LaGrange College evolved from the LaGrange Female Academy, chartered by the Georgia legislature on December 26, 1831. In 1847 the legislature changed the name to LaGrange Female Institute and gave the college the authority to grant degrees. An amended charter in 1851 read "LaGrange Female College." In 1934 the institution officially became LaGrange College.
LaGrange Female Academy opened for instruction in 1832, with Thomas Stanley, a Methodist clergyman, serving as its principal.
Major John Park took over as president in 1833, serving until 1842. The Montgomery brothers—Joseph, Telemachus, and Hugh—purchased the academy in 1843 and relocated it on additional property they had purchased, known as "the Hill" (the highest geographical site in LaGrange), in the fall of 1844.
The Montgomery brothers sold the properties to the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1857. After Wesleyan, LaGrange Female College became the second Methodist educational institution for women in the state. When Georgia Methodism divided into North and South Georgia Conferences in 1866, LaGrange Female College became the property of the Northern Conference of the present United Methodist Church. Its board of trustees has forty-two members as of 2003, each of whom is confirmed by the conference. Fourteen of the school's twenty-four presidents have been clergy, as is the current president, F. Stuart Gulley.
The college campus consists of two sections, known as the Hill and Callaway Campus. Twenty buildings in addition to modern athletic facilities are located on approximately 120 acres.
In 2003 the faculty comprised sixty-two full-time and thirty-nine part-time members. The enrollment for fall 2002 was nearly 1,000, and twenty states and twelve foreign countries were represented in the student body. A student-teacher ratio of 11:1 enables LaGrange College to maintain a tradition of small class size and student access to faculty.
Academic programs lead to degrees in liberal arts (A.A., B.A., B.S.) and to professional degrees in business (B.B.A., M.B.A.), nursing (B.S.N.) and education (B.A., M.Ed.). In the fall of 2000 LaGrange College adopted a modified semester system. The evening school operates on the quarter system of fall, winter, and spring sessions; summer school offers both day and evening classes. In addition, the college has a Center for Continuing Education.
Alfred Mann Pierce, A History of Methodism in Georgia: February 5, 1736-June 24, 1955 ([Atlanta]: North Georgia Conference Historical Society, ).
Clifford L. Smith, History of Troup County (Atlanta: Foote and Davies, 1935).
Frederick V. Mills Sr., LaGrange College
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