Serving Appalachia
Ariel photo of the Berea College Draper building and the surrounding mountains

Serving Appalachia

Our heart is in the mountains.

Appalachia is full of potential. We’ve known that for well over 150 years. Though the region has had its struggles, our goal is to help people address those difficulties through education, service and leadership.

Home-grown Talent

The majority of Berea College students come from Kentucky and Appalachia by a long-time mandate from the Board of Trustees. A significant number also come from economically distressed and at-risk counties in Central Appalachia as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission. Berea seeks to recruit, enroll, and educate the best and the brightest from Kentucky and Appalachia. We also aspire that many of our graduates continue to reside in Kentucky and Appalachia to make our region an even better place to live and work.

First-year students from Kentucky and Appalachia in Fall 2021

Build brighter futures in the region

Students of color

It's important that we continue the legacy of the South's first interracial and co-educational college

Total Student Body

Our students come from 45 states, one U.S. Territory and 70 countries.

Berea by the Numberschevron_right

From Appalachia, With Love

We give back to the region through various programs that encourage students and Appalachian residents to learn and serve together.

The Bluegrass Musical Ensemble performs on Mountain Day

Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service

The Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS) is the home of student-led volunteer programs, service-learning, and the Bonner Scholars. Each year, Berea students volunteer their time in tens of thousands of hours in our town and beyond.

Entrepreneurship for the Public Good

The Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) program teaches students how to practice and implement entrepreneurial leadership in rural communities.

Brushy Fork Leadership Institute

Brushy Fork seeks to strengthen local and regional leadership in Central Appalachia. Its vision is to foster local people to lead effectively the development of Appalachian communities, resulting in an enhanced quality of life.

Brushy Fork bridge in Berea, Kentucky on the Berea College campus. This showcases some of the beauty of Appalachia.

Get Lost in the Rich Cultural Heritage

Loyal Jones Appalachian Center

The Loyal Jones Appalachian Center anchors the Appalachian Studies department, houses the Appalachian Review and Appalachian Symposium, and celebrates and studies all things Appalachian. In addition, LJAC promotes democratic participation and social justice, environmental and economic stewardship, and empowers citizens to build upon their rich and diverse cultural heritage.

We're Crafty

Student Craft

In the late 19th century, Berea College began honoring the region through traditional Appalachian crafts like weaving, woodworking, and broomcraft. That handmade tradition is still alive today with students creating beautiful and practical art that is for sale through our craft catalog.

Katie in craft
Zy Garrett working on quilt
Student with stools

A Place at the Table

Grow Appalachia

Food insecurity is a serious problem in the Appalachian region. That’s why one of our strategic initiatives is Grow Appalachia, which partners with organizations, communities and families to create healthy, resilient and economically viable food systems.

Grow Appalachia urban farm
Honeycomb and bees at the Berea College apiary

Getting to Know You

appalachian tour participants
The Appalachian Tour

Every other year, newly hired faculty and staff go on a learning pilgrimage called the Appalachian Tour. The idea is that in order to serve Appalachian students, you have to know where they’re coming from. The tour also helps to dispel myths and stereotypes about the region.

My Appalachia

Five Berea students share their experience growing up in Appalachia and their journey to and through Berea College. Whether aspiring to be a chemist, a writer or an activist, each student’s connection to the region they call home has put them on a unique course toward success.