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Berea's Appalachian Commitment Timeline

Francis S. Hutchins: President 1939 - 1967

1939 - Francis S. Hutchins becomes President.


- A variety of changes in territorial definition result in Berea serving 230 counties in 8 states.

- Admissions Department is also established in this year.

1943 - At the invitation of the state Department of Education, Berea becomes a partner with seven other Kentucky colleges in a rural school-development project. Berea's special county is Pulaski. After five years of effort, Berea's direct assistance is no longer needed.


- Black Students are readmitted to Berea.

- Berea sponsors the Pine Mountain Community Study. The Pine Mountain Settlement School had been closed in 1949 and Berea President Francis Hutchins believed a socio-economic study of the area would be useful in light of expected changes produced by county school consolidation. Conducted by Berea professor Roscoe Giffin, the study analyzed the effects of family size, income, mobility, social values, and educational attainment. A series of articles concerning the study appear in Mountain Life & Work in 1953.

1953 - With a Ford Foundation grant, Berea launches the Rural School Improvement Project. 63 teachers are placed in 14 mountain counties. During the four years the Rural School Improvement Project was funded, 38 schools participate and 5,000 children benefit from improved instruction. Nothing of this scope and thoroughness had been attempted in Kentucky before.

1958 - Board of Trustees member Willis D. Weatherford, Sr. spearheads the Southern Appalachian Studies Project, funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation. The results become the 1962 Southern Appalachian Regional survey.


- Berea professor Richard Drake begins teaching Appalachian History, possibly the first such course in the country.

- Berea College hosts a two week workshop on urban adjustment of Southern Appalachian migrants, funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

1960 - Roughly 90% of students from southern Appalachia.

1964 - Berea students play a role in launching the Appalachian Volunteers.


- Campus Action For Mountain Progress (CAMP) begins.

- The Berea College Library's growing collection of Appalachian materials is named the Weatherford-Hammond Mountain Collection.

- Berea hosts the Conference on Appalachian Development, a series of program discussions centering on regional problems and "realistic" proposals meeting the needs of the area.


- Hearings are held at Berea as part of the National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty. Interviews and discussions involve topics such as health, employment and education.

- The Torchlight Project, a cultural enrichment program helping 15-19 year old students to avoid dropping out or in returning to school, begins. 200 students participate in 1966; 125 in 1967.