|History of Piedmont College|
|Growth of Piedmont|
|A Bright Future|
Growth of Piedmont
By 1899, Piedmont was beset by financial difficulties. Enrollment was strong at just under 400 students, but the support the College founders had hoped for from the state's Methodist churches was not forthcoming. Strapped for funds after cashing in his own life insurance policy to support the College, Rev. Spence turned to the Congregationalist churches for help. "I have gone as far as I can," Spence told a church representative. "I am getting deeper and deeper in debt. You Congregationalists need a college. Here is a good beginning."
The Congregational Church had been founded by the Pilgrims in 1620 and already had a long history of supporting higher education. They had founded Harvard in 1636, Yale in 1701, and numerous other colleges across the U.S. As yet they had no college in the South, and so in 1901, the American Missionary Board of the Congregational Church took Piedmont under its wing. While remaining an independent institution governed by its own board of trustees, Piedmont has enjoyed a close relationship with Congregational churches ever since. Students from across the U.S. and around the world who might otherwise never hear of Piedmont College are introduced through the churches, and this association has historically provided the College with a rich mix of students from many cultures and backgrounds.
As Piedmont grew in the early part of this century, it began building a reputation as "the little college that could." Through two World Wars, the Depression and the turbulent 1960s, the College remained an oasis of learning. Whenever financial difficulties developed, the administration, faculty, students, alumni and friends who had grown up with the College were always there to step in to save the day. With their faithful and often extraordinary sacrifices, the campus slowly grew from a cluster of former homes to the beautiful 100-acre site that houses the College today.
Because of its small size, Piedmont College through most of its existence also has developed a "David and Goliath" outlook on just about all matters academic and athletic. Athletic teams, noted nationally in the 1960s for their proclivity to lose, were nonetheless respected for the character of their coaches and players. And even with a faculty that could be numbered in the teens, Piedmont over the years produced more than its share of leaders in government, education, business and the arts.
Today, Piedmont College is a classic, independent, church-related, liberal arts institution. With a substantial endowment, Piedmont is able to provide a high-quality education while maintaining tuition that is among the lowest of all private colleges in the state.
Piedmont's commitment to the liberal arts has not changed either. The College's core curriculum covers nearly half of the total credits required for a degree. This ensures that all students gain a broad competence in the liberal arts, regardless of their field of specialization.
Piedmont offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in 44 areas and in 1999 began accepting students in the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. The School of Nursing is nationally accredited and provides a community-based curriculum with a focus on health promotion. The College is also accredited to award Master of Arts degrees in education and business, as well as Specialist and Doctoral degrees in education.
Piedmont has an excellent teacher preparation program, with extensive training available in early childhood, middle-grades, secondary and special education. The small class size and the cohesiveness of the Piedmont community help students to develop their full potential and to acquire the skills needed for successful, professional careers.
Piedmont College is becoming more national and international in scope. Currently, more than 20 states and 10 foreign countries are represented at Piedmont. These students bring a diversity of backgrounds and beliefs to the campus, and their presence allows all students to develop an appreciation and understanding of other cultures.
Piedmont has residence halls available for men and women. Student life is enhanced with a variety of activities, including intercollegiate sports in men's and women's basketball, cross country, golf, tennis, lacrosse, and soccer; men's baseball; and women's softball and volleyball. There are active intramural teams in a variety of sports, and the College's fitness center features modern equipment and professional instruction.
Clubs and organizations on campus allow students to be involved in many areas of interest, from music and art to math and physics. Moreover, the College offers several enhancement programs, including Piedmont Scholars, Honors College and the Lyceum series. These programs enrich the lives of students by presenting many outstanding speakers and encouraging reflection in small discussion groups. Lyceum events include musical performances, plays and lectures for students and the surrounding community.