BMC president speaks of college’s changes

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Blue Mountain College will roll out its first fully online degree program this May.
The two-year program will allow students to graduate in business and could provide momentum for more online options at the 139-year-old college. However, new president Barbara McMillin said on Monday the college will be deliberate in how it proceeds.
“We will continue to look at what other programs we offer that have the potential to be presented in an online format,” McMillin said after speaking to the Rotary Club of Tupelo at The Summit Center on Monday.
“We want to make sure with any online venture, we can present it with the same excellence as if face-to-face in a classroom. We will be very selective.”
McMillin, who became BMC’s eighth president on Aug. 1, used her remarks to talk about new initiatives and programs at the college, including the online program.
She also spoke of a new agreement the institution recently reached with Baptist College of Health Sciences in Memphis that will allow students to earn dual health care degrees from both schools.
McMillin said one of her priorities since arriving from Union University in Tennessee has been trying to meet the school’s 512 students and its staff.
Among the new programs noted Monday were an ice cream social and an caramel apple party she hosted for students at the President’s House on campus during the fall.
“My family and I are eager to get to know our students,” she said. “We want students to feel engaged with our administration and our college.”
Asked about new initiatives for this semester, McMillin said the focus will be on making progress on several construction projects and renovations.
The college opened a new education building in August to host all of its teacher preparation classes. It is now trying to improve the exterior of the building and to add an auditorium and student wellness center.
Other projects include the construction of an on-campus SportsPlex with baseball and softball fields, a golf practice range, sand volleyball court, intramural field and walking track.
It also hopes to turn an old bank building near the campus into a book store, coffee shop and apartments and to renovate a house near the campus into a welcome center and center for alumni affairs.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com