News & Events

Mars Hill University Dedicates Two New Buildings

Two new classroom buildings at Mars Hill University have made major impacts to the campus landscape, but even greater impacts on the university’s educational mission and the surrounding communities. Day Hall and Ferguson Health Sciences Center both opened for the fall semester last month, and today the university celebrated the people who made possible the new facilities.

Day Ribbon CuttingBenefits for Town and Gown

Day Hall, located on the northeast end of the campus, is the new home for the university’s business administration program and also houses most on-campus classes for the Adult & Graduate Studies program, a black box theatre, box office and lobby for adjacent Owen Theatre, the university bookstore, and the Hilltop Café restaurant.

With frontage on Main Street in downtown Mars Hill, university and town leaders expect Day Hall to have an impact beyond the campus.

“The building supports business education but also actual commerce of the university and town through the bookstore, cafe, and theatre operations. We anticipate that the location, ambiance, and available services will draw community members into the building and strengthen town-gown relationships.”

~Grainger Caudle, chair of the business administration department

Day Hall is named for Troy and Pauline Day of Kannapolis, North Carolina. Troy Day is an 1948 graduate of Mars Hill College, chair of the Mars Hill University Foundation Board, and a former chair of the university’s board of trustees.

Ferguson Ribbon CuttingMeeting a WNC Need

Ferguson Health Sciences Center makes possible a major new academic program for Mars Hill University. The building, on the southeast end of the campus, houses the Judge-McRae School of Nursing. The building features state-of-the-art simulators and other technology to prepare nurses for 21st century health care careers. Cathy Franklin-Griffin, professor and dean of the Judge-McRae School of Nursing, says Mars Hill’s nursing programs will produce graduates prepared for the “landscape of community, cultural competence, ethical leadership, and courageous advocacy” that is needed in the nursing profession.

University leaders first began discussing the feasibility of adding a nursing program more than 30 years ago, according to Mars Hill University President Dan Lunsford. The first cohort of 18 students in the pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program began classes in the facility this fall. (A Registered Nurse to BSN program began in 2015 at the Mars Hill University Asheville Center for Adult & Graduate Studies on Airport Road in Arden.) With the opening of those programs, university leaders were able to realize that long-sought program to help address the nursing needs of the western North Carolina region. Twelve WNC counties are represented in the nursing school’s student body.

Ferguson Health Sciences Center is named for Carolyn and Jack Ferguson of Candler, North Carolina, whose generosity provided for construction of the building. The Fergusons are longtime supporters of Mars Hill University and its students. A 2004 gift provided for the construction of Ferguson Math and Sciences Center, which sits across the street from the health sciences facility. Carolyn Ferguson is a two-term trustee of the institution; Jack Ferguson is a member of the foundation board.

The Judge-McRae School of Nursing is named for Linda Judge-McRae and Norman McRae and their daughter, Caroline. The McRaes own Caris Healthcare in Knoxville, Tennessee, and are longtime supporters of their alma mater. Linda Judge-McRae graduated from Mars Hill College in 1986 and is a trustee of the university. Norman McRae is a member of the Mars Hill class of 1984.