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St. Andrews Presbyterian College

by James I. Martin Sr., 2006; Revised December 2021

"Presbyterian Junior College."St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg was preceded by a number of institutions with ties to the Presbyterian Church. They include Donaldson Academy and Labor School, which was founded in Fayetteville in 1833 and existed in some capacity until 1883; Floral College; and Flora MacDonald College, previously called Red Springs Seminary (1896-1903) and Southern Presbyterian College and Conservatory of Music (1903-14). Other predecessors to St. Andrews included Elise Academy in Robbins, which came under the jurisdiction of the Fayetteville Presbytery in 1904 and remained open until 1940; and Presbyterian Junior College for Men (1929), an offshoot of Elise Academy located at Maxton.

Flora MacDonald and Presbyterian Junior College merged in 1958 to form what would become St. Andrews Presbyterian College, named for the University of St. Andrews (founded in 1411), the premier Christian university of Scotland. The new institution, briefly called the Consolidated Presbyterian College, was situated on 800 acres of land south of Laurinburg. St. Andrews formally opened in 1961 and soon acquired a reputation for innovative curricula and facilities. Its Christianity and Culture Program included courses in European history, non-Western cultures, American studies, and futurism. The late 1970s witnessed the implementation of the St. Andrews General Education Program, which sought to integrate elements of the Christianity and Culture Program with more consideration of world affairs. The college augmented its preprofessional offerings as well as majors in business administration, mathematics, natural sciences, and psychology. In 1978 the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction designated St. Andrews as the campus for the Governor's School East.

In 1985 St. Andrews began conducting overseas programs in Beijing, China; Cuenca, Ecuador; and Brunnenburg Castle, Italy; the school also has exchange arrangements with Kansai Gaidai University in Japan and Han Nam University in Korea. In 1989 the Scottish Heritage Center was established in the school's DeTamble Library. In the early 2000s curricular offerings included Equine Business Management and Therapeutic Riding. Enrollment was approximately 700 students served by 83 faculty members. The college boasts an award-winning pipe band, a four-time national champion equestrian team, and St. Andrews College Press, the first undergraduate college press in the country.

St. Andrews Presbyterian College changed its name to St. Andrews University in 2011, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the college's opening in 1961.


Robert F. Davidson, Adventures in Ideas and Values (1984).

Roy Parker Jr., Cumberland County: A Brief History (1990).

Ruth J. Trivette, The Merging of the Gaels: A History of the Fayetteville Presbytery, 1813-1983 (1987).

Additional Resources:

"St. Andrews to become a University."  [2011]. (accessed November 20, 2014).

Image Credit:

"Presbyterian Junior College." Photo courtesy of St. Andrews Presbyterian College History website. Available from #aboutsa/history.php (accessed May 2, 2012).




Was Gaelic taught at the college?


Hi Misty,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and taking a minute to post your question.

That's a really great question!  Unfortunately, we're unable to locate an answer after a research including historical materials about the college.

You  may wish to contact the Scottish Heritage Center at St. Andrews (910-277-5236) or the DeTamble Library special collections department at St. Andrews for more information on the history of the college

I hope this helps and good luck!

Kelly Agan, N.C. Governmetn & Heritage Library


There are also several books that have been published about St Andrews (both by the SAU Press, and individually published as well). When contacting St Andrews, ask for Bill Caudill. Not only is he in charge of the Scottish Heritage Center, but he is also a St Andrews Presbyterian College Alumnus.

Kindest regards,
Ashley Elmore
St Andrews Presbyterian College Alumna, Class of 2003
Current member, St Andrews University Alumni Council

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