Blue Mountain focuses on being small college, large family

One of the real joys of being associated with a small college is that it is truly a “family atmosphere.” That’s usually the way we refer to ourselves at Blue Mountain College – as the Blue Mountain Family. If something happens – good, bad or otherwise – we all know about it almost as soon as it happens. We laugh together É we cry together É we celebrate together … we worship together. Just like a family.

Blue Mountain College is a small, co-educational, Christian, liberal arts college, and we don’t pretend to be anything else. We have 457 in our student body this semester and our goal is 600 students by 2012. That’s not a large student body by any standard, but that’s the way we like it.

We place a strong emphasis on traditional family values – civility, dependability, integrity, loyalty and affection – and we tend to attract service-oriented young people who desire a family-like atmosphere for learning and developing.

Blue Mountain College fills a niche in higher education for teacher preparation, ministry preparation and other professions. We are not a Bible college, nor are we a comprehensive university, though we do offer a wide variety of majors in the liberal arts tradition as well as our strong ministerial program. We value knowing each student as an individual and we believe he or she has been created by God for a purpose. We see ourselves as facilitators in helping students achieve their God-given potential.

We maintain a close-knit student-faculty classroom ratio (12:1). Our faculty members are totally dedicated to the art of teaching, and they also understand the learning environment isn’t confined to a classroom. They are as nurturing as they are demanding, inside their classrooms and out.

Blue Mountain is now in its 135th year and we hold fast to our founder’s belief in the combination of faith and learning, and the character it produces.

Almost all my career has been involved in Christian higher education because I believe in the holistic development of individuals, and that education without attention to character and values is simply not enough. Let me quickly add that Christian colleges are not the only educational institutions which focus on character development, and certainly in all of our colleges and universities there are Christian faculty and staff whose lives are exemplary. But in our Christian colleges, the mission of the institution itself embodies the integration of one’s personal faith throughout all aspects of learning. We are highly intentional in developing character. It doesn’t happen by chance.

We firmly believe that holistic development of students is scriptural and we seek to meet students where they are and work with them to achieve their educational goals. We are small in terms of number of students, which allows us to be big on knowing and caring for our students.

Dr. Bettye R. Coward is in her seventh year as president of Blue Mountain College, and before that she was a 30-year member of the Mississippi College faculty and administration. Contact her at bcoward@bmc.edu or call (662) 685-4771, ext. 130.