YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College welcomed its largest-ever entering class comprised of 507 freshmen. Fall 2014 marks the largest enrollment in the history of the College with 1,222 students on campus, continuing a trend of steadily increasing enrollment figures.
“We have broken overall enrollment records for the eighth straight year, and we are thrilled to welcome an outstanding class of new students to the College,” said YHC President Cathy Cox.
The previous freshman enrollment record of 464 set in Fall 2013 was surpassed by more than 40 students this fall. Since the transition of YHC to a four-year institution began, the College’s total enrollment has increased by 101 percent.
"This is the first year our freshman class size has surpassed 500 students,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management and External Relations Clint Hobbs, ’88. “When we saw an opportunity to exceed our original goal of 475 students, plans fell into place and we did just that. It's a remarkable accomplishment, and I'm proud of everyone who had a hand in it.”
In addition to surpassing the freshman class size goal, the College also reached its target of 1,200 total students one year ahead of schedule.
Since earning its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 2008 to grant bachelor’s degrees, YHC has been adding baccalaureate majors and academic programs at a rapid pace. This year, the College added three majors to its list of innovative programs: creative writing, interdisciplinary studies and environmental science.
Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include a 226-bed residence hall for freshmen, a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center, and a 248-bed apartment-style residential village. Construction is nearing completion on the new $41 million, 125,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center that is named for its $22 million lead gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation.
The academic year officially opens with the annual Academic Convocation today, Tuesday, Aug. 19. The College is already buzzing with activity as new and returning students prepare for the year with an exciting lineup of Welcome Week activities.
On Aug. 17, more than 200 first-year students kicked off Welcome Week with an event sponsored by YHC’s S.E.R.V.E. (Service, Empowerment, Responsibility, Voice and Engagement). The group packaged personal care kits for Lutheran World Relief, an international nonprofit organization that serves communities living in poverty.
New students also hiked from the top of Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain peak in Georgia, down to campus on Aug. 18. The experience serves as a bookend for another key tradition—the annual senior trek to the top of Bald Mountain prior to Commencement, where all graduates, their families, and College faculty and staff gather for a Vespers Service at sunset.
“This tradition signals the beginning of a year filled with many new opportunities for our campus,” said Dean of the Chapel and Minister to the College Rev. Dr. Tim Moore. “These new experiences, coupled with our enduring traditions, help define the YHC spirit.”
About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,200 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include a 226-bed residence hall for freshmen, a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center, and a 248-bed apartment-style residential village. Construction is nearly complete on the 125,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, the new social and intellectual heart of campus. In 2014, the College was granted active membership in NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2014-2015 list of Colleges of Distinction. For more information, visit yhc.edu.