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The beginnings of William Carey University

Student Council of Mississippi Woman’s College, 1935

Copyright by Robert C. Rogers and the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.

     Since Mississippi College was an all-male school, Mississippi Baptists were looking to sponsor a college for women in the early twentieth century, and the opportunity fell into their lap in Hattiesburg.1

     A group of New Orleans businessmen had founded South Mississippi College in Poplarville in 1906, and then immediately moved it to land in the south part of Hattiesburg. Under the leadership of William I. Thames, it quickly grew, but then tragedy struck. On the night of February 28, 1910, a devastating fire destroyed the main building, eliminating classrooms, the library, and the auditorium. The school was forced to close. In 1911, W. S. F. Tatum, a wealthy lumberman and Methodist layman, bought the 10 acres and remaining two buildings. Tatum offered the property to the State of Mississippi for a “Normal College” (teacher’s college), but the site was rejected by the State. He then offered the property to his fellow Methodists, but they chose not to build another college, since they already had Millsaps College in Jackson. He then offered it to as a gift to the four Baptist churches in Hattiesburg. Those churches accepted the offer, formed a corporation, and the trustees hired W. W. Rivers from Arkansas to become president. Rivers secured a faculty, recruited students, and opened the school in September 1911 under a new name, Mississippi Woman’s College. They offered the debt-free college to the Mississippi Baptist Convention, and it was accepted by the State Convention on November 23, 1911.2

     John L. Johnson, Jr. served as president of Mississippi Woman’s College from 1912-1921, and during his administration an administration building, Tatum Court, was completed in 1914, and brick dormitories, Ross and Johnson Halls, were added, as well as an infirmary and a model home to be used as a laboratory for domestic science classes. Enjoying rapid growth in enrollment, the campus expanded to 40 acres, and gained accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1926. By 1929, the college had 500 students. This school later became William Carey University, which will be the subject of a future blog post.3

Dr. Rogers is currently writing a new history of Mississippi Baptists.


1 Minutes, Mississippi Baptist Convention, 1900, 63.

2 Donna Duck Wheeler, William Carey College: The First 100 Years (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2006), 8, 16-17; Minutes, Mississippi Baptist Convention, 1911, 55-56.

3 Wheeler, 8; Minutes, Mississippi Baptist Convention, 1919, 22-23; 1929, 55.

Guest blog: “A Week in the Life of a Georgia Tech Baseball Radio Announcer (and Student)”

 (Below is a guest blog from my son, R. Wade Rogers. He is a student at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. This is the third installment of three guest blogs from my three children.)

I’m a 2nd year student at Georgia Tech and majoring in Business Administration. I am also a Baseball Announcer for WREK- 91.1 FM, the student radio station at Georgia Tech, and a huge sports fan.

Sunday, February 12, 2012:
Weather in Atlanta is in the 20s, so I have a heavy coat with me as I leave for Grace Midtown Church in the morning. Worship this morning is great and the sermon continues a series on Proverbs that has been going on this semester with a study of Proverbs 7. The head pastor is 28 years old and he is out this Sunday after the birth of his first child, so the message is delivered by an associate pastor. (Well over half of the people that attend the church are under 30 and there are a lot of college students, especially from Georgia Tech, which is nearby. Despite the predominately young congregation, people of all ages attend.)
After church, I go to Russ Chandler Stadium, home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Baseball team. I help my radio partner, Nolan Alexander, to add some decorations to the home radio booth. Today’s task is drilling in a bookshelf. We also practice a few innings of play-by-play, while the team scrimmages before the start of the 2012 season on Friday. (All of the Georgia Tech Baseball games can be heard on WREK 91.1 FM in Atlanta and online. I am scheduled to announce at least 25 games this season after calling 11 games my freshman year.)

After I arrive back home, I spend the rest of the afternoon and night studying. I have an unusually busy week ahead with four tests and a weekend of baseball to prepare for.
Monday, February 13, 2012:
I wake up at 7:30 planning on heading to campus to help work on some technical aspects for our radio broadcast, but I get a text saying that it is covered. That means I get to spend the next few hours for some more studying. I have two tests today and I sandwich a nap in between them. After my last test, I get dinner at my apartment, watch TV, and just relax for a little while. At 7:00, I make one last trip for the day to campus, this time to the radio station, for our last formal Baseball Broadcasters’ Meeting to go over the equipment setup. After the meeting, I get some more studying in for my next test.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012:
I’m up early today at 6:30 to eat breakfast and get ready for class. I have one class at 8:00 and then a test after that. For the second straight day, I get a nice nap during the afternoon. I have one more class at 3:00, but when I get home after that class, I’m all studied out. Three of my four tests for the week are out of the way, so I am relaxing tonight.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012:
I get to sleep-in until about 11:00 today, but then I have a pair of classes separated by a two and a half hour break. After my last class ends at 5:00, I get some dinner at Chick-fil-A in the Student Center and head up to the radio station. I’m filling in as producer for the Ramblin’ Wreck Report and tonight we have our annual Baseball Preview Show. Our guests are Georgia Tech 1B/LHP Jake Davies and our closer RHP Luke Bard. (They happen to be the only current Jackets with brothers currently playing in the major leagues. Kyle Davies P for the Royals and Daniel Bard P for the Red Sox). After the show, I go home for a little bit, but I go back to campus for a bible study at 9:00. I catch a ride back to my place afterwards and study for a little while before going to bed.
Thursday, February 16, 2012:
I have a pair of classes starting at 8:00 A.M. again. In between class, I head home to study for my last test of the week, but I get a text from a friend letting me know that the Atlanta Braves are handing out applications for summer jobs in the Student Center. I head back to the school earlier than usual to try and see if I can talk to someone from the Braves and see what kind of positions they were offering, but apparently they have already left, so I move my study station over to the library. I take my last test of the week in my last class of the week and head home to pack. Around 6:30, Nolan and I gather our equipment and hit the road for Rock Hill, South Carolina, where Georgia Tech is scheduled to play four games in the Coca-Cola Classic at Winthrop University against both Winthrop and Kent State. On the way, we make an extended stop at Nolan’s house for a delicious home-cooked meal. We get to the hotel around 12:30, where we are greeted by a pair of avid, older Tech Baseball fans, who are hanging around the lobby. They talk to us for a while before we finally get away and get to sleep after 1:00.
Friday, February 17, 2012:
We arrive at Winthrop Ballpark around 11:00, three hours before first pitch, to set up our equipment and prepare for an opening day doubleheader. In the first game, we have some frustrating technical issues, but eventually we get the issue resolved. It is a tough first game for the Jackets as well vs. Kent State. The Golden Flashes All-American P David Starn pitches eight shutout innings only allowing four singles, as Tech loses 5-0.
Second game goes better for us in the booth and on the field. Matthew Grimes pitches seven innings and only allows one hit and Zane Evans pitches two perfect innings to lead Tech to a 5-0 win over Winthrop.
Saturday, February 18, 2012:
At the hotel in the morning, we hear that there have been a few changes to the schedule because of weather expected tonight and tomorrow. Our game scheduled for today is moved up from 1:00 to noon and our game scheduled for tomorrow is moved to 7:00 tonight. The noon game goes by very quickly and the broadcast is even better than the day before. Tech gets revenge against Kent State winning 6-2, as Daniel Palka homers and scores four runs.
In between games Nolan and I get some lunch away from the ballpark and head back to the hotel for a break. Will Long, another Tech baseball announcer, made the trip up for the day to Rock Hill, where he worked last summer broadcasting for the Carolina Stingers of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League. As we arrive back at the ballpark we hear that our second game has been moved up an additional hour to try and beat the rain. We get set up just in time for the first pitch. Will and Nolan do play-by-play and I rotate in to do some color broadcasting for the final game of the weekend. Tech beats Winthrop again, this time 5-3, to start the season 3-1.
Sunday, February 19, 2012:
The team headed back last night, but Nolan and I stayed at the hotel. The weather forecasts were correct as it is a rainy day in Rock Hill that would not have been conducive for baseball. We check out of the hotel and make the drive back to Atlanta after a very successful first weekend of college baseball. I arrive back at my place around 4:00 and relax as I get set for another less busy week of school with more baseball.

As you can see, my schedule as a college student can be very busy at times, but I am challenging myself with school and getting some great opportunities to be involved with things that I love.
[Wade is announcing tonight’s home game against Ohio State.]