Berea College: College of Character
Berea College was founded by abolitionists and reformers and continues today an an educational institution still firmly rooted in religious tradition and belief. The Berea experience stresses a vision of a world shaped by Christian values such as the power of love over hate, human dignity and equality and peace with justice. Its constitution, 1858, made it Christian, non-sectarian, and anti-slavery. The college is committed to providing an educational opportunity primarily for students from Appalachia who have great promise and limited economic resources.
The Labor Program
In addition to carrying a full academic load, Berea College students work 10-15 hours per week, which permits them to earn at least a portion of their educational experience. Work is regarded as important in strengthening character and providing a sense of direction. The student work program provides jobs in about 140 different departments on campus. Students also work in the college-owned Boone Tavern Hotel. Labor Day is held in the spring and is a celebration of the value of work.
The Convocation Series is a vital component of Berea College’s General Educational Program. Through the Convocation Series, notable speakers, scholars, performers and authorities address topics often related to the issues and content students are considering in their classes.
The Campus Christian Center coordinates a variety of religious life programs and resources including chapel services, student groups, Accent on Christian Faith, Martin Luther King Celebration, spiritual/pastoral care, Black History Month, and liaison with local churches. Berea College has a Danforth Chapel and hosts a Visiting Lilly Professor.
The Seven Great Commitments
Berea’s mission is expressed through its dedication to seven core commitments: The Seven Great Commitments define the college’s priorities and its educational outcomes.
Tradition of Community
Berea College’s special heritage and unique mission provide a strong sense of community on campus. Institution-wide traditions help to encourage the development of community. “Mountain Day” is a good example. On this day classes are canceled and students and faculty climb a nearby mountain to celebrate Appalachian culture and get to know each other better.
Berea’s ethos of Christian service strongly encourages student voluntarism and students are actively involved in a variety of community services and regional projects including fire-fighting and Appalachian community based projects.
Recognition and Awards
In the 2001 edition, US News & World Report magazine named Berea College the top Liberal Arts College in the South in its 14th annual ranking of “America’s best Colleges.” This is the seventh time Berea College has received a No. 1 ranking in the report.
This information was submitted at time of nomination.