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Young Harris College

Young Harris College
Former names
McTyeire Institute
Motto Hic iuventus incenditur(Latin)
Motto in English
Here Youth is Inspired
Established 1886
Type Liberal arts college
Affiliation United Methodist Church
Endowment US$100,000,000
President Cathy Cox
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 1,120 (2013)[1]
Location Young Harris, Georgia, US
Campus 35 acres, Rural
Colors Purple and White         
Athletics baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, basketball, golf, cross-country
Nickname Template:If empty

Young Harris College is a private, four-year Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college located in the mountains of northeast Georgia. The current president is Cathy Cox, former Georgia Secretary of State.[2]


File:Susan B. Harris Chapel, Young Harris College, Young Harris (Towns County, Georgia).JPG
Susan B. Harris Chapel, built in 1892, is the oldest building on the campus


The school was originally founded in 1886 by Reverend Artemas Lester, a circuit-riding Methodist minister who wanted to provide the residents of the Appalachian Mountains with an education. Originally known as McTyeire Institute for the small village where the school was located, the college struggled for the first year until an Athens, Georgia judge, Young L.G. Harris, donated enough money to keep the school open. The school was later renamed Young Harris College in honor of its benefactor, as was the surrounding town in 1895.[3] A fire destroyed the college's main classroom building in 1911, but it was rebuilt by local townspeople and named Sharp Hall in honor of the college president at the time. The Young Harris Academy was founded in the late 19th century and provided a primary education for thousands of students until it closed after World War II.[4]


Margaret Adger Pitts, who died in 1998, left an estate valued at $192 million, mostly in Coca-Cola stock acquired by her father in the 1920s. YHC was one of four Georgia entities named to receive the yearly dividends and trust proceeds, approximately $3 million to each of the beneficiaries. The college announced that the money would be used for scholarships, improvements to the campus, and religious programs.[5]


Since the early 1910s, YHC was a two-year school, granting associate's degrees. In 2008, the college earned its four-year accreditation through regional accreditation organization, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and was approved to offer bachelor's degrees in biology, business and public policy, English, and music. In February of 2010, Young Harris' accreditation was expanded to include communication studies, history, outdoor leadership, theatre, and musical theatre in the list of sanctioned bachelor's programs.[6]

File:Sharp Hall, Young Harris College, Young Harris (Towns County, Georgia).JPG
Sharp Hall, built in 1912, has the Office of the President, Myers Student Center, and YHC Bookstore

Young Harris College serves a student body population of over 1,000 students, with approximately 100 from the surrounding area. The college has stated its intent to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years. To support this growth, Young Harris has begun to hire "significant new faculty [members]" and to "construct three major new facilities."[7]

New facilities

Enotah Hall, a new residence facility for 200 students, opened in August 2009 between Manget Hall and Rollins Hall.[3] Its suites are arranged with two-bedrooms and two baths for four students, and include computer study spaces, rooms for music practice, and meeting rooms.[8] It was designed to be energy efficient and received a LEED Silver certification.[9]

Construction began on April 24, 2009 on a new, $15 million, Script error: No such module "convert". Recreation and Fitness Center. In addition to the fitness center, there is an elevated track, a 37’ climbing wall, aerobic exercise rooms, 2 basketball courts for intramurals and concession facilities featuring a juice bar. The complex contains a 1,100 seat arena for intercollegiate competition in basketball and volleyball. The lower level houses locker rooms and offices for coaches and staff. It opened in late July, 2010 with a tour by college president Cathy Cox.[10][11] The Rec center also received LEED certification.[9]

Following completion of the Rec Center in 2010, a new student residence area, "The Village" for 248 students was constructed in 14 apartment buildings where a cluster of the school's tennis courts had been previously located.[9]

The last of three projects approved for construction in 2008 will also be the largest ever built at Young Harris. The design of the Rollins Campus Center was finalized with Script error: No such module "convert". of space with a projected cost of $41 million. The O. Wayne Rollins Foundation gave $22 million toward construction of the structure,[12] which will have four separate areas: The Script error: No such module "convert". student center is used for multiple purposes. The Script error: No such module "convert". library is twice the size of the earlier Duckworth Library and has been named for former Governor Zell Miller his wife Shirley Miller, both distinguished alumni. The new dining hall seats more than 500, almost double the previous dining hall capacity, and the "Charles Suber Banquet Hall" is a rentable facility serving 350. Ground was broken for construction on April 5, 2013 and the facility is expected to open at the end of the 2013-14 academic year.[9]



Young Harris's sports teams are called the Mountain Lions. On July 1, 2014, the school completed the transition from the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level. The college originally applied to the NCAA in 2010, but the application was rejected.[13] The school re-applied in 2011 and received acceptance into the three-year process to become a full member. As of the 2011-12 academic year, Young Harris was in the first year of candidacy-membership.[14]

Young Harris College became a member of the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) effective July 1, 2012.[15] As part of the transition process into the NCAA, the college began NCAA Division II and Peach Belt Conference schedules for its athletic teams and was immediately eligible for all regular-season championships and other conference awards.[15] During the transition process into the NCAA the college is ineligible for NCAA postseason automatic bids as well as for participation in any PBC Championships which award automatic bids to NCAA Tournaments.[15] As part of the transition to the NCAA, Young Harris College reinstated its men's basketball program in 2010, bringing intercollegiate basketball to the college for the first time in 40 years; at the same time, YHC added women's basketball.[16] The college plans to add men's and women's lacrosse teams and a competitive cheerleading team starting in the 2012-13 academic year.[17]

Young Harris competes in nine sports:

The Young Harris Lady Mountain Lions won the 2006 NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer National Championship, under coach Kathy Brown. Women's soccer coach Kathy Brown originally served as the assistant coach at Jacksonville State University before coming to Young Harris in 1997 and starting the women's soccer team. In just her first season as a head coach, Coach Brown celebrated her first state championship. Since then she has led the Lady Mountain Lions to seven more state titles.

The men's soccer team was a regional finalist in 2006 & 2007. In 1998, led by former coach Jim Thomas, the Young Harris Mountain Lions won the 1998 NJCAA Division I State Soccer Title.

Baseball coach Rick Robinson earned his 500th win at Young Harris in April 2009, and had been highly successful in placing players in Division I schools. The Young Harris Baseball Team has captured eight Georgia Junior College titles and five Region XVII titles since 1999, and advanced to the Junior College World Series 2007. The team has averaged 49 wins per season each year since 2004. The team plays on the Zell B. Miller Field.

The school fielded a successful men's basketball team in the 1950s and 1960s, and on November 13, 2010, the sport returned after a 40-year absence.[18] The men's head coach is Pete Herrmann, formerly at the University of Georgia. Women's basketball began at Young Harris on November 15, 2010 with coach Brenda Paul.[19]

Student life

The College offers various opportunities for students to engage, socialize and participate in organizations relating to academic topics, intramural and club sports, media and publications, service, special interest, spiritual and religious, student government and Greek life.[20]

Greek system

The roots of the Young Harris Greek system began with the men's debating societies of the late 1880s. The Young Harris Debating Society (YHDS) and the Phi Chi Debating Society (PC) were academic in nature, and lasted through the 1950s. Young Harris women formed the literary societies Susan B. Harris Society (EBE) and Phi Delta Society (PD).

During the 1960s, these organizations became more social than academic. YHDS was chartered as Upsilon Delta Sigma fraternity in 1967 and paired up with the Susan B. Harris Society, which became known as Sigma Beta Sigma sorority. Phi Chi fraternity linked to Phi Delta sorority. On January 3, 1968, Kappa Tau Omega became the third fraternity on campus with nine charter members. Alpha Iota formed as the third sorority in the early 1970s.[21] In the fall of 1987, Zeta Pi formed as the fourth fraternity on campus.[22]

On February 19, 2010, Young Harris college gained its first nationally-affiliated fraternity when 28 undergraduate men formed Kappa Sigma's Rho-Pi chapter. Phi Sigma Kappa national fraternity followed with a colony in early 2014. Phi Sigma Kappa officially chartered on April 25th, 2015, becoming the Gamma Octaton Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa.

Fraternities and sororities are important to campus life at the college. There are thirteen Greek organizations, and students are strongly encouraged to "find the perfect fit".[23]


A lawsuit was filed against the college on March 26, 2013 by a former student and two faculty members alleging the college ignored serious fraternity and sorority hazing on campus.[24][25]


Young Harris College is highly regarded in Georgia and has had more of an impact on the state's politics and society than would be expected from a small school in the mountains.[citation needed] Over the last 100+ years, many Young Harris students have chosen careers in public service; the ministry and teaching have been traditional vocations. Politics has been the choice of a number of others. One U.S. Senator, two governors, a number of congressmen, state legislators and mayors all started out at YHC.[26][27]

Notable alumni

Famous graduates include former Georgia governors E. D. Rivers and U.S. Senator Zell Miller; entertainers Oliver Hardy, Wayland Flowers and Amanda Bearse; country music singers Ronnie Milsap and Trisha Yearwood; Major League Baseball players Nick Markakis, Charlie Blackmon and Cory Gearrin; Waffle House founder Tom Forkner; state Senator J. Ebb Duncan and state Representative Hank Huckaby.[28] Poet and novelist Byron Herbert Reece was a student and teacher at YHC.

Further reading

  • A History of Young L.G. Harris College, Joseph Milton Brogdon, 1938
  • History of Young L.G. Harris College, Thomas Jackson Lance, 1935, 61 pages
  • Young Harris College: 1886-1986, Louisa Franklin & Jeffery S. Moody, 1986
  • The Miracle of Brasstown Valley, Zell Miller, 2007, 180 pages, ISBN 0-9796462-0-0


  1. ^ "About YHC: Quick Facts" Young Harris College website
  2. ^ "Cox to run Young Harris college" Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 29, 2007
  3. ^ a b c "New Construction" Young Harris College website
  4. ^ "A History of YHC" Young Harris College website
  5. ^ Associated Press, "Woman leaves huge sums to Methodist groups" The Augusta Chronicle, March 4, 1999
  6. ^ "Young Harris College Adds Five New Baccalaureate Programs", South Georgia Conference of UMC news release, accessed March 15, 2010
  7. ^ Dean, Krystin (March 2010). "Building the Brand". College Planning and Management 13 (3): 50–55. ISSN 1523-0910. 
  8. ^ Ross, Jon: "200-Bed Entoah Hall Complete at Young Harris College" Student Housing Business
  9. ^ a b c d Dean, Krystin (April 8, 2013). "YHC Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for New $41 Million Rollins Campus Center". Young Harris College Press Release. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Young Harris College breaks ground on new Recreation and Fitness Center" Young Harris College press release, April 24, 2009
  11. ^ Burch, Ethan: "Young Harris College Opens New Recreation center" UPIU Sports, August 5, 2010
  12. ^ Saporta, Maria (March 30, 2012). "Rollins Foundation gives $22M to Young Harris". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Stillwell, Dan (July 14, 2010). "WVU Tech’s bid to return to NCAA rejected". The Register-Herald. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ Staff (July 12, 2011). "YHC granted candidacy for NCAA Division II membership". Enotah Echoes. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c Staff (January 9, 2012). "Peach Belt Conference to add one more member". WRDW-TV. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Young Harris College extended an invitation to join the Peach Belt Conference". Young Harris College. January 10, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  17. ^ Staff (December 5, 2011). "Young Harris to Add M&W Lacrosse in 2013". Lacrosse Magazine. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ "YHC drops heartbreaker in season opener" YHC Athletics website, November 13, 2010
  19. ^ "YHC hits the road to take on Georgia Southwestern" YHC Athletics website, November 19, 2010
  20. ^ "Student life". Young Harris College. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  21. ^ Rayburn, Eric. "Upsilon Delta Sigma History". 1991. Upsilon Delta Sigma Fraternity. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Zeta Pi Fraternity - Young Harris College". Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  23. ^ "Greek Life". Young Harris College. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  24. ^ Baker, Katie (April 30, 2013). "Naked Sweethearts & Mud Crawls: A Small College's Big Hazing Problem". Jezebel. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  25. ^ Diamond, Laura (May 1, 2013). "Lawsuit against Young Harris College alleges anti-hazing remarks led to firings". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  26. ^ Reese, Krista: "Young Harris College" New Georgia Encyclopedia
  27. ^ Paschal, Paul Holmes: A Tribute To Young L G Harris, Advocate Press, 1977, Page 17
  28. ^ Huckaby legislature biography

External links

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