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King University Kicks Off Sesquicentennial Celebration with Mayoral Proclamation

150th Mayoral ProclamationBRISTOL, Tenn., April 9, 2016 – On April 9, 2016, King University kicked off their sesquicentennial celebration. The kickoff took place 150 years to the day when a declaration of purpose was set forth establishing King College in 1866. The Mayors of Bristol Tennessee and Virginia, Lea Powers and Archie Hubbard III, presented a proclamation to King during the kickoff ceremony Saturday afternoon.

“What an honor and privilege it is to help kickoff the celebration of King University’s 150 years as a Christian institution of higher learning,” says Richard A. Ray, Ph.D., interim president at King University. “For a century and a half, King has been an integral part of Bristol and the surrounding communities, providing educational as well as spiritual opportunities that further our student’s abilities not only to excel in their chosen field but also heighten their commitment to service to others.”

On April 9, 1866, leaders of the Holston Presbytery gathered at Pleasant Grove Church near Bluff City, Tenn., and outlined in writing a declaration of purpose to establish King College. The declaration read, “The presbytery is deeply impressed not only with the importance of establishing a classical school, but one of such high order as will greatly elevate the standard of classical and scientific instruction in East Tennessee, and which with such instruction, will combine that strict discipline and the thorough religious training that will fully develop the moral as well as the intellectual man.”

“We are very excited to kickoff King’s Sesquicentennial celebration during our 90th Dogwood weekend,” says Denise Asbury, director of Development for King. “It’s amazing to think about all that has transpired these last 150 years in King’s history and about all the people who have benefitted from the School’s mission. We welcome this opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments while we also look to the future and the many opportunities that are before us.”

Mayor Lea Powers of Bristol, Tenn., says, “As Mayor of Bristol, Tennessee, it is my honor to deliver a Joint Proclamation in Recognition of the 150th anniversary of King University on Saturday, April 9th with Bristol, Virginia Mayor Archie Hubbard. King University is a valued community partner, and we look forward to continuing our work together whenever possible on upcoming events and projects. One hundred and fifty years are quite an accomplishment and as such, we commend King University for its continued excellence in education and its contributions to Bristol and its greater community of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.”

“I am proud to be a part of King University's 150th-year celebration,” says Mayor Archie Hubbard III of Bristol, Va. “Being a 1965 graduate of King, I was around during the 100th year as well. It is hard to believe how fast 50 years went by. I have certainly appreciated all the things I learned at King. I am a firm believer in the value of a liberal arts education. As a young person, I really had no idea where I would end up working. I do know that having a broad spectrum of educational experience has allowed me to work with all types of people in the many fields of endeavor during my business career. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with many of King's leaders in the past and am impressed with the quality of leadership that the University continues to bring to King.

“I wish King and its leaders many more years of excellence for our entire Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee regions. King is a beacon of light for both regions. I am proud to be a graduate of King University. Happy 150th year,” adds Hubbard.

Just over a year after the declaration of purpose was signed, King College, named for the Rev. James King, opened its doors in Aug. 1867 to 48 students, who came from as far away as the Indian territory of Oklahoma. First an institution for only men, King became coeducational in 1931. Today, King University hosts a student body of 2,920, which hail from 38 states and 37 countries. King’s main campus remains in Bristol, Tenn.; however, the University has added three additional campuses and ten instructional sites throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia during the past decade.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.