Brewton-Parker College is a coeducational, four-year institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Students study the traditional liberal arts and sciences, as well as selected professional and preprofessional programs, in a Christian environment on the main campus at Mount Vernon, in Montgomery County. The school offers extension programs on campuses in Baxley, Glennville, Newnan, Norman Park (in Colquitt County), Savannah, and Liberty County.
Union Baptist Institute
Brewton-Parker was founded in 1904 as the Union Baptist Institute, a Baptist elementary and secondary school. The Reverend John Carter Brewton, pastor of the McRae Baptist Church from 1902 to 1905, was a strong advocate of Christian education and had long dreamed of bringing this type of instruction to the children of south Georgia. He shared his dream with Baptists in the immediate area and won early support from both the Telfair and Daniell Baptist associations. Brewton was also able to enlist financial support from Charles Benton Parker, a prominent businessman in McRae, and together they worked to make the dream a reality.
In a joint session early in 1904, the Telfair and Daniell Baptist associations agreed to establish a school in whichever community provided the most support. The Montgomery County towns of Mount Vernon and Ailey, bidding together, submitted a winning bid of $15,000 and fifteen acres of land, and in March 1904 the associations announced that the school would be located between the two towns. On April 28, 1904, the Montgomery County Superior Court granted a charter for the Union Baptist Institute.
Additional associations joined the organizational efforts, and from the delegates of these associations, a board of trustees was elected to administer the school. With Brewton as president, the Union Baptist Institute, offering a curriculum for grades one through eleven, formally opened on September 12, 1905, with 7 teachers and 160 pupils. The institute’s first year was successful beyond all expectations. Five additional teachers had to be hired, and the enrollment reached 365. The original campus consisted of four buildings: the main academic building, now known as Gates Hall; a boys’ dormitory; a girls’ dormitory; and a dining hall.
In 1912 the trustees changed the name of the school to Brewton-Parker Institute, in honor of the two men who had contributed the most toward its establishment. In 1923 the institution added a college freshman class; four years later, a sophomore class was added, elevating Brewton-Parker Institute to junior college status. Responsibility for elementary education was transferred to the Montgomery County Board of Education in 1929, leaving only high school and junior college courses on campus.
In 1948 all secondary instruction was dropped from the school, and Brewton-Parker Institute officially became Brewton-Parker Junior College. In November of that same year, the Georgia Baptist Convention accepted an offer by the twenty-one Baptist associations of southeast Georgia to transfer complete ownership of Brewton-Parker to the state convention. During the early 1980s, a plan to offer the school’s first baccalaureate degree, the Bachelor of Ministry, was conceived. Subsequently, the college continued to operate as a junior college until December 9, 1986, when, with the approval of the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Brewton-Parker became a four-year institution.
The 270-acre campus in Mount Vernon includes forty-six buildings, outdoor athletic properties, and a five-acre lake situated in a tranquil, rural setting. Fall 2004 enrollment was just over 1,100. Brewton-Parker, which celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2004, continues its original mission of providing Christian education to young men and women. The college offers five baccalaureate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Ministry, the Bachelor of Music, and the Bachelor of Business Administration.