It was a momentous decision they made on Oct. 14, 1891. At the fourth annual meeting of the North Greenville Baptist Association, members appointed a committee of nine men to determine the best location for establishing a new high school in the northern region of Greenville County in South Carolina.
The recommendation to create the committee came in response to a suggestion made at an earlier associational meeting by John Ballenger of the Tigerville community. He asked that the association consider the possibility of providing educational opportunities for mountain area children, as there were only three high schools in the entire county at that time.
The work of the committee led to the establishment of what would later become North Greenville University. Benjamin F. Neves offered 10 acres of beautiful, rolling land — located midway between Glassy Mountain to the north and Paris Mountain to the south. By 1892, the first building was completed and ready for occupancy, and North Greenville High School began with the arrival of the first students on Jan. 16, 1893.
The State of South Carolina chartered the institution as North Greenville High School in 1904. The next year, the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention assumed control of the school as part of its Mountain Mission School System, a relationship that lasted for 25 years. In 1929, the North Greenville Baptist Association again accepted responsibility for the school, which had been renamed North Greenville Baptist Academy in 1915.
In 1934, the academy amended its charter to include a junior college in addition to the existing high school. Fifteen years later, the growing institution was transferred from the founding association to the direct control of the General Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
In 1957, North Greenville College received accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a two-year liberal arts college, at the same time discontinuing its high school courses. Previously, an amendment to the charter in 1950 changed the name to North Greenville Junior College, and the word “Junior” was deleted from the title of the college in 1972.
In 1991, North Greenville College reaffirmed its basic commitment to quality education, applying to the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to offer bachelor’s degrees in Christian Studies and church music. The school was given candidacy status the following summer, with its initial cohort of upperclassmen enrolling in the fall semester of 1992. Level II accreditation was granted in June 1994. Then, in 1997, the college’s Teacher Education Program received approval from the South Carolina Department of Education.
The college continued to grow and add new bachelor’s degree programs over the years, then earned status as a university in 2006. At that time, North Greenville University also began granting master’s degrees, specifically the Master of Christian Ministry (MCM) and the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Today, North Greenville University awards more than 50 undergraduate, online undergraduate, and graduate degrees — including both master’s and doctorate degrees.
In the course of the school’s existence, North Greenville has benefited from a stabilized enrollment, strengthened academic program, and improved campus facilities. Throughout this period of development, however, the fundamental purpose for North Greenville has remained constant: to provide a quality educational experience in the context of genuine, Christ-centered commitment.