Founded in 1884 as the Minister’s Institute, Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) is a four-year, historically African American church-related institution. It offers a liberal arts-oriented academic program which leads to terminal degrees in the natural and physical sciences, social sciences, education, and business administration.
When founded by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas, the primary goal of the school was to raise the educational level of the African American ministry while valuing the teaching principles of Jesus Christ. The founders also placed a strong importance on making higher education available to any young African American who desired to pursue it. According to their current vision statement, Arkansas Baptist “is dedicated to the development of graduates who are exceptionally educated, spiritually and culturally aware, and able to meet the demands of our rapidly advancing society.”
The college’s student body is composed of students from the local community, rural Arkansas, and major urban centers throughout the country. It is a small school, with just over a thousand students. The student body is roughly 2/3 male and 1/3 female. The school is explicitly Christian and seeks to integrate Christian principles with academic scholarship. The mission of the college, as stated on their website, is:
1. To show personal interest in every student with regard to scholarship and the development of character and personality.
2. To provide basic tools, communication skills, general education, and global perspectives which are required in everyday contacts.
3. To provide knowledge, training and skills necessary for securing employment.
4. To provide a Christian philosophy of life with a frame for proper moral conduct.
In addition to its academic program, ABC provides service programs for the benefit of the state and local community. These programs include a Kiddie Kollege for preschoolers and continuing education courses through a partnership with the Arkansas Baptist Convention. The college participates in the Greater Little Rock Center for Higher Education, a consortium of historically African American colleges in the Little Rock area.