Warren Wilson College
Warren Wilson College is a private four-year liberal arts college near Asheville, North Carolina in the Swannanoa Valley.
Warren Wilson College went through many phases before becoming what it is today. Its property, situated along the Swannanoa River, was purchased in 1893 by the Women's Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church who were concerned that many Americans in isolated areas were not receiving a proper education and decided to establish church-supported schools in impoverished areas. In 1894 the Asheville Farm School officially opened with 25 boys attending and a professional staff of three offering the first three grades of elementary instruction. In 1923 the school graduated its first high school class, and the first post-high school programs offering vocational training began in 1936. In 1942, the Asheville Farm School merged with the Dorland-Bell School in Hot Springs, North Carolina, to become a coed secondary school, named Warren H. Wilson Vocational Junior College and Associated Schools, after the late Warren H. Wilson, former superintendent of the Presbyterian Church's Department of Church and Country Life. After World War II, the public education system in North Carolina improved dramatically and the need for the high school diminished with the last high school class there graduating in 1957. Warren Wilson College was a junior college until 1967, when it became a four-year college offering six majors. In 1972, the National Board of Missions deeded the WWC property over to the college's Board of Trustees. Steven L. Solnick, formerly the Ford Foundation representative in Moscow and then in New Delhi, became the College's seventh president in 2012.citation needed In 1952, the college became one of the first in the South to desegregate, when it invited Alma Shippy, an African American from Swannanoa, North Carolina, to attend. Sunderland dorm residents voted 54-1 to allow Shippy to become a student and live in their dorm. In contrast to its original student population of underprivileged mountain youth, Warren Wilson now enrolls students of many different geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The mission of Warren Wilson College is to provide a distinctive undergraduate and graduate liberal arts education. Our undergraduate education combines academics, work, and service in a learning community committed to environmental responsibility, cross-cultural understanding, and the common good.
Sara Benincasa, comedian Tony Earley, writer Rayna Gellert, fiddler Toubab Krewe, international-folk-fusion band Katie Spotz, youngest Atlantic solo rower Billy Edd Wheeler, singer/songwriter David Wilcox, folk musician Duncan Trussell, comedian Emil Amos Grails (band), musician Joe Wenderoth, poet James Franco, actor, writer, director (while not his alma mater, Franco attended the college's MFA program)