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Young Harris College was started in 1886 as the McTyeire Institute with the purpose of providing the first and only educational opportunities to the residents of the isolated area in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rev. Artemas Lester secured support for the idea of a school and secured the services of Rev. Marcus Edwards as the first principal. Classes were held in a vacant storefront beginning in January 1886.

The school grew rapidly, and by 1888, it had a Board of Trustees that was granted a charter from Towns County as a legal entity entitled to “procure, exact and maintain a place for Divine worship, and for school and parsonage purposes under the direction of the Methodist Episcopal Church South…” Ten acres of land had been secured from Mrs. N. L. Robertson, and the attention of the Athens philanthropist Young L. G. Harris had resulted in the contribution of enough money that by 1888 there were 11 buildings (mostly boarding houses), a classroom building, president’s residence, bell tower and laundry. There were three grade levels that granted certificates of proficiency rather than diplomas or grades. Tuition was $1 per month, with an additional 10 cents for incidental fees. The name was changed in 1888 from McTyeire Institute to Young Harris Institute in appreciation of Judge Harris’s support of the school.

In 1889, the Board of Trustees was faced with several challenges to move the growing school. While enrollment was phenomenal, the isolation of the area made securing goods and teachers very difficult. In their June meeting, the Board of Trustees discussed moving the school to Blairsville – going so far as to agree to it if Judge Harris approved. At the same time, they rejected a move to unite with Hayesville College as the “plan was impracticable.” Why they didn’t move is lost to time – perhaps Judge Harris did not approve the plan, and so they stayed in Young Harris.

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Additional Details

  • Undergraduate Degrees:Bachelor's
  • Undergraduate Enrollment:1117
  • Campus Setting:Rural
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  • Student to Faculty Ratio:Unknown
  • Room and Board:8400
  • 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:1886
  • Accreditation:The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Price Range $25,105 (includes fees)
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