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University Convocation


Monday, August 14, 2006, 10:00 A.M.  Smith Auditorium


President Larry Kennedy announces name change to William Carey University


At its February meeting the William Carey College Board of Trustees authorized the schoolís attorney to initiate the legal process for changing to university status. In a regular session on May 10, 2006 the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendation to change the name of the institution to William Carey University to honor its growth and enhance its potential in an increasingly global environment. The charter has been approved. This name is the fourth in the one hundred year history of the institution.

With this announcement, William Carey will now offer expanded educational opportunities to students. Additional graduate programs, off campus classes, and increased use of technology will provide more course offerings for both undergraduate and graduate students. In recent years the enrollment had continued to increase on all campuses prior to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

In addition to the 120 acre main campus in Hattiesburg, William Carey on the Coast is located in Gulfport and the School of Nursing has a program on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Plans are underway to relocate the campus of William Carey on the Coast inland near Interstate 10. Presently, sixteen modular units are on the Beach Boulevard location where classes will be conducted until facilities are built at a new location.

In 1906 South Mississippi College was established as a co-educational institution. Its president was Dr. W. I. Thames, a prominent Mississippi educator. The impressive building program of the young college was short lived when a major fire destroyed much of the campus. In 1911 W. F. S. Tatum, a highly successful timberland owner and operator, acquired the property housing two wooden structures. He gave it as a gift to Mississippi Baptists with the stipulation that it would operate as a Christian college for girls.

In 1911 Mississippi Womanís College opened with Dr. W. W. Rivers serving as interim president until Dr. J. L. Johnson of Virginia was named president.

Under the presidency of Dr. I. E. Rouse, the college became co-educational and the name was changed to William Carey College in 1954 to honor the Father of the Modern Missionary Movement. In 1956 Dr. Ralph Noonkester became president and served for 32 years

Dr. Larry W. Kennedy has been president since 1998.

The official change to University status will take place on Monday, August 14, the first day of the fall trimester. A formal convocation will be held at 10:00 a.m. in Smith Auditorium of Thomas Hall. Alumni, friends, and the public are invited to join the university family and special guests for the event.

"On this special day we honor all of those who in our hundred year history invested their lives and resources in this beloved institution. We honor thousands of alumni, past presidents, faculty and staff, and the faithful donors and supporters of William Carey. We honor residents of the area, Mississippi Baptists, and friends who through the decades realized the importance of maintaining a faith-based college in south Mississippi," said President Kennedy.

The University celebrates its centennial in 2006 with the theme "Celebrating The Past; Embracing The Future" and will host a Celebration Reception in October at the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

William Carey University is a private university accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Masterís degrees are offered in education, business administration, psychology and nursing. Seven baccalaureate degrees are offered in 24 major fields. Post-graduate courses will be offered in the future. For more information, visit or call 1-800-962-5991.

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