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Each fall, as a recruiting tool, the university sponsors a "High School Festival" in which students compete in music, art, and speech (including preaching) contests with their peers from around the country.In the spring, a similar competition sponsored by the American Association of Christian Schools, and hosted by BJU since 1977, brings thousands of national finalists to the university from around the country.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, Florida, 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.
Nevertheless, by the early 2000s, the university quietly reexamined its position on accreditation as degree mills proliferated and various government bureaucracies, such as law enforcement agencies, began excluding BJU graduates on the grounds that the university did not appear on appropriate federal lists.
In 2017, rated BJU as #2 in Best Four-Year College in South Carolina; rated it #3 Best Private College in South Carolina; and Christian University Online rated it #3 Most Affordable Christian College in the U. Although BJU had admitted Asians and other ethnic groups from its inception, it did not enroll Africans or African-American students until 1971. In 2000, following a media uproar prompted by the visit of presidential candidate George W. In 2008, the university declared itself "profoundly sorry" for having allowed "institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful".
From 1971 to 1975, BJU admitted only married blacks, although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had already determined in 1970 that "private schools with racially discriminatory admissions policies" were not entitled to federal tax exemption. 160 ), which prohibited racial exclusion in private schools. Bush to the university, Bob Jones III dropped the university's interracial dating rule, announcing the change on CNN's Larry King Live. That year BJU enrolled students from fifty states and nearly fifty countries, representing diverse ethnicities and cultures, and the BJU administration declared itself "committed to maintaining on the campus the racial and cultural diversity and harmony characteristic of the true Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world".
Bankrupt at the nadir of the Depression, without a home, and with barely enough money to move its library and office furniture, the college became in thirteen years the largest liberal arts college in Tennessee.
With the enactment of GI Bill at the end of World War II, the college was virtually forced to find a new location and build a new campus.
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The Division of Fine Arts includes an RTV department with a campus radio and television station, WBJU.