Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Catawba College

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

See also: Private Education; Private Higher Education

Catawba College, NC Highway Historical Marker O-51. Image courtesy of State Archives of North Carolina. Catawba College was founded in Newton in 1851 by the German Reformed Church. During the Civil War the college became an academy, operating at Catawba High School from 1865 to 1885, when it resumed operation under its original charter as Catawba College. In 1890 it became a coeducational institution. A move from Newton to Salisbury came about in response to an offer of a partially constructed dormitory/administration building and several acres of land in Salisbury. College, trustee, and church officials closed the Newton campus in 1923 and reopened the school in Salisbury in 1925.

The modern-day Catawba College, affiliated with the United Church of Christ, offers bachelor's degrees (Arts, Business Administration, Fine Arts, and Science) and a Master of Education degree. It also offers cooperative programs in deaf education with Appalachian State University, in forestry and environmental science with Duke University, and in physician assistant and medical technician training with Wake Forest University. The college has grown from 1 building to 27 buildings on 210 acres, with another 150 acres devoted to an ecological preserve. The student body in the early 2000s was approximately 1,100, evenly divided by gender.


Francis B. Dedmond, Catawba: The Story of a College (1989).

Jacob C. Leonard, History of Catawba College (1927).

Additional Resources:

"Catawba College." N.C. Highway Historical Marker O-51, N.C. Office of Archives & History.

Catawba College Yearbooks:

Image Credit:

Catawba College, NC Highway Historical Marker O-51. Image courtesy of State Archives of North Carolina. Available from (accessed November 13, 2012).

Origin - location: