Last summer  the trustees proposed to change the name of the school to Greenville Baptist College. The action, however, was withdrawn later. Any further consideration by the trustees will probably bring no immediate action, at least, until some future time. In the meantime, further thought by alumni and friends on this and other questions pertaining to the well-being of the college may be enhanced by reflecting upon the past.
Let us first consider some of the modifications made to the name of North Greenville during the past seventy-five years. In 1892 when the school was first established, the name suggested by Rev. Benjamin P. Robertson and adopted by the North Greenville Baptist Association was North Greenville High School. Since the school was to be under the control of and supported by the Association, the choice of this particular name seems to have been appropriate. The purpose of the school, as stated in the Articles by which it was to be governed, was “to prepare students to enter college and to teach them the Bible.” It is interesting to note, however, that children of all ages were accepted and that instruction was offered on three levels, primary, intermediate, and academic – the latter referring especially to the high school division. From 1898 to 1905 North Greenville also served as the free public school for the local community, but according to a citizen who was a student at the time, “some patrons objected to this absorption of the free public school so the arrangement was soon terminated.”
The first alteration to the original name of the school was made in 1915, although the conditions prompting the change had developed several years earlier. On September 15, 1915, a new charter was applied for and North Greenville Baptist Academy was designated as the official name of the school.
Since 1905, the school had been supported jointly by the Association and the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. This additional financial support first became a reality when the trustees and the Association voted in 1905 to accept the offer of the Home Mission Board to add North Greenville to its system of mountain high schools. D. R. Evans, secretary of the board of trustees made this statement concerning the benefits of this action: “This does not change our relation to the school, but simply adds the fostering care and supervision of the Home Mission Board to our efforts to build and conduct a first-class high school.” At least half of the forty schools fostered by the Board were designated academies. Academy was a word used by John Milton, a noted seventeenth century writer of England, to designate an ideal educational institution. In England during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the name was given to secondary schools organized to provide general education for Puritan children and training of young men for the Puritan ministry.
The second modification in the name of the school was made in 1935 when the trustees voted to add college work to the curriculum. During that summer, after the decision had been reached to continue with the second year of college work, the Association voted to authorize the trustees to change the name to North Greenville Baptist Academy and Junior College. Regular high school work on a four-year plan was continued until 1940 when it seemed wise to phase out the first two years of this work. This was done, and from 1942-1957 the academy division offered only the last two years of high school work. In anticipation of the final elimination of all such work the trustees voted in 1951 to change the name to North Greenville Junior College. This was made the official name in the spring of 1951 when the General Assembly of South Carolina passed a resolution to that effect.
It is noted that North Greenville remained as an important part of the name, in spite of the fact that in 1949 the control and support of the school passed from the North Greenville Association to the South Carolina Baptist Convention. This tendency to hold on to that part of the original name may be construed as a tribute to the devotion and fidelity of the Association that founded and nurtured the school through the first sixty years of its existence. Some are of the opinion that this name should be retained permanently.
However, it requires little research to discover instances of colleges whose names have been changed completely. Sometimes this new name has been chosen to honor a particularly generous donor or benefactor; at other times the change has been prompted by an enlargement and expansion of the offerings of the institution.
In conclusion, a brief statement will be made concerning the word “junior” as applied to a two-year college. Most of the two-year denominational colleges in South Carolina and North Carolina do not use the word “junior” in their titles. However, a glance at the Junior College Directory of the country shows that approximately half of the two-year colleges throughout the nation do carry the word “junior” in their titles.
As a matter of information and interest I requested Mr. Howard to prepare this article. It may be noted that he did not include two other proposals of a change in the name of the school. According to information given me, Dr. Sam Lawton several years ago proposed that the school be called Aurora College. More recently Donnan College was discussed as a possible change, but this proposal was later withdrawn. It should be noted that North Greenville has served the community and South Carolina Baptists well by either name it has ever been known – The Editor.
Article written by Dr. Henry J. Howard for the Winter 1968 issue of the North Greenville Junior College Alumni Magazine.