In the fall of 1958 a group of ministers from the Mid-South area assembled to discuss the pressing need of preparing Christian leadership for the region. In January of 1959 approximately forty interested individuals met in Whitehaven, Tennessee with Vernon M. Newland, of St. Louis Christian College, to discuss the prospects of initiating a Christian college in Memphis. In September of that year, with eleven resident students, Memphis Christian College began offering classes. An eleven acre campus was purchased, and Brother Vernon M. Newland served as the first president of the institution.
In 1964 Brad Burnette became the second president of the college, having served as Administrative Dean since 1960. By 1968 the enrollment had grown to 47 students and several additional buildings were constructed on the campus. However, in order to accommodate further growth, the Board of Trustees made the decision in the fall of 1973 to sell the campus and move to a 150 acre campus located outside of Senatobia, MS. The name of the institution was changed to Mid-South Christian College.
Jack M. Bliffen was installed as the third president of the college on September 2, 1975. Mid-South Christian College continued to advance in structure and organization under his leadership, but due to failing health he offered his resignation in 1980. On August 1, 1981 Gerald A. Gibson became the fourth president of the institution.
In 1986, through a complicated series of events, the Board of Trustees decided to relocate the college back to the urban center of Memphis, TN and the institution eventually returned to the original campus upon which it was founded in 1959. Soon afterwards, in the fall of 1987 W.H. “Bill” Griffin was named the fifth president of Mid-South Christian College. He was followed by the sixth president, Mr. Robert Secrist, on January 1, 1997.
The current president, Larry Griffin (son of W.H. Griffin, and a 1981 graduate of the college) was installed in 2001. Larry had been a missionary for many years in Latin America, and under his leadership Mid-South Christian College became a bi-lingual Bible College, with all classes and degrees offered in both Spanish and English. The college was granted Candidate Status with the Commission on Accreditation of the Association of Biblical Higher Education in February, 2011. A new Bachelor of Christian Leadership degree was established in 2010, and the enrollment and graduation rates for the college have grown steadily. Full, initial accreditation is expected to be granted by February, 2015.
OUR NAME SAKE
William H. Griffin, known by many as Brother Bill, was born July 7, 1933. He was one of the very first four-year graduates of Memphis Christian College (now Mid-South Christian College) in 1964, and he went on to serve churches in Memphis, TN, Caruthersville, MO, and Southaven, MS. IN 1982 Mr. Griffin was appointed as Executive Vice-President of Mid-South Christian College, and he later served from 1988 to 1997 as President of the institution.
In addition to his service to the local church and the college, Brother Bill was known for his evangelistic efforts, holding meetings throughout the mid-south area as well as in Australia, Zimbabwe, India, China and the Dominican Republic.
Bill Griffin was married to Dorothy Cooper of Weiner, AR and they had two sons Gerald Griffin, professor at Ozark Christian College, and Larry Griffin, current President of Mid-South Christian College.
William H. Griffin received his eternal reward on November 29, 2008 and on August 24, 2013 the Resource Center at Mid-South Christian College was officially dedicated in his memory.