Young Harris College
|Motto||Hic iuventus incenditur(Latin)|
Motto in English
|Here Youth is Inspired|
|Type||Liberal arts college|
|Affiliation||United Methodist Church|
|Location||Young Harris, Georgia, US|
|Campus||35 acres, Rural|
|Colors||Purple and White|
|Athletics||baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, basketball, golf, cross-country, lacrosse|
Young Harris College is a private, four-year Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college located in the mountains of northeast Georgia. The current president is Cathy Cox, former Georgia Secretary of State.
The school was originally founded in 1886 by Reverend Artemas Lester, a circuit-riding Methodist minister who wanted to provide the residents of the Appalachian Mountains with an education. Originally known as McTyeire Institute for the small village where the school was located, the college struggled for the first year until an Athens, Georgia judge, Young L.G. Harris, donated enough money to keep the school open. The school was later renamed Young Harris College in honor of its benefactor, as was the surrounding town in 1895. A fire destroyed the college's main classroom building in 1911, but it was rebuilt by local townspeople and named Sharp Hall in honor of the college president at the time. The Young Harris Academy was founded in the late 19th century and provided a primary education for thousands of students until it closed after World War II.
Margaret Adger Pitts, who died in 1998, left an estate valued at $192 million, mostly in Coca-Cola stock acquired by her father in the 1920s. YHC was one of four Georgia entities named to receive the yearly dividends and trust proceeds, approximately $3 million to each of the beneficiaries. The college announced that the money would be used for scholarships, improvements to the campus, and religious programs.
Since the early 1910s, YHC was a two-year school, granting associate's degrees. In 2008, the college earned its four-year accreditation through regional accreditation organization, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and was approved to offer bachelor's degrees in biology, business and public policy, English, and music. In February 2010, Young Harris' accreditation was expanded to include communication studies, history, outdoor leadership, theatre, and musical theatre in the list of sanctioned bachelor's programs.
Young Harris College serves a student body population of over 1,100 students, with approximately 100 from the surrounding area. The college has stated its intent to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years. To support this growth, Young Harris has begun to hire "significant new faculty [members]" and to "construct three major new facilities."
Enotah Hall, a new residence facility for 200 students, opened in August 2009 between Manget Hall and Rollins Hall. Its suites are arranged with two-bedrooms and two baths for four students, and include computer study spaces, rooms for music practice, and meeting rooms. It was designed to be energy efficient and received a LEED Silver certification.
Construction began on April 24, 2009 on a new, $15 million, 57,000 sq ft (5,300 m2) Recreation and Fitness Center. In addition to the fitness center, there is an elevated track, a 37’ climbing wall, aerobic exercise rooms, 2 basketball courts for intramurals and concession facilities featuring a juice bar. The complex contains a 1,100 seat arena for intercollegiate competition in basketball and volleyball. The lower level houses locker rooms and offices for coaches and staff. It opened in late July, 2010 with a tour by college president Cathy Cox. The Rec center also received LEED certification.
Following completion of the Rec Center in 2010, a new student residence area, "The Village" for 248 students was constructed in 14 apartment buildings where a cluster of the school's tennis courts had been previously located.
The last of three projects approved for construction in 2008 was the largest ever built at Young Harris. The design of the Rollins Campus Center was finalized with 125,000 sq ft (11,600 m2) of space with a projected cost of $41 million. The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation gave $22 million toward construction of the structure, which has four separate areas: The 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) student center is used for multiple purposes. The 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2) library is twice the size of the earlier Duckworth Library and has been named for former Governor Zell Miller and his wife Shirley, both distinguished alumni. The new dining hall seats more than 500, almost double the previous dining hall capacity, and the "Charles Suber Banquet Hall" is a rentable facility serving 350. Ground was broken for construction on April 5, 2013 and the facility opened in October 2014.
Young Harris's sports teams are called the Mountain Lions. On July 1, 2014, the school completed the transition from the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level. The college originally applied to the NCAA in 2010, but the application was rejected. The school re-applied in 2011 and received acceptance into the three-year process to become a full member. As of the 2011-12 academic year, Young Harris was in the first year of candidacy-membership.
Young Harris College became a member of the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) effective July 1, 2012. As part of the transition process into the NCAA, the college began NCAA Division II and Peach Belt Conference schedules for its athletic teams and was immediately eligible for all regular-season championships and other conference awards. During the transition process into the NCAA the college is ineligible for NCAA postseason automatic bids as well as for participation in any PBC Championships which award automatic bids to NCAA Tournaments. As part of the transition to the NCAA, Young Harris College reinstated its men's basketball program in 2010, bringing intercollegiate basketball to the college for the first time in 40 years; at the same time, YHC added women's basketball. The college added men's and women's lacrosse teams and a competitive cheerleading team in the 2012-13 academic year.
Young Harris competes in nine sports:
The Young Harris Lady Mountain Lions won the 2006 NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer National Championship, under coach Kathy Brown. Women's soccer coach Kathy Brown originally served as the assistant coach at Jacksonville State University before coming to Young Harris in 1997 and starting the women's soccer team. In just her first season as a head coach, Coach Brown celebrated her first state championship. Since then she has led the Lady Mountain Lions to seven more state titles.
The men's soccer team was a regional finalist in 2006 & 2007. In 1998, led by former coach Jim Thomas, the Young Harris Mountain Lions won the 1998 NJCAA Division I State Soccer Title.
Baseball coach Rick Robinson earned his 500th win at Young Harris in April 2009, and had been highly successful in placing players in Division I schools. The Young Harris Baseball Team has captured eight Georgia Junior College titles and five Region XVII titles since 1999, and advanced to the Junior College World Series 2007. The team has averaged 49 wins per season each year since 2004. The team plays on the Zell B. Miller Field.
The school fielded a successful men's basketball team in the 1950s and 1960s, and on November 13, 2010, the sport returned after a 40-year absence. The men's head coach is Pete Herrmann, formerly at the University of Georgia. Women's basketball began at Young Harris on November 15, 2010 with coach Brenda Paul.
The College offers various opportunities for students to engage, socialize and participate in organizations relating to academic topics, intramural and club sports, media and publications, service, special interest, spiritual and religious, student government and Greek life.
The roots of the Young Harris Greek system began with the men's debating societies of the late 1880s. The Young Harris Debating Society (YHDS) and the Phi Chi Debating Society (PC) were academic in nature, and lasted through the 1950s. Young Harris women formed the literary societies Susan B. Harris Society (EBE) and Phi Delta Society (PD).
During the 1960s, these organizations became more social than academic. YHDS was chartered as Upsilon Delta Sigma fraternity in 1967 and paired up with the Susan B. Harris Society, which became known as Sigma Beta Sigma sorority. Phi Chi fraternity linked to Phi Delta sorority. On January 3, 1968, Kappa Tau Omega became the third fraternity on campus with nine charter members. Alpha Iota formed as the third sorority in the early 1970s. In the fall of 1987, Zeta Pi formed as the fourth fraternity on campus.
On February 19, 2010, Young Harris college gained its first nationally-affiliated fraternity when 28 undergraduate men formed Kappa Sigma's Rho-Pi chapter. Phi Sigma Kappa national fraternity followed with a colony in early 2014. Phi Sigma Kappa officially chartered on April 25, 2015, becoming the Gamma Octaton Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa.
Fraternities and sororities are important to campus life at the college. There are thirteen Greek organizations, and students are strongly encouraged to "find the perfect fit".
Young Harris College is highly regarded in Georgia and has had more of an impact on the state's politics and society than would be expected from a small school in the mountains. Over the last 100+ years, many Young Harris students have chosen careers in public service; the ministry and teaching have been traditional vocations. Politics has been the choice of a number of others. One U.S. Senator, two governors, a number of congressmen, state legislators and mayors all started out at YHC.
Famous graduates include former Georgia governors E. D. Rivers and U.S. Senator Zell Miller; entertainers Oliver Hardy, Wayland Flowers and Amanda Bearse; country music singers Ronnie Milsap and Trisha Yearwood; Major League Baseball players Nick Markakis, Charlie Blackmon and Cory Gearrin; Waffle House founder Tom Forkner; state Supreme Court Chief Justice William Henry Duckworth; state Senator J. Ebb Duncan and state Representative Hank Huckaby. Poet and novelist Byron Herbert Reece was a student and teacher at YHC.
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- History of Young L.G. Harris College, Thomas Jackson Lance, 1935, 61 pages
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- "Student life". Young Harris College. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
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- Baker, Katie (April 30, 2013). "Naked Sweethearts & Mud Crawls: A Small College's Big Hazing Problem". Jezebel. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
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- Huckaby legislature biography