The Liberal Arts College: Based upon Surveys of Thirty-Five Colleges Related to the Methodist Episcopal Church

The Liberal Arts College: Based upon Surveys of Thirty-Five Colleges Related to the Methodist Episcopal Church

The Liberal Arts College: Based upon Surveys of Thirty-Five Colleges Related to the Methodist Episcopal Church

The Liberal Arts College: Based upon Surveys of Thirty-Five Colleges Related to the Methodist Episcopal Church

Excerpt

The interest of the Methodist Episcopal Church in higher education dates from the very beginning of the denomination. At the famous "Christmas Conference" of 1784, which marks the formal establishment of the Church, a resolution was passed looking toward the founding of a college. A site was later selected at Abingdon, Maryland, and a building erected at a cost of over forty thousand dollars. Instruction in the new institution, known as Cokesbury College, began in December, 1787. Financial discouragements soon arose. To make matters worse, the college building was destroyed by fire in 1795. The institution was relocated in Baltimore and a building purchased, but within a few months this also was destroyed by fire.

The discouragement of these disasters seems to have led temporarily to the abandonment of hope of further endeavor in the field of higher education on the part of the Methodist Episcopal Church. From 1796 to 1820 there is no mention of education in the General Conference journals, although there were some sporadic efforts at the establishment of institutions by local Annual Conferences. In 1820, however, the General Conference "recommended to all the annual conferences to establish, as soon as practicable, literary institutions, under their own control, in such a way and manner as they may think proper," and the leaders of the Church began a vigorous advocacy of the cause of higher education as a church enterprise.

The establishment of Wesleyan University and of Randolph-Macon College really marks the beginning of the college movement in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The former institution was opened at Middletown, Connecticut, in 1831; Randolph-Macon College, at Boydton, Virginia, was chartered in 1830, but did not begin instruction until 1832. With the division of the Church in 1844, Randolph-Macon College passed under the control of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

In 1833, shortly after the establishment of Wesleyan University and Randolph-Macon College, two existing institutions, both originally established by the Presbyterians, were taken over by the Methodists-- Dickinson College, established in 1783, and Allegheny College, dating from 1817. Following this, colleges were founded in increasing numbers . . .

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