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Rust College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges to award Associate and Baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Rust College.

Our vision for the future reflects an institution of teaching and learning, internal and external to the classroom. Students will come to prepare for careers while living and studying in an environment that nurtures academic and personal development.

Strategic Initiatives 2014-2019
1. To operationalize programs and activities that are firmly based in the institutional mission;
2. To utilize an institutional model for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of college operations as they relate to the institution’s mission;
3. To maintain a strong academic program with a focus on teaching, research, and community service in order to prepare students for a global society;
4. To institutionalize an enrollment management system aimed at recruitment, retention, and graduation of top quality students with the skills necessary for success in their chosen fields;
5. To stabilize enrollment at 1,000 FTE students;
6. To improve the system for acquiring and managing the College’s fiscal resources to include a projected increase in the permanent endowment to $35 million; and
7. To continue to upgrade the College’s technologies to meet the needs and challenges of present and future students.

To make Rust College the premier private liberal arts college in North Mississippi, serving young people from throughout the world.

RUST COLLEGE was established in 1866 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Its founders were missionaries from the North who opened a school in Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, accepting adults of all ages, as well as children, for instruction in elementary subjects. A year later the first building on the present campus was erected.

In 1870, the school was chartered as Shaw University, honoring the Reverend S.O. Shaw, who made a gift of $10,000 to the new institution. In 1892, the name was changed to Rust University to avoid confusion with another Shaw University. The name was a tribute to Richard S. Rust of Cincinnati, Ohio, Secretary of the Freedman’s Aid Society. In 1915, the title was changed to the more realistic name, Rust College.

As students progressed, high school and college courses were added to the curriculum, and in 1878 two students were graduated from the college department. As public schools for Negroes became more widespread the need for private schools decreased, and in 1930 the grade school was discontinued. The high school continued to function until 1953.

A significant change in the administration of the institution took place in 1920 when Dr. M.S. Davage became president, the first Negro to hold that position. Dr. L. M. McCoy (1924), his successor, was the first alumnus to serve his Alma Mater as president. He was followed in 1957 by Dr. Earnest A. Smith, an alumnus, class of 1937. In 1967, Dr. William A. McMillan, a non-alumnus assumed the presidency. In 1993, Dr. David L. Beckley, an alumnus, class of 1967, became the eleventh president of Rust College.

Among approximately 20,000 former students of Rust College, many completed only their elementary or secondary education. However, more than 5,500 have graduated from the college department. Among these alumni are bishops of the United Methodist Church and other Church denominations, public school teachers and administrators, college presidents, lawyers, physicians, businessmen, government leaders and ministers.

The College is located in the city of Holly Springs in the Northwestern part of Mississippi. Situated approximately 35 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, the College is on U.S. Highway 178 and Mississippi Highway 7.


Rust College is a historically Black, co-educational, senior liberal arts college founded in 1866 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church to offer quality programs in business, education, humanities, science and math, and social science to prepare students for leadership and service in a global society.

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Additional Details

  • Undergraduate Degrees:Bachelor's
  • Undergraduate Enrollment:922
Show all
  • Student to Faculty Ratio:Unknown
  • Room and Board:4000
  • Student Diversity – % Asian/Pacific Islander:Unknown
  • Student Diversity -% Hispanic or Latino:Unknown
  • Student Diversity – % Black or African-American:Unknown
  • Student Diversity – % American Indian/Alaskan Native:Unknown
  • Year Established:1866
  • Accreditation:The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Price Range $8,900 (includes fees)
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