Under authorization granted by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina in 1906, Morris College was established in 1908 "for the Christian and Intellectual Training of Negro youth." This action signaled the beginning of a heroic venture in higher education by a group of men and women less than a half century removed from the blight of American slavery. The majority of these "founding fathers" were poor and without any formal learning, but they possessed an "unfaltering faith in God and a zeal to provide for others the educational opportunities they themselves were denied."
On April 12, 1911, the college received a certificate of incorporation from the state of South Carolina. Initially, Morris College provided schooling on the elementary, high school, and college levels. The college curriculum included programs in liberal arts, in "normal" education for the certification of teachers, and a theological program. In 1915, the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred on the first two graduates. The institution discontinued its "normal" program in 1929, its elementary school in 1930, and its high school in 1946.
During 1930-32, the school operated only as a junior college, but it resumed its full four-year program in 1933. The word "Negro" appearing in the original certificate of incorporation was eliminated on August 14, 1961 thereby opening the doors at Morris to students of all ethnic groups.
Presently, the College offers programs of study leading to the baccalaureate degree with major programs in Biology, Biology/Secondary Education, Business Administration, Christian Education, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, English, English/Secondary Education, Health Science, History, Liberal Studies, Mass Communications, Mathematics, Mathematics/Secondary Education, Organizational Management, Pastoral Ministry, Political Science, Recreation Administration, Social Studies/Secondary Education, and Sociology.
Morris College has more than justified the faith, the labors, and the sacrifices of the founding fathers. The services it has rendered have been extensive and beyond value. In the early decades of its history, Morris College provided elementary and high school training for Negro youth at a time when such opportunities were meager or nonexistent in many communities. From its beginning, Morris College has been a center for training ministers and teachers for the pulpits and schools of the State and of the Nation. Its graduates have added to the ranks of professionals and businessmen. Hundreds of Negro youth who otherwise never would have attended college have received at Morris College the benefits of higher education. Many communities and state agencies have used the facilities of the College to carry out programs of general welfare and social uplift. The College thus occupies a unique and significant position in the American social order. It is one of the few senior colleges built and operated solely under Negro auspices. As such, it represents a distinct contribution of the Negro to American society.
In the seventieth year of its history, on December 13, 1978, Morris College achieved the goal of full accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. On January 1, 1982, Morris College became the 42nd member of the United Negro College Fund, the nation's largest and most successful black fund-raising organization. The College has embarked upon a new era of institutional improvements that has moved it further into the mainstream of American higher education and that has enabled it to render even better service to its students and to the community.