Under the auspices of the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen, missionary Luke Dorland in 1867 founded a parochial school that would become Barber-Scotia College. The original mission of Scotia Seminary was to prepare black female teachers and social workers. Dorland, who also established Dorland-Bell School in Hot Springs named the Cabarrus County school after his ancestral homeland of Scotland. The white minister, whose previous pastorate had been in Toledo, Ohio, took Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts as his model.
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Scotia received its formal charter in 1870. The initial board of trustees was composed of Dorland and seven ministers. Dorland remained the school’s president until 1885. The school made its first real estate acquisition in 1870 with the purchase of a half-acre and an existing house. In 1871 the first campus building was completed; in that year the school enrolled seventy-five students. Graves Hall, completed in 1877, is among the twenty-three buildings on the present forty-acre campus. Faith Hall, constructed in 1891, bears a cornerstone with the motto: “For Head, Hand and Heart.”
Scotia Seminary became Scotia Women’s College in 1916 and, after the merger in 1930 with Barber Memorial Institute of Anniston, Alabama, became Barber-Scotia College in 1932. Accreditation as a Class A junior college followed in 1934. In 1942 the Presbyterian Board of National Missions supported the school’s effort to become a four-year college and the first graduates received bachelor’s degrees in 1945. The school has been open to all students, regardless of race or sex, since 1954. In recent years the school has weathered financial and accreditation crises. It retains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Leland Stanford Cozart, A Venture of Faith: Barber-Scotia College, 1867-1967 (1976)
In the Beginning: Special Commemorative Edition of The Index
W. N. Hartshorn, An Era of Progress and Promise, 1863-1910: The Religious, Moral, and Educational Development of the American Negro Since His Emancipation (1910)