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Jones later recalled that in 1924, his friend William Jennings Bryan had leaned over to him at a Bible conference service in Winona Lake, Indiana, and said, "If schools and colleges do not quit teaching evolution as a fact, we are going to become a nation of atheists." While he himself was not a college graduate, Jones grew determined to found a college, and on September 12, 1927, he opened Bob Jones College in Panama City, with 88 students.Jones said that although he had been averse to naming the school after himself, his friends overcame his reluctance "with the argument that the school would be called by that name because of my connection with it, and to attempt to give it any other name would confuse the people." Bob Jones took no salary from the college and helped support the school with personal savings and income from his evangelistic campaigns. The Florida land boom had peaked in 1925, and a hurricane in September 1926 further reduced land values. Bob Jones College barely survived bankruptcy and its move to Cleveland, Tennessee in 1933.In 1975, the University Board of Trustees authorized a change in policy to admit black students, a move that occurred shortly before the announcement of the Supreme Court decision in Runyon v. In 2005, Stephen Jones, great-grandson of the founder, became BJU's president on the same day that he received his Ph. In his first meeting with the University cabinet in 2014, the fifth president Steve Pettit said he believed it was appropriate for BJU to regain its tax-exempt status because BJU no longer held its earlier positions about race.
After South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond switched his allegiance to the Republican Party in 1964, BJU faculty members became increasingly influential in the new state Republican party, and BJU alumni were elected to local political and party offices.I have my own theories, as well, but today I am just delighted that nearly 100 years after it’s founding, a little light has shown through the chinks of BJU’s racist and segregationist past. Thanks to Amber for the link) About Hemant Mehta Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on You Tube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. Bob Jones University (BJU) is a private non-denominational Protestant university in Greenville, South Carolina, United States, known for its conservative cultural and religious positions.In March 2015, President Steve Pettit responded that on "behalf of Bob Jones University, I would like to sincerely and humbly apologize to those who felt they did not receive from us genuine love, compassion, understanding, and support after suffering sexual abuse or assault. Jones was a friend and admirer of William Jennings Bryan but also campaigned throughout the South for Herbert Hoover (and against Al Smith) during the 1928 presidential election.Even the authorized history of BJU notes that both Bob Jones, Sr. “played political hardball” when dealing with the three municipalities in which the school was successively located. warned the Greenville City Council that he had “four hundred votes in his pocket and in any election he would have control over who would be elected.” Bob Jones, Sr.'s April 17, 1960, Easter Sunday sermon, broadcast on the radio, entitled "Is Segregation Scriptural?
In 1976, candidates supported by BJU faculty and alumni captured the local Republican party with unfortunate short-term political consequences, but by 1980 the religious right and the "country club" Republicans had joined forces.