@LeesMcRae @McPhailCraig July 16

My daily post theme for 2017 is on Colleges and Universities.

The plan for starting my blog back in 2014 was at the urging of fellow coaching colleagues to share posts on leadership and/or motivation. Somehow that idea got derailed and turned into daily posts on one theme for an entire year.

In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and for 2017 I will focus on “Colleges and Universities”.

I have been associated with colleges since I was 18 and I love them. I have coached/worked at four different universities and in my professional and personal travels visited 100’s more. Each college has something in its history that I want to share that to me make it unique or personal.

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Name of University: Lees-McRae College

Location: Banner Elk NC

One of my best friends attended a college located in the North Carolina mountains called Lees-McRae College. When he attended it was a junior college. Today it is a 4 year institution and is shown below.


Lees-McRae has a church connection in how it evolved. In the summer of 1895 the Presbyterians (Concord Presbytery) sent a young student from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia to organize a church at Banner Elk.

In 1897, that former student now newly ordained, the Rev. Edgar Tufts returned as pastor of the church. In the winter of 1899, Rev. Tufts took some of the young people of the neighborhood into his study for further instruction. This small group, called the Class of 1900, marks the beginning of Lees-McRae College.

Another interesting fact about Lees-McRae is that it derives it names from two prominent females in its history.

lmc sign

Rev. Tufts saw that just teaching in his study  was not enough and that there was a need for a boarding school, especially for girls. A small amount of money was raised and the promise of lumber and labor made possible the opening in 1900 of a frame dormitory for 14 girls and one teacher. One of the summer school teachers was Mrs. Elizabeth A. McRae. Knowing the devoted character of her work, Mr. Tufts, named the school for her. After a boys’ department opened at Plumtree, he added the name of Mrs. Susanna P. Lees, who had been a generous benefactor. The Lees-McRae Institute was chartered by the state in 1907.

Today Lees-McRae has a little under 1,000 students attending. The school is a member of NCAA Division II and offers 17 sports including the unique offering of cycling.

The VP for Athletics at Lees-McRae is Craig McPhail who I got to know while we both were at Winthrop University in the 1990’s. He has done a remarkable job of leadership in his twenty years at LMC.






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