William Carey University is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the United States, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Mississippi Baptist Convention. The main campus is located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with a second campus located in the Tradition community near Gulfport, Mississippi and Biloxi, Mississippi.
In the 2017 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges, William Carey University was ranked No. 2 Best Value among regional universities in the South for the second consecutive year. In 2015, William Carey University was ranked No. 1 Best Value among regional universities in the South.
William Carey University was founded by W. I. Thames in 1892 as Pearl River Boarding School in Poplarville, Mississippi. A disastrous fire destroyed the school in 1905, and in 1906, with the backing of a group of New Orleans businessmen, Thames re-opened the school in Hattiesburg as South Mississippi College. Another fire destroyed the young institution, forcing it to close. In 1911, W. S. F. Tatum acquired the property and offered it as a gift to the Baptists, and the school re-opened as Mississippi Woman's College. In 1953, the Mississippi Baptist Convention voted to move the college into coeducational status, which necessitated a new name for the institution. In 1954, the board of trustees selected the name of William Carey College in honor of William Carey, the eighteenth century English cobbler-linguist whose decades of missionary activity in India earned him international recognition as the “Father of Modern Missions.” The school changed to university status in 2006.
The university offers baccalaureate degrees in the areas of arts and letters, education, natural and behavioral sciences, business, religion, music, and nursing. The university also offers M.B.A, M.Ed., M.S. in psychology, M.S. in Health Information Systems, and an M.S.N. degree, as well as a specialist degree in elementary education and a Ph.D. in education administration. In 2009, William Carey opened the College of Osteopathic Medicine, and 2010, welcomed its first class of 110 students. In 2012, Carey added a Ph.D. program in nursing. Three trimesters of eleven weeks each comprise the academic year. Two summer sessions, a J-term, and a May Term session are also offered.
The institution that is now William Carey University had its earliest origins in Poplarville, Mississippi, when the noted educator W. I. Thames opened Pearl River Boarding School in 1892. As did many institutions of its day, Pearl River Boarding School offered “elementary, preparatory, and some college work.” A disastrous fire destroyed the school in 1905, and Professor Thames moved to Hattiesburg where, with the backing of a group of New Orleans businessmen, he opened South Mississippi College in 1906. After a fire destroyed this campus, W.S.F. Tatum acquired the property and in 1911, opened the school as Mississippi Woman’s College. In 1954, the Board of Trustees changed its name to William Carey College when the college became coeducational. The school is named for the 18th century English cobbler-linguist whose decades of missionary activity in India earned him international recognition as the “Father of Modern Protestant Missions.” William Carey D.D. (1761-1834.)
In 1939, the school, which was then called the Mississippi Woman's College, took third place in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, and it remains the only women's college to ever place in that competition.
In 1968 William Carey entered a new era when it announced a merger with the prestigious Mather School of Nursing in New Orleans.
In 1976, the college purchased the Gulf Coast Military Academy campus in Gulfport. The beachfront property was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and classes were held in other facilities until the William Carey University-Tradition Campus opened in August 2009. Located off Highway 67 in Biloxi, it is the center of the 4,800-acre Tradition Planned Community.
On August 14, 2006, William Carey University celebrated its Centennial. This day also marked the transition of William Carey College to William Carey University.
William Carey University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral degrees.
William Carey University has received accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) for its business and management programs offered through the School of Business.
The William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine is the 29th osteopathic medical school in the United States. Upon the graduation of its inaugural class in 2014, the school was fully accredited by the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.
On October 23, 2007, the Board of Trustees at William Carey University (WCU) unanimously voted to authorize Dr. Tommy King, president, to employ a dean for the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM). The rationale was to open the COM to address the severe shortage of physicians in Mississippi and surrounding states and to impact the healthcare of rural Mississippians.
In January 2008, Michael K. Murphy, D.O., was employed to aid in accomplishing this goal. On March 3, 2008, the College was officially established. Press conferences were held in Jackson at the Mississippi Baptist Convention Building and on the Hattiesburg campus of WCU on March 7, 2008. The President announced the establishment of the College and introduced Dr. Murphy, the founding dean. William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine was awarded provisional accreditation by the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation at its meeting September 12–13, 2009. On September 13, 2009, William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine was awarded provisional accreditation status by the Council on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). In August 2010, the university welcomed its inaugural class of 110 medical students.
The William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine is the state’s second medical school and the first in the region to focus on osteopathic medicine. The medical college graduated its first class in 2014 and a second class in 2015.
On January 21, 2017, the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine was severely damaged after being struck by a tornado, as was nearly every building on campus. There were no fatalities.
The Winters School of Music is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. The music therapy program is accredited by the American Music Therapy Association.
William Carey University's Department of Theatre & Communication began in 1915 by Kate Downs P'Pool, and has garnered a reputation for outstanding work. Since 1994, the department has become actively involved in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. In 2001, William Carey's production of And David Danced was selected for presentation at the National Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C. In the same year, the department was honored with the Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. The department has also twice taken faculty and students to Nairobi, Kenya, to produce the musical Smoke on the Mountain. The department produces three productions per year, normally a drama, a children's theatre piece, and a comedy or musical. Their venue is the Joe and Virginia Tatum Theatre.
Carey Dinner Theatre began in 1974 as the "Carey Summer Showcase" under the management of Obra Quave. The longest-running dinner theatre in the state of Mississippi (30+ years), CDT brings professional summer theatre to WCU and the surrounding community. Two CDT alumni (Phillip Fortenberry and Keith Thompson) have gone onto professional Broadway music careers. CDT produces two shows per summer, normally light-hearted comedies or musicals.
The Joseph and Nancy Fail School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, by the board of trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning of the State of Mississippi, and approved in New Orleans by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing.
The Student Government Association, SGA, is the head of all campus organizations. The SGA hosts Welcome Week, Homecoming Week (along with the Alumni office), and various activities throughout the year. In addition to activities, the SGA works as a liaison between the students and administration.
William Carey University operates in accordance with its Baptist affiliation and has many programs for its 4000 students. CareyBSU offers Bible studies, ministry to the surrounding area and apartments, mission opportunities, and "Priority Lunch." It also offers CampusLink which is a worship service time.
The university is served by a newspaper, The Cobbler, which publishes once a month and alternates between a print and online edition. The Cobbler has been in existence since the 1950s; prior to the name change to WCU, it was known as The Scissors and operated from the 1920s until the 1950s.
The name of the yearbook is The Crusader (it was known as The Pine Burr in the MWC days). There is also a literary magazine, The Indigo and an alumni magazine, Carey.
Other campus organizations are: African-American Culture Society, Association of Campus Presidents (President’s Round Table, Association of Church Musicians Carey Carillon, Carey Chorale, Carey Connection, Carey Jitsu, Carey Scholars, Carpenter’s Wood, Chapel Choir, Cheerleading, Church Related Vocations, Crusader for Life, Diamond Girls, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Instrumental Chamber Ensemble, International Student Organization, Music Educators National Conference, Panhellenic Council, Piano Ensemble, Pine Belt Reading Council, Serampore Players, Society for Advancement of Management, Speech and Debate (Joe Roberts Forensics Society), Student Music Therapy Association, and Student Nurses Association
Three Christian-oriented organizations exist on campus. Gamma Chi is one sorority focused on sisterhood and service. Gamma Chi's colors are red, black, and white and the mascot is a panda. Pi Omega is a social and service sorority. Kappa Tau Xi is a social and service fraternity.
William Carey teams are known as the Crusaders. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC). The Crusaders formerly competed in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and track & field.
Most of the teams are nationally ranked within the N.A.I.A. structure and typically move on to the conference play-offs and the national championship rounds. The athletic department maintains its own website separate from the main university site. The Student Services administration also organizes various indoor and outdoor sports and games through its intramural program.Dan Jennings (Class of 1984), former manager of the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball.
Ezell Lee (Class of ?), Democratic and, later, Republican politician in the Mississippi House of Representatives and Mississippi Senate.
Chris McDaniel (Class of 1994), attorney and Republican politician in the Mississippi Senate since 2008.
Michael Parker (Class of 1978), Democratic and, later, Republican politician in the U.S. House of Representatives and former Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) under President George W. Bush.
Argile Smith (Class of 1977), incoming interim president of Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana
Larkin I. Smith (Class of ?), former police chief, county sheriff, and Republican politician in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1989 until his untimely death in August of the same year.
John Stephenson (Class of ?), retired Major League Baseball player who was a catcher from 1964-1973.