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Mars Hill becomes a university

MARS HILL – Mars Hill College will become Mars Hill University next month, officials of the Madison County school said Wednesday.

The name change takes effect Aug. 15 and will be celebrated Aug. 26 on campus. It will be the second name change for the school, which was founded in 1856 by a group of families as French Broad Baptist Institute. The school’s name was changed two years later to Mars Hill, for a site in Greece that is mentioned in the Bible by the Apostle Paul.

President Dan Lunsford said the change to university status has been considered for several years.

“The name ‘university’ denotes a greater variety of offerings, and it indicates the opportunity to obtain undergraduate and graduate education in selected fields,” Lunsford said.

At its May commencement ceremonies, Mars Hill graduated its first diplomas in the master of education program. Several other masters programs are under consideration.

In addition, enrollment is up 20 percent over the past two years, and the school is opening a South Asheville campus on Airport Road.

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