Young Harris College
Former names
McTyeire Institute (1886–1891)[1]
MottoHic iuventus incenditur (Latin)
Motto in English
"Here Youth Are Inspired"[2]
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1886; 138 years ago (1886)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment$100 million
PresidentDrew Van Horn
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates1,425 (2020)[3]

34°55′58″N 83°50′48″W / 34.9328°N 83.8468°W / 34.9328; -83.8468
CampusRural, 485 acres (196 ha)[4]
Colors   Purple and white
NicknameMountain Lions
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II
The Young Harris College campus in Young Harris, Georgia

Young Harris College is a private Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college in Young Harris, Georgia, United States.



The school was founded in 1886 by Artemas Lester, a circuit-riding Methodist minister who wanted to provide the residents of the Appalachian Mountains with an education. The college was funded in part by production from an agricultural program, or college farm. Students who could not afford education were allowed to work on the farm to earn tuition.

Originally known as McTyeire Institute for the small village where the school was located, the college struggled for the first year until an Athens judge, Young L.G. Harris, donated enough money to keep the school open. The school was later renamed Young Harris Institute and became Young Harris College in honor of its benefactor, as was the surrounding town in 1895.[5] A fire destroyed the college's main classroom building in 1911, but it was rebuilt by local townspeople and named Sharp Hall in honor of the college president at the time. The Young Harris Academy was founded in the late 19th century and provided a primary education for thousands of students until it closed after World War II.[6]


Margaret Adger Pitts, who died in 1998, left an estate valued at $192 million, mostly in Coca-Cola stock acquired by her father in the 1920s. YHC was one of four Georgia entities named to receive the yearly dividends and trust proceeds, approximately $3 million to each of the beneficiaries. The college announced that the money would be used for scholarships, improvements to the campus, and religious programs.[7]


Since the early 1910s, YHC was a two-year school, granting associate's degrees. In 2008, the college earned its four-year accreditation through regional accreditation organization, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and was approved to offer bachelor's degrees in biology, business and public policy, English, and music. In February 2010, Young Harris' accreditation was expanded to include communication studies, history, outdoor leadership, theatre, and musical theatre in the list of sanctioned bachelor's programs.[8]


  • 1886–1887 Marcus H. Edwards
  • 1888–1889 Edward A. Gray
  • 1889–1894 C. C. Spence
  • 1894–1899 William F. Robison
  • 1899–1916 Joseph A. Sharp
  • 1916–1917 George L. King
  • 1917–1922 John L. Hall
  • 1930 Ella Standard Sharp
  • 1930–1942 T. Jack Lance
  • 1942–1947 J. Worth Sharp
  • 1947–1950 Walter L. Downs
  • 1950–1963 Charles R. Clegg
  • 1963–1964 Robert P. Andress
  • 1964–1966 Raymond A. Cook
  • 1966–1971 Douglas Reid Sasser
  • 1971–1991 Ray Farley
  • 1990 Clay Dotson
  • 1991–2003 Thomas S. Yow III
  • 2003–2004 Clay Dotson
  • 2004–2006 W. Stephen Gunter
  • 2006–2006 John W. Wells
  • 2007–2017 Cathy Cox[9]
  • July–October 2017 (Interim) C. Brooks Seay
  • 2017–present Drew Van Horn
The Young Harris College campus in 2022


Young Harris College offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in more than 30 majors and 22 minors.[10] These academic studies consist of course offerings in seven divisions and programs, including the divisions of Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences; and three or more programs, including Interdisciplinary, Teacher-Preparation, and Pre-Professional programs.

The ratio of students to faculty at Young Harris is 10:1.[10]


Academic rankings
Liberal arts
U.S. News & World Report[11]185 (tie) of 185
Washington Monthly[12]195 of 199

In the 2023 U.S. News & World Report rankings of national liberal arts colleges, Young Harris College was tied for 185 of 185.[10]


Main article: Young Harris Mountain Lions

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (June 2021)

The Young Harris athletic teams are called the Mountain Lions. The college is a member of the Division II level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), primarily competing in the Conference Carolinas since the 2023–24 academic year. The Mountain Lions previously competed in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) prior to the 2010–11 school year, as well as the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) from 2012–13 to 2022–23.

Young Harris competes in 16 intercollegiate varsity sports. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, and tennis; women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball; and co-ed sports include spirit cheerleading.

Move to NCAA Division II

On July 1, 2014, the school completed the transition from the GCAA and NJCAA to the NCAA at the Division II level. The college originally applied to the NCAA in 2010, but the application was rejected.[13] The school re-applied in 2011 and received acceptance into the three-year process to become a full member. As of the 2011–12 academic year, Young Harris was in the first year of candidacy-membership.[14]

Campus buildings

Note: Dates of construction given when known[15]

Student life

The college offers various opportunities for students to engage, socialize and participate in organizations relating to academic topics, intramural and club sports, media and publications, service, special interest, spiritual and religious, student government and Greek life.[16]

Greek system

The roots of the Young Harris Greek system began with the men's debating societies of the late 1880s. The Young Harris Debating Society (YHDS) and the Phi Chi Debating Society (PC) were academic in nature and lasted through the 1950s. Young Harris women formed the literary societies Susan B. Harris Society (EBE) and Phi Delta Society (PD), all of them local organizations.

During the 1960s, these organizations became more social than academic. YHDS was renamed as Upsilon Delta Sigma (local) fraternity in 1967 and paired up with the Susan B. Harris Society, which became known as Sigma Beta Sigma (local) sorority. Phi Chi (local) fraternity[a] had been linked to Phi Delta (local) sorority. On January 3, 1968, Kappa Tau Omega (local) became the third fraternity on campus with nine charter members. Alpha Iota (local) was formed as the third sorority in 1973.[17] In the fall of 1987, Zeta Pi (local)[18] formed as the fourth fraternity on campus.[19] The three other sororities on campus are Delta Phi Epsilon (local), Gamma Psi (local) and Phi Alpha Phi, a Christian-themed local.[20]

On February 19, 2010, Young Harris College gained its first nationally affiliated fraternity when 28 undergraduate men formed Kappa Sigma's Rho-Pi chapter. Phi Sigma Kappa national fraternity followed with a colony in early 2014, which was installed on April 25, 2015, becoming that fraternity's Gamma Octaton chapter. The first nationally affiliated sorority at YHC was Delta Phi Epsilon's Zeta Zeta chapter in 2016.[21]

There are thirteen Greek organizations.[22] The Huffington Post reported in 2013 that the college had a "big hazing problem."[23]

The college's honor societies include Alpha Iota Sigma, Alpha Chi, Kappa Pi international art society, Lambda Pi Eta communications study society, Mu Phi Epsilon professional music fraternity, Phi Alpha Theta history study society and Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. The college was approved to establish a "circle" of Omicron Delta Kappa in February 2023, which was installed on March 16, 2023.[24]


Cultural activities available on campus to clubs and individuals include singing group performances and sponsored music events, Campus Gate Art Gallery exhibitions, and Theatre Young Harris dramatic performances. Planetarium shows are featured at the O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium. There are three student publications: the Corn Creek Revue literary magazine, the Mosaic religious-life publication, and the Enotah annual yearbook.

Between 1995 and the mid-2000s, Young Harris College's auditorium was home to Georgia's official historic drama, The Reach of Song.[25][26]

Susan B. Harris Chapel, built in 1892, is the oldest building on the campus.


One U.S. senator, two U.S. representatives, two governors, a number of congressmen, state legislators, and mayors all started out at YHC.[27][28]

Notable alumni and instructors

Notable graduates include former Georgia governors E. D. Rivers and U.S. Senator Zell Miller; U.S. Representatives Jack Brinkley and Buddy Carter; entertainers Oliver Hardy, Wayland Flowers and Amanda Bearse; country music singers Ronnie Milsap and Trisha Yearwood; Major League Baseball players Nick Markakis, Charlie Blackmon, Billy Buckner and Cory Gearrin; Waffle House founder Tom Forkner; state Supreme Court Chief Justices William Henry Duckworth and Charles S. Reid;[29] state Senator J. Ebb Duncan and state Representatives Hank Huckaby[30] and David Ralston.[31] Poet and novelist Byron Herbert Reece was a student and teacher at YHC; theologian and philosopher John B. Cobb taught at the college. James T. McIntyre served as director of the Office of Management and Budget and Fred S. Clinton was a frontier doctor in Oklahoma at the turn of the century. George J. Berry, Atlanta Aviation Commissioner and Georgia Commissioner of Industry, Trade, and Tourism graduated in 1957.[27] Bettie M. Sellers, poet laureate of Georgia taught English at YHC for over 30 years.[32] American correspondent Betty Hester attended YHC.[33] as did journalist Winfield Myers.[34]

Honors and awards

The highest honor bestowed by the college is the Young Harris Medallion. It has been presented yearly since 1969 to an alumnus, alumna or friend of the College for extraordinary contributions.[35][36]

Further reading


  1. ^ Phi Chi was a local chapter that closed in 20xx (?) Not to be confused with the national fraternity of that same name.


  1. ^ "History at YHC". Young Harris College.
  2. ^ "College Emblems". Young Harris College. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  3. ^ "About YHC: Quick Facts" Young Harris College website
  4. ^ "YHC About the area". Young Harris College. Retrieved March 8, 2023.
  5. ^ "New Construction" Young Harris College website
  6. ^ "A History of YHC" Young Harris College website
  7. ^ Associated Press, "Woman leaves huge sums to Methodist groups" Archived September 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine The Augusta Chronicle, March 4, 1999 [dead link]
  8. ^ "Young Harris College Adds Five New Baccalaureate Programs", South Georgia Conference of UMC news release, accessed March 15, 2010 Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Reese, Krista:"Young Harris College" New Georgia Encyclopedia
  10. ^ a b c "Young Harris College". U.S. News & World Report. 2017.
  11. ^ "Best Colleges 2024: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  12. ^ "2023 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  13. ^ Stillwell, Dan (July 14, 2010). "WVU Tech's bid to return to NCAA rejected". The Register-Herald. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
  14. ^ Staff (July 12, 2011). "YHC granted candidacy for NCAA Division II membership". Enotah Echoes. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
  15. ^ "YHC through the years". Echoes Magazine. Young Harris, Ga.: Young Harris College. June 28, 2011. pp. 22–29.
  16. ^ "Student life". Young Harris College. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
  17. ^ Rayburn, Eric. "Upsilon Delta Sigma History". 1991. Upsilon Delta Sigma Fraternity. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  18. ^ Zeta Pi
  19. ^ "Zeta Pi Fraternity - Young Harris College". Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  20. ^ "Greek Life". Young Harris College. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  21. ^ William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive), section showing Delta Phi Epsilon chapters". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  22. ^ "Sororities & Fraternities". Young Harris College. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  23. ^ Kingkade, Tyler (April 30, 2013). "Naked Sweethearts & Mud Crawls: A Small College's Big Hazing Problem". Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  24. ^ Singer, Tara (February 17, 2023). "Young Harris College Awarded Charter for National Honor Society". Omicron Delta Kappa Society. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  25. ^ "Georgia State Historical Drama". eReference Desk. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  26. ^ "Reach Of Song 1997" (PDF). Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center. Retrieved February 26, 2024.
  27. ^ a b Reese, Krista. "Young Harris College". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  28. ^ Paschal, Paul Holmes: A Tribute To Young L G Harris, Advocate Press, 1977, Page 17
  29. ^ "Judge Reid Dies in Plunge From 12th Floor After Suit Charges Estate Mismanaged", The Macon Telegraph (November 8, 1947), p. 1.
  30. ^ "Huckaby legislature biography". Archived from the original on February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  31. ^ "Speaker David Ralston" (PDF). State of Georgia. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  32. ^ Warren, Rubin O. "Bettie Sellers". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  33. ^ Köhler, Nicholas (May 10, 2016). "The Mysterious Letter Writer Who Beguiled Flannery O'Connor and Iris Murdoch". The New Yorker Magazine. The New Yorker. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  34. ^ "Winfield Myers". SPME. Scholars for Peace in Middle East. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  35. ^ "THE YOUNG HARRIS COLLEGE MEDALLION". Young Harris College. Young Harris College. Retrieved March 3, 2023.
  36. ^ "Young Harris College Class of 2022 Commencement". Young Harris College. May 20, 2022. Retrieved March 3, 2023.