"B" is for Benedict College
"B" is for Benedict College. A historically black college in Columbia, Benedict was founded by Rhode Island native Bathsheba Benedict. Benedict purchased an eighty-acre tract with the goal of educating recently emancipated African-Americans. Originally named Benedict Institute, the school began with ten male students and one faculty member housed in an abandoned residence. The first students followed a curriculum of grammar school subjects, Bible study, and theology. Later courses were added to train students as teachers and ministers. In 1894, the school was chartered by the General Assembly as a liberal arts college and became Benedict College. In 1930, the Rev. John J. Sparks, an alumnus, became the school's first black president. Throughout the 20th century Benedict College expanded its campus, its curriculum, its student body, and its significance to the Columbia region and beyond.