Originally established as Scarritt Bible and Training School for Women Missionaries in 1892 in Kansas City, MO, Scarritt College for Christian Workers trained young women missionaries, equipping them for global leadership in the church during a time when women were prohibited from other forms of leadership across most denominations. In 1924, the school relocated to Nashville, and between 1924 and 1927, with funds raised by the Women’s Missionary Societies of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and local donors, Scarritt Hall, Bennett Hall, Wightman Chapel, the historic Bell Tower, and Susie Gray Dining Hall were constructed.
The inspiring setting of the original campus, which expanded and grew over the subsequent decades, served as the context for a young and culturally diverse student body, who were educated in the cultures, languages, and traditions of those whom they would later serve overseas. In 1952, Scarritt College became one of the first white, private colleges in the state of Tennessee to integrate, and in April of 1957, the College famously hosted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who preached in Wightman Chapel.
The college eventually became co-ed, and in 1980 Scarritt College for Christian Workers became Scarritt Graduate College. The College closed in 1988, after which the campus became home to Scarritt Bennett Center. As a nonprofit, Scarritt Bennett Center is dedicated to continuing the legacy of the school through the work of women's empowerment, racial justice, spiritual enrichment, and transformative education.
Scarritt College alumni/ae are living, working, and changing lives in their communities across the globe. Whether your grandmother graduated from Scarritt Bible & Traning School for Women Missionaries, or you graduated Scarritt College for Christian Workers or Scarritt Graduate College, the Scarritt alumni/ae truly carry a legacy of justice and compassion, and work for change wherever they go.
Have questions about transcripts? Trying to contact the Alumni/ae Association? Have a special request? Get in touch.
Following the Depression, Scarritt College considered the needs of rural churches and missionaries in rural settings. In 1942, it opened a training center in Cumberland County that offered short-term training programs and operated a demonstration farm. The rural education center closed in 1950, and transferred the real estate to the local church conference. The Nashville campus took over the rural mission work primarily through the College's new Anthropology Department.
In the brochure for Scarritt College Rural Center (pictured left), the Center's goal was listed as follows, "Rural reconstruction aims at the comprehensive development of rural people everywhere toward a more abundant life."
Prudencia L. Fabro (1910-1996) was a Filipino Methodist deaconess. Fabro came to the United States as a Crusade Scholar to study at Drew University, earning a Master of Arts Degree in Rural Sociology. In 1948, before she returned to the Philippines to teach at Harris School, Fabro attended a session at the Scarritt Rural Center.
Fabro "was one of the most outstanding woman leaders in the Methodist-related institutions whose major contribution was the training, molding and forming of young women who answered the call to serve as deaconesses in the Methodist Church" (methodistmission200.org).
Fabro later became the first Filipino President of Harris Memorial College.
More information about Scarritt College Rural Center can be found in the Laskey Research Library's archival collection.