- John B. Stephenson becomes President.
- Berea assumes publication of Appalachian Heritage, a regional literary magazine.
- The Appalachian Museum receives a grant from the Kentucky Humanities Council to develop a slide program on Appalachian coverlets.
- A $240,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation allows the College to launch the High School-College Cooperative Learning Program. This program consists of weekend workshops and two-week summer seminars for high school teachers and provides College professors as teaching consultants in local schools.
-Conference on Appalachian Research (Mellon Fellowship Program) is held to highlight selected projects and consider avenues of research.
- Berea College assumes custodianship of the Appalachian Fund.
- The Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center (AMERC) is established at Berea.
1987 - The New Opportunity School for Women is established.
1988 - The Brushy Fork Institute is created to promote education and economic development in central Appalachia.
The Foxfire-Berea program of the Eastern Kentucky Teachers Network is established.
Black Mountain Improvement Association formed to focus on African American community. It organized the community to tutor, work on health issues & education, and provided technical assistance to community leaders. An additional component was the Black Mountain Youth Leadership Program, a summer program for African American youth.
1990 - Berea is chosen by the Bonner Foundation to pilot the first Bonner Scholars program which focuses on learning through service.
1991 - Berea begins to host a federal TRIO Talent Search program, which provides school-based academic counseling and career exploration activities and focuses on college preparatory support for qualifying students in grades 8-12. Talent Search focuses on Clay, McCreary, and Pulaski counties.