HBCU of the Month.....JULY 2005!!!!
Posted By: on July 03, 2005 |
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ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE
Dr. Joseph A. Booker, President of Arkansas Baptist College from 1887 until his death in 1926. He is standing in front of his residence, one of the first buildings owned by the college.
In August, 1884 at Hot Springs, Arkansas Baptist College was founded by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas at their Annual Convention. The school, originally labeled "Minister's Institute," was opened in November, 1884 at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Little Rock with the title, "The Baptist Institute."
The Executive Board of the Convention employed Rev. J. P. Lawson, a white Baptist minister of Joplin, Missouri, as the principal teacher. The primary objective was to raise the educational level of the Negro ministry. The secondary objective was to aid Arkansas in preparing young Negro men and women with a normal education. Most of the students were ministers.
Demands for the offerings of the Institute were great, so great that the Executive Board of the Convention was unable to raise sufficient funds to supplement tuition. Finally, in April 1885, the name of the school was changed to "Arkansas Baptist College."
A block of land was purchased for $5000 from Attorney Blake Turner at 16th and High Street within the city limits of Little Rock. Several buildings were erected.
The first president of Arkansas Baptist College was Dr. Joseph A. Booker. His tenure ranged from 1887 until his death in 1926.
His leadership was strong and he commanded the respect of the general populace. The student enrollment grew rapidly and the physical plant was expanded. Following the death of Dr. Booker, Rev. S. P. Nelson, Rev. R.C. Woods and Rev. S. R. Tillinghast, respectively, were named presidents.
From 1937-1955, Dr. Tandy W. Coggs, fifth president of Arkansas Baptist College served. In 1947, the College received its initial two years accreditation from the State Department of Education. From 1956-1962, President Coggs, was succeeded respectively by Dr. Oscar Allan Rogers, Dr. Charles E. Johnson, Mr. Howard Johnson and Dr. P. L. Rowe.
On July 1, 1962, Dr. James C. Oliver was elected as the tenth president of the Arkansas Baptist College. During his tenure, an excess of over one million dollars in new construction was added to the campus, including a new science building, a library (named in his honor),a new business administration building was begun, but Dr. Oliver passed in 1982, prior to its completion. Dr.
Oliver succeeded in getting Arkansas Baptist College placed on the North Central Association, CIHE list for candidacy status. He was successful in business ventures and operated the college on a cash, debt-free basis, until the end of his tenure. Shortly before his death, poor health forced him to relinquish his active role as president.
Dr. R. C. Davis, Title III Coordinator, served as interim president for approximately three years.
On July 26, 1985, Dr. William Thomas Keaton, an alumnus, was selected as the eleventh president of Arkansas Baptist College. His tenure commenced September 1, 1985 and in 1987 the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, CIHE granted accreditation to the college. The Commission has extended accreditation through the date for the next visit scheduled for the year 2000.
Under Dr. W. Thomas Keaton's administration, general and federal funds have been acquired to assist in successfully upgrading academic programs and other notable changes conducive to the general environment of the college and community have also been implemented:
# Developmental courses in reading, writing, and mathematics are available to students to enhance their academic skills.
# Renovations have been made to the Ole Main Building which houses the Title III Programs.
# Improvements have been made to the Chapel through providing better lighting, modern seating and general decoration of the outside structure.
# The library has been modernized to include new flooring, seating, storage and offices for the library staff and students.
# New books, updated references, an on-line Internet system, satellite system, new computers, ERIC, and SIRS have expanded the research base of the library.
# The Business Administration building has been completed and houses the Secretarial Science Lab, the Computer Lab, and the Department of Theology.
# A 36-room, three story men's residence hall has been added to the physical plant.
# Renovations have been made to the Teacher Education building to include a Teacher Education Lab, an elevator for upstairs access, an Education Library and computers.
# A student demonstration room has been added for student NEA meetings.
The present administration is in the process of fully computerizing the entire campus, and has acquired funds for the construction of a multipurpose- multicultural fine arts center from the following sources:
# City of Little Rock
# Friends and Supporters of Arkansas Baptist College
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