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It is a long-standing advertisement of Alice Lloyd College to proudly acknowledge our Appalachian location as well as our culture. In an article published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “Small, Rural Colleges Grapple with Their Geography”, author Lawrence Biemiller analyzes a number of small, rural colleges, including Alice Lloyd College, to determine how they are dealing with their location. While many would consider the campus of Alice Lloyd College to be isolated in comparison to metropolitan colleges and universities, the location of ALC is what fuels the very mission the College was founded on, to educate mountain people for positions of leadership.

The most recent freshman application numbers are just another example of how the college’s geography does not affect the ability to educate the next leaders of Appalachia. Last year, the College received 6,300 applications for the 200 spots available to the fall freshman class. The majority of these students hail from ALC’s 108 county service area, which spans multiple states and offers the Appalachian Leaders College Scholarship, a tuition-guaranteed scholarship to students from these counties.

In addition to the College’s tuition guaranteed scholarship, ALC also provides a Student Work Program. As one of only seven work-study colleges in the nation, the Student Work Program also attracts numerous students despite the college’s location. Sophomore business administration student Brooklyn Reid, from London, KY, considered ALC’s Student Work Program when applying for colleges. Brooklyn said, “I knew that the Student Work Program would help me gain responsibility and provide a learning experience that would prepare me for my future career.”

While many out-of-the-way colleges would also find it difficult to recruit faculty, the faculty of Alice Lloyd College are generally older, more experienced faculty candidates who are drawn to “the remote location and the camaraderie on our campus. The interviewees that seem to dislike the location tend to be younger,” stated Claude (Lafie) Crum, the vice president for academic affairs. It is, however, a great fervor for the Alice Lloyd College mission that attracts and unites the faculty of ALC, young and old, regardless of their remote geography. President Joe A. Stepp “sees the issue in almost evangelical terms: ‘You have to have a missionary zeal to want to work here,’” as quoted by Lawrence Biemiller. 

Alice Lloyd College is located in the rural foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, but it is in those foothills that Alice Lloyd found her purpose and discovered the great potential of mountain people, the potential to shape the next leaders of Appalachia, regardless of their location. Alice Lloyd made it her life’s mission, and the mission of countless others who have followed, to educate the mountain people for positions of leadership. She chose not to build her college among the emerging cities of the time, but to educate those around her already nestled deep along the banks of Caney Creek, to build what has long been referred to as “a light into the Mountains.”