Imagine a college built upon the premise “God has created of one blood all peoples of the earth.” Imagine a place that promotes “love over hate, human dignity and equality, and peace with justice” by admitting only promising students from the bottom third of family incomes. Imagine a place where academically talented students with economic need receive full-tuition scholarships and then work on campus to support the community’s need. Now, imagine a place where the resources that make all these dreams a reality come from friends and alumni across the United States and beyond.
This place is Berea College.
A variety of elements combine to make Berea College distinctive among liberal arts institutions. First, all students are required to work in Berea’s labor program as they also engage in the College’s rigorous academics. Whether serving as a custodian, professor’s assistant, food service worker, or computer technician, each student contributes to the College’s welfare while better understanding the dignity and value of all labor. Second, a substantial endowment replaces tuition that comparable high-caliber institutions charge but which students of limited resources cannot afford. Third, it then takes the support of thousands of alumni and friends (non-alumni) each year to continue this unique legacy of education for all.
Although the College serves primarily students from Appalachia (almost 75%), Berea’s students represent a melting pot of cultures, religions, and nationalities. Indeed, Berea welcomed students from 44 states and 58 countries this academic year. And, just as the student population is diverse, so, too, is the donor population. Alumni and friends from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, two U. S. territories, and nine countries supported Berea students last year. They make the vision of Berea a reality.
Berea College has been a distinctive place of education and outreach for more than 150 years. The tradition continues.
Larry D. Shinn