College celebrates 120th anniversary

From fireside education for local young women, to the four-year comprehensive college of today, Lees-McRae continues to serve and inspire students from this region and beyond. This year, the college will celebrate that history of service during its 120th anniversary.

The college will recognize this historic milestone during annual celebrations such as Appalachian Heritage Week April 13–17, Mountain Day April 15, Commencement May 9, Founder’s Day and Convocation Aug. 20, Mountain Day of Service Sept. 30, as well as Homecoming Oct. 9–11.

Celebrating our 120th anniversary isn’t just about honoring our past, it’s also about building towards our future. Throughout the year, we will roll out a new Strategic Plan as well as a Facilities Master Plan—both long-term frameworks for how the college will look in the years to come.

As the highest elevated campus on the east coast, our location remains central to our identity. It makes sense that our motto—In Montibus, Ex Montibus, Pro Montibus or In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, For the Mountains—directly addresses what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. Our mountain home, has given way to academic curriculum that emphasizes an experiential education.

Programs in Wildlife Rehabilitation, Biology, and Wildlife Biology make use of spaces including the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the 70-acre Elk Valley Preserve and Field Station as student learning laboratories in a natural environment.

Students from the Outdoor Recreation Management, Ski Industry Business and Instruction, Wilderness Medicine, and Cycling Studies also use our location to their advantage with Beech Mountain Ski Resort, Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, miles of trails, and much more just steps from their classroom.

Even our Nursing, Health and Wellness Science, and Emergency Medical Services and Management programs focus heavily on healthcare practices tailored to the unique needs of Appalachia, and the use of cutting-edge technology to serve rural residents.

In short: We are small, but we are mighty. Since our first days with a handful of students, to becoming the alma mater for thousands of graduates making a difference across the globe—Lees-McRae continues to inspire people to do good.

Learn more about Lees-McRae and follow along throughout the year as we celebrate



By Nina MastandreaFebruary 18, 2020
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