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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Methodist College

by Richard A. Jenkins, 2006

Methodist College, a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, was chartered in Fayetteville in 1956 and first opened its doors in September 1960. The school was established in response to several factors. The end of World War II triggered a tremendous surge in undergraduate enrollment at schools across the nation and a similar increase in low interest federal loans for college expansion. At the same time, the national governing body of the Methodist Church began to emphasize undergraduate education. This emphasis encouraged the North Carolina Conference, led by presiding bishop Paul N. Garber, to propose at least one new college to augment Duke University and Louisburg College. Such proposals counted on the willingness of Methodist communities across the nation to provide cash and land incentives to new colleges. Intense competition between North Carolina communities in the 1950s led to the creation of two schools: North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount and Methodist College in Fayetteville. Fayetteville and Cumberland County offered $2 million to match the North Carolina Conference's capital contribution; the community also promised $50,000 in annual support.

Methodist College has drawn students primarily from North Carolina. The number of these students grew from 154 in 1960-61 to more than 1,000 by 1967. By the early 2000s, the school served approximately 2,000 students who were pursuing either associate or bachelor's degrees through the college's full-time program or its evening/weekend program.

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