubs, student publications, special-interest and athletic clubs, and honor societies.
Growing out of its history of service and its connection to the United Methodist Church, the college offers a number of opportunities for students, faculty and staff members to celebrate life and explore God’s intention for human living through intellectual, social and spiritual growth. The college employs two ministers to help students, faculty and staff to deepen their understanding of their faith as they engage in free intellectual inquiry. Also, a number of spiritual life organizations exist to offer fellowship and growth opportunities to students.
The LaGrange campus blends historic and contemporary buildings on roughly 120 acres in the heart of LaGrange, Georgia. Key facilities include:
Broad Street Apartments Originally constructed in 1936 and fully renovated in 2012, the Broad Street Apartments, located two blocks east of the main campus and presented to the college as a gift from the Callaway Foundation, Inc., now house the Servant Scholars Program.
Callaway Auditorium Built in 1941, Callaway Auditorium was originally designed as a multipurpose venue. It served in that capacity for more than half a century. Though versatile, the facility was severely limited in its ability to provide an accommodation that was greatly needed by the community and LaGrange College: an acoustically pleasing music performance venue. The demand for such a facility was satisfied in 2005 with the auditorium’s transformation into a state-of-the-art concert hall.
Callaway Education Building Built in 1965, renovated in 1994 and given a $2 million, 17,000-square-foot addition in 2006, the building houses the music program, offices of intercollegiate and intramural athletics, offices of health and physical education, a weight room, an athletic training room and a football locker room.
Cason J. Callaway Science Building Built in 1972, this three-story brick building provides for instruction in biology, chemistry, math and physics.
Fuller E. Callaway Academic Building Completed in 1981 and renovated in 2000, the Fuller E. Callaway Academic Building houses the History, Political Science and Psychological Science programs and the Department of Nursing.
The Chapel The materials used in the construction of the Chapel in 1965 link it with Christian worship in LaGrange and other parts of the world. Included in the structure are two stained glass windows made in Belgium more than 100 years ago; a stone from the temple of Apollo at Corinth, Greece; a stone from the Benedictine Monastery in Iona, Scotland; and a stone from St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, England.
Lamar Dodd Art Center Completed in 1982 and fully renovated and modernized in 2011, this building provides a physical environment and the equipment needed for art instruction as well as gallery space for the college’s art collection. The building is named in honor of the late Lamar Dodd, a Georgia artist who grew up in LaGrange and whose paintings won international recognition.
Frank and Laura Lewis Library January 2009 saw the opening of the 45,000-square-foot Frank and Laura Lewis Library at LaGrange College. Named for two former librarians, the facility includes numerous small-and-large-group study rooms; a 24-hour study room with a coffee bar/snack bar area; an auditorium; a multi-media classroom; a multi-media production center; student and faculty research carrels; and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment.
The print and electronic collections in the library support the curriculum and general information needs of students and faculty. Included are more than 200,000 printed and electronic books, an excellent reference collection, a large DVD and CD collection and numerous full-text databases for all academic disciplines. Notable digital collections include JSTOR, Project Muse, the Archive of Americana, the Burney 17th and 18th Century British Newspapers, the London Times Digital Archives, PsycArticles, MathSciNet, ATLAS Religion Database, CINAHL, ReferenceUSA, Access World News, plus many more in addition to the various databases available through GALILEO.
Price Theater Completed in 1975, this building features a 280-seat proscenium theater with 36 fly lines, eight electrics (including four beam positions over the auditorium) and a hydraulic orchestra pit. It also houses the Theatre Arts program, including faculty offices, a scenery workshop, dressing rooms, a costume shop, an actors’ lounge and a Black Box Theatre.
Smith Hall Smith Hall is the oldest building on the campus. The main portion of the building was constructed in 1860 of handmade brick formed from native clay. Smith Hall served as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the Civil War. An addition was built in 1887, and a major renovation was completed in 1989 at a cost of more than $2.5 million. The building now houses offices, classrooms and seminar rooms. Smith Hall was named in memory of Mrs. Oreon Smith, wife of former college president Rufus W. Smith, who served from 1885 until his death in 1915. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Sunny Gables Alumni House Built by Mary and Julia Nix in 1925, Sunny Gables Alumni House is an outstanding example of early 20th century Tudor Revival architecture. Designed by P. Thornton Marye, it is now part of the National Register of Historic Places’ Vernon Road Historic District. This multipurpose facility serves as the permanent home for alumni. The facility extends entertainment space to the college’s constituents for specific programming purposes.
Turner Hall Built in 1958 (not long after the institution became co-educational), this three-story brick building was first used to provide campus housing for men, and later, women. In 2003, the structure was renovated and enlarged. The Mabry Gipson Student Center features large and small meeting rooms, a student grill and the Jones Zone on the first two floors. Student housing on the third floor is known as the William H. Turner Jr. Residence Hall.
LaGrange College is an award winner in sustainability. The Frank and Laura Lewis Library has Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification, making it only the third library in the state – and the first outside the Atlanta area – to win that “green” designation as of its opening in 2009. 46 LEED is the nationally accepted rating system for high-performance sustainable structures and is administered by the United States Green Building Council. The college has ongoing relationships with local and state environmental groups to offer opportunities to students, faculty and staff to volunteer for various projects, such as the annual West Point Lake Clean-Up Day, clean water testing of the lake and area streams and the restoration of an on-campus stream.
Vision and mission
As part of a strategic planning process in 2010, LaGrange College adopted new vision and mission statements.
Vision: LaGrange College will be distinguished as a college that transforms the lives of its students and its communities.
Mission: LaGrange College challenges the minds and inspires the souls of its students. Founded in 1831 and committed to its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its Wesleyan and liberal arts traditions, the college supports students in their search for truth. An ethical and caring community valuing civility, diversity, service and excellence, LaGrange College prepares students to become successful, responsible citizens who aspire to lives of integrity and moral courage.