BACONE COLLEGE FACULTY HANDBOOK
History of the College
Oklahoma's oldest continuing center of higher education began in 1880. With the help of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, Professor Almon C. Bacone, a missionary teacher, started a school in the Cherokee Baptist Mission at Tahlequah, Indian Territory. The only faculty, Professor Bacone, enrolled three students and began his work. By the end of the first semester, the student body had quadrupled; by the end of the first year, student population was fifty-six and the faculty numbered three.
Seeing the need to expand, an appeal was made to the Creek Tribal Council for 160 acres of land in Muskogee, the “Indian Capital of the World”. The land was granted and in 1885 Indian University was moved to its present site. In 1910, it was renamed Bacone Indian University after its founder and first president and was later changed to Bacone College. Classes from first grade through four years of college met in Rockefeller Hall, a three-story building made possible by a $10,000 contribution from John D. Rockefeller. “Old Rock”, as it came to be called, served as classroom, dormitory, dining hall, chapel, teachers’ quarters, and administration building. It was razed in 1938 and Memorial Chapel stands in its place.
Professor Bacone dreamed of a school, based on Christian principles, for the education of American Indians. The college has retained its Christian heritage, but it is not reserved strictly for American Indians. Its Mission Statement calls for meeting the needs of American Indians in a multicultural setting. All students, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or religion are welcomed and encouraged to attend Bacone College. Throughout its history, the college has attracted Indian and non-Indian students. Bacone attempts to prepare Indian students to function in the mainstream of society, without losing their culture and heritage.
The college has never lost its concern for the individual student. Learning is seen as a way of life that encourages flexibility, breadth of perspective, and respect for the contributions made to the quality of human existence by those of all ages and races. As the student body has grown and the needs of society have become more complex, the curriculum has changed to meet the needs of the students. In 1999 Bacone College began the transition from a two to four-year institution, now offering bachelor’s degree programs. In 2005 the College’s regional accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, authorized the College unlimited authority in the awarding of bachelor’s degrees signaling its successful transition to a four-year institution.
The campus contains many reminders of Bacone's history, tradition, and goals. One of these is a small cemetery, the final resting place of Bacone Presidents Almon C. Bacone (1880 - 1896) and Benjamin D. Weeks (1918 - 1941), as well as others associated with the school over the years. Another reminder on the west side of the campus proper is a stone pulpit that marks the spot on which President Bacone and two Baptist missionaries who were also trustees of Indian University, Samuel Murrow and Daniel Rogers, knelt in prayer to dedicate to the Christian education of American Indians the 160 acres of land received from the Creek Indians.
Today the College offers an opportunity for reflection upon how we, of all races and ethnic backgrounds, can live, study, work, and worship together in order to strive not only for a meaningful educational experience, but for a society committed to Christian values and principles.
Bacone College, an independent institution related to the American Baptist Churches, USA, maintains its commitment to serve American Indians within a culturally diverse community. The College, through its baccalaureate and associate degree programs, challenges students to develop intellectual and social skills, spiritual values, and healthy lifestyles by providing education in a nurturing Christian environment.
We believe our shared vision of the future of Bacone College is essential to the growth and development of our institution. We visualize that Bacone College will be known in the American Indian communities, American Baptist churches, and geographical region for providing excellent academic programs that prepare students for lives of meaning, purpose, and service. The College will build upon its Christian foundation and be recognized for its rich multicultural environment.
Bacone's campus climate of mutual respect and cooperation will attract students, faculty, and staff and will promote lifelong pride in, and loyalty to, the College. Academic and support activities, athletics, and student life will be marked by achievement of high standards with integrity. The College community will celebrate the accomplishments of all its members.
Bacone's academic offerings will emphasize both professional programs and the liberal arts. In addition, Bacone will provide faculty who have expertise in their respective disciplines and use effective practices in teaching and learning. The College will develop, implement, and maintain academic policies and support services that promote a high graduation rate.
The student life programs of the College will foster the development of Christian maturity. Student clubs, organizations, and athletic programs will provide students with opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. Relationships built through participation in these programs will foster team building, community service, and pride in Bacone. The campus life experiences will develop and enhance the appreciation and understanding of the arts, American Indian heritage, and Christian faith.
Bacone's Board of Trustees will exercise careful fiduciary and oversight responsibilities for the College, will personally provide financial support, and will enthusiastically promote the interests of the College among its various constituencies. Bacone College's administration will assure that policies, practices, and structures will encourage participation in decision-making by faculty, staff, and all others affected and will ensure collegial governance.
Bacone College will be financially solvent, having sufficient endowments and income from student tuition and fees to enable the College to fully meet its mission. While preserving its historic heritage, the campus will have well-maintained buildings and grounds and state-of-the- art equipment and technology to meet the demands of the College's academic and student-life programs.
Our College community will encompass a sense of stability, involvement, and belonging. Further, our College community will embody faith, hope, diversity, common enterprise, high standards, and a passion for learning. We look forward to the future and the opportunity to expand our horizons, extend our vision, improve our services, and contribute to the further development of our institution and the students we serve.