About Morris College
Under authorization granted by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina in 1906, Morris College was established in 1908 "for the Christian and Intellectual Training of Negro youth." This action signaled the beginning of a heroic venture in higher education by a group of men and women less than a half-century removed from the blight of American slavery. The majority of these "founding fathers" were poor and without any formal learning, but they possessed an "unfaltering faith in God and a zeal to provide for others the educational opportunities they themselves were denied."
On April 12, 1911, the college received a certificate of incorporation from the state of South Carolina. Initially, Morris College provided schooling on the elementary, high school, and college levels. The college curriculum included programs in liberal arts, in "normal" education for the certification of teachers, and a theological program. In 1915, the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred on the first two graduates. The institution discontinued its "normal" program in 1929, its elementary school in 1930, and its high school in 1946.
During 1930-32, the school operated only as a junior college, but it resumed its full four-year program in 1933. The word "Negro" appearing in the original certificate of incorporation was eliminated on August 14, 1961, thereby opening the doors at Morris to students of all ethnic groups.
Presently, the College offers programs of study leading to the baccalaureate degree with major programs in Biology, Biology/Secondary Education, Business Administration, Christian Education, Criminal Forensics, Criminal Justice, Cybersecurity, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, English, English/Secondary Education, Health Science, Liberal Studies, Mass Communications, Mathematics, Mathematics/Secondary Education, Organizational Management, Pastoral Ministry, Recreation Administration, Social Studies/Secondary Education, and Sociology.
Morris College has more than justified the faith, the labors, and the sacrifices of the founding fathers. The services it has rendered have been extensive and beyond value. In the early decades of its history, Morris College provided elementary and high school training for Negro youth at a time when such opportunities were meager or nonexistent in many communities. From its beginning, Morris College has been a center for training ministers and teachers for the pulpits and schools of the State and of the Nation. Its graduates have added to the ranks of professionals and businessmen. Hundreds of Negro youth who otherwise never would have attended college have received at Morris College the benefits of higher education. Many communities and state agencies have used the facilities of the College to carry out programs of general welfare and social uplift. The College thus occupies a unique and significant position in the American social order. It is one of the few senior colleges built and operated solely under Negro auspices. As such, it represents a distinct contribution of the Negro to American society.
In the seventieth year of its history, on December 13, 1978, Morris College achieved the goal of full accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. On January 1, 1982, Morris College became the 42nd member of the United Negro College Fund, the nation's largest and most successful black fund-raising organization. The College has embarked upon a new era of institutional improvements that has moved it further into the mainstream of American higher education and that has enabled it to render even better service to its students and to the community.
The vision of Morris College
Morris College will be a premier liberal art and career-focused institution in Sumter, the state of South Carolina and the southern region; as well as carry out its stated mission as an institution that is totally committed to excellence in all areas of operation and is driven toward continuous improvement.
In the attainment of this vision, Morris College will:
- Provide a high-quality education for students which results in employment and achievement of their educational and career goals.
- Provide an exceptional faculty and staff who are committed to the mission, vision, excellence in all areas of operations, and teamwork.
- Provide relevant quality academic programs and resources in order for students to perform at their best and find gainful employment.
- Fully utilize the Morris College Bertie B. White Teaching and Learning Center to achieve excellence in teaching and maximize learning.
- Provide a student-centered, caring, supportive and nurturing a learning environment that will engender life-long learning.
- Produce graduates that achieve and lead in their respective communities, states, and country.
- Continue to develop into an institution that is significantly more impactful on the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of Sumter, the state of South Carolina and the Southern region.
- Instill pride and strive to improve the quality of life for all stakeholders.
- Provide necessary financial resources to achieve excellence in all areas of operations and development.
The mission of Morris College
Morris College was founded in 1908 by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina to provide educational opportunities for Negro students in response to the historical denial of access to the existing educational system. Today, under the continued ownership of its founding body, the College opens its doors to a culturally and geographically diverse student body, typically from the Southeast and Northeast regions.
Morris College is an accredited, four-year, coeducational, residential, liberal arts and career-focused institution awarding baccalaureate degrees in the arts and sciences, as well as certificates and associate degrees in career-based professional fields.
The College serves the needs of its students, alumni, and community.
It serves its students by
- Providing sound liberal arts and career-based programs with a particular emphasis on teacher education.
- Providing an intensive program for mastering basic social, thinking, listening, speaking, reading, writing, mathematical, technological, and leadership skills.
- Providing services and programs to enhance their academic, social, professional, and personal development.
- Promoting an ethical and religious environment which complements the student's total development.
It serves its alumni by
- Promoting a relationship that is mutually beneficial to the alumni and the institution.
It serves its community by
- Providing continuing education and services to clergy and laity.
- Promoting the growth and development of the larger community through public service programs.
- Providing research services and facilities in the solution of academic and community problems.
Morris College is primarily a student-centered institution which seeks to fulfill its mission by
- Evaluating the academic performance of students to ensure competence in communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and the use of information technology.
- Emphasizing a broad understanding of the liberal arts and sciences.
- Emphasizing specific professional and technical skills necessary to meet societal demands.
- Emphasizing total development of the student for responsible citizenship in a global society.
This student-centered commitment embraces the College's motto, "Enter to Learn; Depart to Serve."