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William Carey University

Region: Mississippi Country: USA

About William Carey University
William Carey University is located on three campuses in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Gulfport, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • The main campus in Hattiesburg is set on 140 acres.
  • William Carey University on the Coast is located on the new Tradition Campus off Hwy 67 in Biloxi.
  • The School of Nursing has a site on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Academic Programs & Degrees
WCU offers baccalaureate degrees in the areas of the Arts and Letters; Education and Natural and Behavioral Sciences; Business; Religion; Music; and Nursing. The M.B.A., M.Ed., M.S. in psychology, M.Ed. in music and M.S. in biomedical science, and M.S.N. degrees and a specialist degree in elementary education are also offered. A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine will be offered in the Fall of 2010.

Three trimesters of eleven weeks each comprise the academic year. Two summer sessions are also offered.

Athletic teams compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). The institution sponsors 14 intercollegiate sports including: (Men) baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, cross country, track & field and (Women) softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, cross country, and track and field. The Crusaders have an impressive history of athletic excellence. Visit the WCU Athletics website for more information.

Organizations & Activities
WCU offers many activities for the over 3200 students enrolled. Active campus organizations include the Student Government Association, Baptist Student Union, African-American Cultural Society, Delta Omicron Fraternity, Serampore Players, social clubs, and many more.

WCU also has a strong intramural program offering students the opportunity to play basketball, flag football, soccer, softball, and volleyball in a friendly setting.

Our History
The institution that is now William Carey University had its earliest origins in Poplarville, Mississippi, when the noted educator W. I. Thames opened Pearl River Boarding School in 1892. As did many institutions of its day, Pearl River Boarding School offered "elementary, preparatory and some college work. Operating for decades as Mississippi Woman's College, the institution was renamed in honor of the founder of modern missions in 1954 when the school became coeducational.

WillWilliam Carey University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor, master, specialist, and the doctor of osteopathic medicine degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of William Carey University. [more on accreditation]

Interest in the individual student characterizes the classroom experience. Taught by outstanding faculty who have gained national reputations, students are challenged by professors dedicated to teaching.

The faculty has produced graduates who have compiled outstanding records of acceptance to medical, dental, law, seminaries, and a wide variety of graduate schools.

History of William Carey University
The institution that is now William Carey University had its earliest origins in Poplarville, Mississippi, when the noted educator W. I. Thames opened Pearl River Boarding School in 1892. As did many institutions of its day, Pearl River Boarding School offered "elementary, preparatory and some college work." A disastrous fire destroyed the school in 1905 and an effort was made to obtain backing for a new school, to be called South Mississippi College in Poplarville. The efforts were not successful and Prof. Thames moved to Hattiesburg where, with the backing of a group of New Orleans businessmen, he opened South Mississippi College in 1906.

Thus the predecessors of William Carey University claim the distinction of being the first institution of higher learning in two South Mississippi communities. Little is known of Pearl River Boarding School, but South Mississippi College, under the leadership of Professor Thames as its president, quickly gained a reputation for having a strong faculty, especially in art, music, history, and home economics. After a fire destroyed the immense administration building, including classrooms, library and a 1500-seat auditorium, the young institution was forced to close.

In 1911, W. S. F. Tatum, wealthy lumberman and Methodist layman, acquired the property and offered it as a gift to the Baptists. He set two conditions: successful operation of a Christian school for girls for five years and an enrollment of at least one hundred students the first year. The property consisted of two surviving frame buildings and ten acres of cut-over land. A corporation was organized to own and control the college with nine trustees chosen from Baptist churches in Hattiesburg. In September, 1911, the school opened again with a new name, Mississippi Woman's College, under the leadership of President W. W. Rivers. In November, 1911, the debt-free college was offered to the Mississippi Baptist Convention and was accepted.

The growth of Mississippi Woman's College was a source of pride for Mississippi Baptists. Under the leadership of President J. L. Johnson, Jr., from 1912 to 1932, a splendid new administration building was completed in 1914 and named Tatum Court in honor of the college's major benefactor. New brick dormitories were added (Ross and Johnson Halls) as well as an infirmary and a model home, which was used as a laboratory for domestic science classes. During this period, the campus expanded to 40 acres.

The college did not measure its progress simply with physical achievements. An early objective of Mississippi Woman's College was to train intelligent, concerned citizens who could establish Christian homes. Curricula and activities were designed with this primary objective in mind. By 1925 college stationery boldly proclaimed on its letterhead, "Mississippi Woman's College: The School with a Mission." The student body dedicated itself to the mission of the college. Such dedication accounts for Mississippi Woman's College becoming known by the late 1920s as one of the South's outstanding Christian colleges for women. Continued growth and an emphasis on missions characterized the presidency of W. E. Holcomb from 1932 to 1940.

When the exigencies of the depression era forced the college to close in 1940, its facilities were used as army officers' housing for nearby Camp Shelby. In 1946 Mississippi Woman's College re-opened and underwent major renovations. Dr. I. E. Rouse was elected president in 1946 and served until 1956. In 1953 the Mississippi Baptist Convention voted to move the college into coeducational status after more than four decades of admitting only female students. This vote necessitated a new name for the institution. In 1954 the board of trustees selected the name of William Carey College in honor of the eighteenth century English cobbler-linguist whose decades of missionary activity in India earned him international recognition as the "Father of Modern Missions."

Under the leadership of Dr. J. Ralph Noonkester, who was elected president of the college in 1956, William Carey College enjoyed significant growth. In 14 years, a total of 14 new buildings rose on the Hattiesburg campus. The college attracted national attention with baseball, basketball, and tennis teams, the traveling chorale, the theatre performance groups, scientific honor societies, student mission efforts, a large number of mission volunteers, and a high percentage of acceptances to medical school. Dr. Noonkester served as president from 1956 to 1989.

In 1968 William Carey entered a new era when it announced a merger with the prestigious Mather School of Nursing in New Orleans. Another dimension opened for William Carey in 1976 when the college purchased the Gulf Coast Military Academy campus in Gulfport. Known now as William Carey University on the Coast, the 20-acre Gulfport campus offers selected undergraduate and graduate degrees. Phase I of construction of a new campus is schedule to be completed by fall 2009. The campus will be located in the 4800-acre Tradition Planned Community.

In June 1989 Dr. James W. Edwards was elected as the seventh president and served until 1997. Under his leadership, enrollment in church-related vocations increased, the art program at Carey on the Coast was upgraded, the college debt was restructured, salaries improved, a trimester system was inaugurated, and an MBA program in executive leadership was added to the curriculum. The Lucile Parker Gallery was opened on the Hattiesburg campus, and the Sarah Gillespie Art Gallery was upgraded and moved to Parker Hall at Carey on the Coast. A campus beautification project was inaugurated.

Dr. Larry Kennedy was appointed interim president in 1997 and president in 1998. Since 1998 the physical facilities on the Hattiesburg and Gulfport campuses have undergone major repair and renovation. The New Orleans nursing program was relocated to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary campus in 1998. The Fail/Asbury School of Nursing Building was completed in January 2002, the first new building on the Hattiesburg campus in 25 years. Two soccer fields and an intramural field were dedicated in 2004.

The Lorena Roseberry Smith Hall, housing education department programs, was completed in 2004 also. Donnell Hall was completed in 2006 to house the Center for the Life and Work of William Carey. Also dedicated in 2006 were Milton Wheeler Field and the restored Chain Garden. The former Bentley-Pope House was named the Donna Duck Wheeler Alumni House. Enrollment figures reached the highest levels in the university's history. On the New Orleans campus, a new nursing building afforded expanded learning opportunities.

In 2006 the board of trustees voted to change the name to William Carey University to honor its growth and enhance its potential in an increasingly global environment. The university is organized into the following academic units: the Ralph and Naomi Noonkester School of Arts and Letters; the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences; the School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Psychology and Counseling; the Owen and Elizabeth Cooper School of Missions and Biblical Studies; the Donald and Frances Winters School of Music; and the Joseph and Nancy Fail School of Nursing.

At the untimely death of Dr. Kennedy in September 2006, Dr. Tommy King was appointed acting president; in February 2007, he was named the ninth president of the university. In 2007 these dedications took place on the Hattiesburg campus: Heritage Plaza, honoring Mississippi Woman's College alumnae; the Joseph and Nancy Fail Softball Field; and the Larry W. Kennedy Complex. Braswell and Byrd resident halls were dedicated in the fall of 2007. Six new tennis courts are scheduled for completion in spring 2008. Other construction plans for the Hattiesburg campus include an addition to Smith-Rouse Library which will house the new Sarah Gillespie Art Gallery.

The dramatic developments over the years demonstrate that William Carey University has accepted William Carey's challenging motto:
"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."

William Carey University Degree Programs :


  • Master Degree
  • DO

Video Presentation

Leslie's White Coat Ceremony

White Coat Ceremony of the Inaugural class of William Carey University's College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Contact Details

Address: 498 Tuscan Avenue, Hattiesburg, Mississippi 39401


(601) 318-6051

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