Entries - Entry Category: Campuses and Schools - Starting with S

Shorter College

aka: Bethel Institute
Shorter College in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a two-year institution of higher learning with a liberal arts curriculum that has expanded to include para-professional programs. Founded as Bethel Institute in 1886 by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) to educate former slaves and to train teachers, the college occupies three and a half blocks at 600 Locust Street, east of Interstate 30. A thirty-three-member board of trustees, chaired by the bishop of the AME’s Twelfth Episcopal District in Arkansas and Oklahoma, oversees the school. Classes were first held in the basement of Bethel AME Church at 9th and Broadway in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on September 15, 1886. Rising enrollment led to acquisition in 1888 of a two-story frame building …

Sloan-Hendrix Academy

In 1891, the board of trustees of Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) recommended, in part to help provide for an educated clergy, a plan to build affiliated academies. The recommendation was adopted unanimously, and five academies were organized, the second being Sloan-Hendrix Academy in Imboden (Lawrence County). Imboden was selected due to the support of the local citizens and the influence of businessman W. C. Sloan, reportedly the wealthiest man in the county. The community provided land for the campus and money for buildings and equipment. The school was established in 1899 and set to open a campus located southeast of town. The buildings were not completed on time, however, and the classes of the first session were held …

Smithville Public School Building

The Smithville Public School Building, located on Highway 117 in Smithville (Lawrence County), is a single-story, T-shaped educational structure built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 14, 1993. The first school in Smithville, then the county seat of Lawrence County, was a one-room log building built before the Civil War at the southwest corner of the Smithville Cemetery. School teacher Jasper N. Hillhouse later built a one-room building in 1872 on land that was donated by W. C. Sloan. As Smithville thrived in the late nineteenth century, two rooms were added to accommodate the growing student population. Smithville’s fortunes waned in …

Soulesbury Institute

aka: Soulesbury College
The Arkansas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized in 1836 and held its first meeting in Batesville (Independence County) that fall. The Methodist Church had a longstanding interest in education, and by 1860 it was sponsoring Ouachita Conference Female College in Tulip (Dallas County), Wallace Institute in Van Buren (Crawford County), Arkadelphia Female College in Arkadelphia (Clark County), the Washington Male and Female Seminary in Washington (Hempstead County), the Elm Springs Academy at Elm Springs (Hempstead County), and the Soulesbury Institute in Batesville. The Soulesbury Institute was established in 1849, and classes began in January 1850. The name Soulesbury was chosen to honor Bishop Joshua Soule, a leader in organizing the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and Francis …

South Arkansas Community College (SouthArk)

South Arkansas Community College, commonly referred to as SouthArk, is a comprehensive two-year public college based in El Dorado (Union County). The college offers an extensive program of transfer credit courses, allied health degrees, associate’s degree and technical certificate programs, computer technology programs, skilled trades courses, GED courses, and non-credit continuing education programs for the general public. 1,715 students are enrolled as of September 2014. The college opened in 1992 when Governor Bill Clinton signed legislation merging the El Dorado branch of Southern Arkansas University (SAU) and Oil Belt Technical College into one college: South Arkansas Community College. Oil Belt had opened as Oil Belt Vocational-Technical School in 1967 just east of El Dorado, and it now serves as the East …

South Elementary School (Wynne)

South Elementary School, located at 711 East Union Avenue in Wynne (Cross County), is a single-story, brick-veneered four-room schoolhouse constructed in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 2006. In the early part of the twentieth century, white children in Wynne’s segregated school system were attending classes in a 1906 building; in 1928, an elementary school and gymnasium were erected when President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal offered an opportunity for funds for a new school. The school district successfully applied for financing from the WPA to build a new school in the fall of 1938. The Wynne Daily Star-Progress reported in …

Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK)

The mission of Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK College) in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) is to provide comprehensive community college education and services, with an emphasis on technical education and workforce development, for the citizens of Jefferson, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Grant, and Lincoln counties. The predecessor of Southeast Arkansas College was Arkansas Vocational-Technical School, which began offering postsecondary vocational-technical programs on September 21, 1959. Act 328 of 1957 set the stage for the establishment of the first vocational-technical school in Arkansas to meet the needs of industry and thus provide jobs and raise the standard of living for Arkansas citizens. The school’s first director was Leon Coker, who headed it from 1958 to 1974. The school’s name was later changed to …

Southern Arkansas University (SAU)

Southern Arkansas University (SAU) is a comprehensive regional public university located in Magnolia (Columbia County). For over a century, the school has provided increasing levels of educational opportunity in southwest Arkansas. Third District Agricultural School The school was established on April 1, 1909, when Governor George W. Donaghey signed Act 100 creating the Third District Agricultural School (TDAS) and three sister institutions at Jonesboro (Craighead County), Monticello (Drew County), and Russellville (Pope County). The Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union had campaigned vigorously in Arkansas and other states for these vocational agricultural high schools, an educational reform of the Progressive Era. Communities bid money and land in efforts to become sites for the Arkansas schools. Small farmers’ contributions won TDAS for Columbia …

Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech)

Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) is a comprehensive two-year technical college located in Calhoun County, though its official address is in Camden (Ouachita County). The college was created by the Arkansas General Assembly as a technical trainer for the Highland Industrial Park, where the college is based. Today, SAU Tech provides technical training as well as transfer degrees as one of Arkansas’s two-year colleges. SAU Tech was founded as Southwest Technical Institute by Act 534 of the Arkansas General Assembly on April 5, 1967. The purpose of the institute was to provide a technically trained workforce for the Highland Industrial Park. Senator John L. McClellan approached the Brown Engineering Corporation, which had recently purchased the Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot—a …

Southland College

Southland College emerged out of a Civil War–era mission by Indiana Quakers who came to Helena (Phillips County) in 1864 to care for lost and abandoned black children. Its founders, Alida and Calvin Clark, were abolitionist members of the Religious Society of Friends who arrived in Arkansas to render temporary relief to displaced orphans. They stayed for the remainder of their working lives, establishing the school that became the first institution of higher education for African Americans west of the Mississippi River. The school survived six decades of economic adversity and social strife. After operating an orphanage and school in Helena for two years, in 1866, the Clarks, with the vital assistance of the officers and men of the Fifty-sixth …

Springdale College

Civic leaders in Springdale (Washington County) established the Springdale College Company on June 22, 1895, by filing articles of incorporation in Washington County. Forty-eight people committed to purchase two shares each, at $25.00 per share, to create the initial capital for the venture. In November 1895, the corporation purchased a building and land from the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Springdale to provide a college facility. The building had previously housed a common school for six grades, operated initially by the Baptists from 1871 and from 1885 by the Lutherans. After organizational delays, October 4, 1897, was finally set for the opening of the college. However, the educator selected to lead the college—Professor Charles Parsons of Webster, South Dakota—failed to …

Springfield Male and Female Collegiate Institute

aka: Springfield College
During the latter part of the nineteenth century, many communities in Arkansas established small institutions of higher learning in an effort to attract and retain young citizens. The small community of Springfield in northeastern Conway County organized the establishment of the Springfield Male and Female Collegiate Institute in the fall of 1887. At the time, Springfield was a thriving community, located at the junction of three important roads. Professor William Beverley Toon, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, was hired as president of the institute. The initial faculty also included Thomas Murphy and a Mr. Trumbul. While the local population composed much of the student population, many “boarding students” came from across the region. While many early schools were affiliated with …

St. Andrew’s College

St. Andrew’s College, located near Fort Smith (Sebastian County), was the first attempt to found a Roman Catholic college in Arkansas. It was established in 1849 by Irish native Andrew Byrne, the first bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock. Byrne never had more than ten priests in Arkansas, and he maintained the Church with funds from the Austrian-based Leopoldine society and the French-based Society for the Propagation of the Faith. With this support, Byrne purchased land near Fort Smith to found the first Catholic college in Arkansas. When later incorporated into Fort Smith, the area was known as the “Catholic mile.” It was bordered on the north by Grand Avenue, on the south by Dodson Avenue, and on the east …

St. John’s Seminary

St. John’s Seminary opened in 1911 in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on Gaines Street as a wing of the Little Rock College for Boys. In its fifty-six-year run, the seminary produced hundreds of pastors, teachers, chaplains, and priests. The seminary was relocated to North Tyler Street in Little Rock’s Pulaski Heights neighborhood in 1916 but was closed in 1967 due to financial constraints and a shortage of trained faculty. Today, the campus is the home of the St. John Catholic Center, housing the administrative offices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock. St. John’s Seminary was started in September 1911 by Bishop John Baptist Morris, who decided the best way to obtain new priests was to open a seminary …

St. Johns’ College

St. Johns’ College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), a school created and run by Arkansas Freemasons, was the first institution of higher education chartered in Arkansas (though the third to open its doors). During its short life, it trained some of the most important future leaders in Arkansas. The vision of the people involved set the stage for Arkansas to provide a quality education for its citizens. Grand Master Elbert H. English, at the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in November 1850, announced the desire of state Masons to create a college for the purpose of educating Arkansas’s citizenry: “Several of the Grand Lodges of our sister states have led off in this noble cause by the …

Stuttgart Training School

aka: Stuttgart College
aka: Stuttgart Normal School
Stuttgart Training School, an educational facility offering college preparation to students in the Stuttgart (Arkansas County) area, operated under several names from 1889 through 1915. Known alternately as Stuttgart Normal Institute, Stuttgart College, and Stuttgart Training School, it was affiliated at various times with the Presbyterian and Methodist denominations and operated for a time as a non-sectarian academy. It offered unusually well-educated professors for a school of its size and for a town as newly settled as Stuttgart. Many of the school’s students would go on to become the Grand Prairie region’s leading citizens of the early to mid-twentieth century, including Belle McFall and Fred Wilcox. The school occupied ten acres along the south side of 15th Street, between Grand …

Subiaco Abbey and Academy

Subiaco Abbey and Academy, a Benedictine monastery and college-prep boarding school, began as St. Benedict’s Colony, established in 1877. St. Benedict’s Colony provided for the settlement of German-speaking immigrants in western Arkansas and laid the groundwork for the Subiaco Academy and Subiaco Abbey, both founded in 1891. The academy and abbey evolved over the last 100 years into the present Subiaco Abbey and Academy, located on extensive farmland in Logan County. By 1877, Abbot Martin Marty of St. Meinrad’s Abbey in southern Indiana was pursuing his dream of establishing a Benedictine mission on the western frontier. After hearing of the desire for a German Catholic colony in Arkansas, Marty contacted the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad in order to …

Sulphur Rock Male and Female Academy

The Sulphur Rock Male and Female Academy was a leading educational institution in northeast Arkansas. Founded in 1872 in the town of Sulphur Rock (Independence County), the one-building school operated until 1906, when it was incorporated into the local public school system. Sulphur Rock was an early settlement in northeastern Arkansas, located near Batesville (Independence County). In June 1872, a group of townspeople met to discuss the creation of a local academy; forty-four signatories to the founding document pledged a total of $2,261 for the school’s creation. The board of trustees purchased a two-and-one-half-acre plot of land upon which was built a two-story, four-room, white frame building. However, the school was closed by 1875 after John G. Martin, who alleged …