Attaining an education has always been synonymous with upward mobility. This ideology has not changed throughout the American experience! In fact, the sons and daughters of the emancipated sought avenues to attain the American dream and social equality. Scotia Seminary was founded for just that reason.
What would become Barber-Scotia College was founded in January, 1867, by Reverend Luke Dorland, who was commissioned by the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. to establish in the South an institution for the training of African-American women. Concord, North Carolina, was selected as the location of the school due to its demographics. The institution included a program of elementary, secondary, and college.
The original purpose of the college was to prepare women to go into the fields of education and social work. The mission of the college has always focused on total student development as etched in the Faith Hall cornerstone: “For Head, Hand and Heart.”
In 1916, the name was changed to Scotia Women’s College. In 1930, Barber Memorial College of Anniston, Alabama, merged with Scotia Women’s College. The present name, Barber-Scotia College was adopted in 1932.
Four years after the merger of Barber with Scotia, the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools granted Barber-Scotia approval as a Class ‘A’ Junior College. In 1942, the Board of National Missions took action to fully support a four-year program for the College; and in 1945, the first class to be granted the Bachelor’s Degree was graduated. The North Carolina Board of Education granted four-year rating in 1946, which made it possible for graduates who plan to teach to receive the ‘A’ Certificate.
On April 2, 1954, the charter of Barber-Scotia College was amended to admit students without regard to ethnicity or gender. As a result, the college was admitted to full membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The College became accredited to award Level II degrees-Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. In 2004, it was removed from membership in SACS. In 2020, the current Board of Trustees voted to pursue other avenues for accreditation.
Barber-Scotia College continues to foster the ideals of uplifting humankind through education. Its ongoing relationship with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and currently to the Presbyterian Church (USA), has made it possible to do God’s work and carry out the mission for more than 155 years.