• Commencement Information

    Happy graduation week! If you still need your rain tickets or honor cords, they will be available for you at check-in on Friday (Hickory campus).

    Student check-in is Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Shuford Arena. Guests are asked to be in their seats by 5:30 p.m.

    Any changes to the commencement schedule will be posted here. 

    Commencement Information

Our Story

History & Traditions

The university opened the doors to its one-room school, known then as Highland Academy, in 1891 with 12 students.

The original property, a 56-acre tract one mile north of the Hickory business district, was part of the estate of a Watauga County lawyer Walter W. Lenoir. Before he died in 1890, Lenoir donated the land as a campus for a church-sponsored college. The school officially opened on September 1, 1891.

In 1895, 学院获得了第一个正式的教会赞助,直到今天,美国福音派路德教会的北卡罗来纳教会还在继续赞助.

Name Origins

Four months into being known as Highland College, the school was chartered under the name of Lenoir College in memory of Walter W. Lenoir and his donation of the land. In 1923, the college became Lenoir-Rhyne, in honor of Daniel E. Rhyne, a Lincoln County industrialist who boosted the endowment and other assets of the institution. The college was admitted into the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1928.

School Growth

With the end of World War II came an influx of students, boosting enrollment from 407 in 1945 to 843 in 1947. In the late 1960s, the college initiated long-range plans to enrich the quality of its curricula and has never looked back. Some of major improvements included changes to the academic calendar, new courses were offered and joint degree programs with other institutions were added, student personnel services were expanded, new buildings were constructed and others were renovated. The campus almost doubled in size and the endowment hit new highs.

In March 2008, 学院董事会批准了将勒努瓦-雷恩学院转变为勒努瓦-雷恩大学的计划. This name change came to help better reflect the growth being made in enrollment, faculty and staff.

Lenoir-Rhyne University Today

勒努瓦-雷恩大学已经发展成为一所全国公认的文科大学,拥有近200名学生,700 students and 140 full-time faculty.


Today, more than 130 years after its founding, Lenoir-Rhyne continues to follow the heart of its mission – as a community, 帮助学生追求成为一个完整的人,促进负责任的领导和个人信仰的明确.

Lenoir-Rhyne Through the Years

Explore Lenoir-Rhyne's past, traditions and highlights as shaped by students, faculty, staff and alumni.

  • 2010-Present


    To support campus safety, 勒努瓦-雷恩大学与山胡桃市合作,从2月份开始,将山胡桃警察局的警官安排在校园内全职工作. Other recent collaborations include improved crosswalks and enhanced lighting around campus.

    To provide transformational opportunities for students and enhance the previous academic structure, LR reorganized to a six-college format.

    The Graduate School announced record enrollment for 2020-21 with 903 students officially enrolled.

    LR launched the Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute certificate program. A 30-hour program, LREDI为参与者提供16小时的课程,重点是领导力,另外12小时是针对公司特定解决方案的战略. 会议的高潮是一个环节,让参与者探索与现实生活场景相关的公平问题.


    To offer half-off tuition statewide, the university expanded its Catawba County Promise program to provide the same tuition benefits statewide. Now called Lenoir-Rhyne Promise, the program, which covers tuition only, applies to new and full-time undergraduate students starting fall 2020.

    On April 12, 2018, LR held an inaugural Giving Day Challenge, Bears Have Heart, prompting dedicated alumni, faculty, staff, students, and community partners to give more than $97,000 to the institution.

    The first cohort for the Family Nurse Practitioner/Doctorate of Nursing Practice, LR's first doctoral program, began in August 2018.

    The 30th anniversary of the Visiting Writers Series was celebrated during the 2018 academic year.

    In May 2018, men's lacrosse advanced to the NCAA DII Men's Lacrosse National Championship Semifinal game. Head Coach Greg Paradine was also named the National Division II Coach of the Year for the 2018 season.

    The freshman class of more than 500 was the largest class in LR history.

    Launched Catawba County Promise, 这是一个创新的项目,为任何一年级本科学生提供至少50%的学费减免.卡托巴县居民或从卡托巴县转学的本科学生,高中GPA为5或更高,在认可的大学有超过30个学时的尝试.5 GPA.

    In December 2018, LR broke ground for the Neill McGeachy Sports Performance Center. The facility will feature 14,000 square feet of new and enhanced multiuse training space, a weight room, nutrition bar and indoor turf training area, enhanced team meeting spaces, additional coaches offices, and a covered pavilion for Bears Club hospitality and engagement space.

    Dr. Frederick K. Whitt and his wife, Donna, are welcomed to Lenoir-Rhyne's campus in February 2017. Whitt was named the 12th president of the university.

    In January 2016, Lenoir-Rhyne opened its doors to the new Wayne B. 鲍威尔健康科学中心迎来了医师助理研究项目的首届班级.

    Kim Pate was named the director of intercollegiate athletics on March 1, 2016. She replaced Neill McGeachy, who resigned after 14 years of service.

    2016年3月,唐纳德·特朗普总统在竞选2016年总统大选期间参观了LR的校园. Although LR endorses no political candidates, 该机构建立在坚定支持公开的民间话语和自由交流思想的原则之上.

    In the fall of 2016, the spirit of LR Marching Band took the field for the first time since the early 1990s. Neil Underwood was appointed as the band's director.


    The University Rising campaign finished in March 2015 with $66 million raised.

    In August, the Minges Science Building addition held its groundbreaking. The addition was named Alex and Lee George Hall.

    The 2015 academic year marked the 125th anniversary of the institution. "A Fair Star Rises" was produced to commemorate the tradition and history of our campus community.

    A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the construction of the new chapel in March 2013. Located in the heart of campus, Grace Chapel was dedicated on November 21, 2014.

    The LR football team finished second in the NCAA Division II National Football Championship. The game, played on December 21, 2013, in Florence, Alabama, was televised by ESPN.

    The merger between Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina and Lenoir-Rhyne University became official in July 2012.

    In August, the LRU Center for Graduate Studies in Asheville, North Carolina opened its doors to students.

    2010年10月,欧文·贝尔克(Irwin Belk)慷慨捐赠给该大学一座12英尺高的马丁·路德(Martin Luther)雕像. The statue is believed to be the largest statue of Martin Luther in the world.

  • 2000-2010

    索尔马兹肥胖研究所成立于2009年10月,丹佛的冈戈尔和戴安娜·索尔马兹捐赠了300万美元, North Carolina.

    In March 2008, the board of trustees approved the plan to transform Lenoir-Rhyne College into a university. On August 23, 2008, Lenoir-Rhyne University was officially approved.

    The Donald and Helen Schort School of Computing Sciences and Mathematics was established with a $2.5 million estate gift from the couple.

    The first phase of the Moretz Sports – Athletic Complex was completed, including the Irwin Belk Track and a new soccer field. This was the first track and field complex in the college’s history.

    Students moved into the new Residential Village and the newly renovated Fritz-Conrad Residence Hall.

    John ’72 and Marilyn ’73 Moretz gave the largest gift in the college’s history, totaling $5.1 million. This generous gift funded a nursing scholarship and improvements to athletic facilities. Later that year, the board of trustees appointed the Commission for Lenoir-Rhyne to study the future of the college. 董事会还批准了一项5000万美元的激进计划,用于扩展和改善LR的物理设施.

    The Charge, the iconic larger-than-life size statue of a black bear in attack stance, was installed on campus. The statue by noted sculptor John Phelps was a project of the Piedmont Educational Foundation/Bears Club.

    Renovations and dedication of Mauney-Schaeffer Conference Hall.

    Establishment of the Thomas W. Reese Institute for Conservation Studies, which was established with a gift of $3 million from Thomas Reese ’48, owner of Hickory Printing Group.

    Hands on Hickory, a community service program for incoming freshman was launched by the Office of Student Life.

    The Charles M. Snipes School of Business & Economics was the first school of the college to be named. It was named after banker and alumnus Charles Snipes ’58.

    The McCrorie Center opened.


    On September 22, 2000, ground was broken for the McCrorie Center – a 33,500 square-foot building designed to house health science programs and provide athletic spaces, named for alumnus Hank McCrorie ’60, who donated the naming gift.

  • 1980-1999



    To encourage and support student travel, Lenoir-Rhyne opened the office of international.

    In the Shuford Gymnasium on a steamy August day at 10 am, Dr. Gunnar Stålsett, General Secretary of the World Lutheran Federation in Geneva, Switzerland, officially opened the Lenoir-Rhyne College centennial year.

    On November 14, 1988, English professor Dr. Rand Brandes began the Visiting Writers Series, with Paul Muldoon serving as the first visiting writer.

    Sen. George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic Party presidential nominee, spoke at Lenoir-Rhyne.

  • 1960-1979

    In April 1977, Pulitzer Prize-winner Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” spoke at Lenoir-Rhyne.

    The College began its support services for deaf and hard of hearing students, designed to make higher education more accessible.

    Alfred Chine became the the first foreign Student Government Association president. Chine was a political science major from Auka, Nigeria.

    Gloria Ann Sudderth became the first African-American to graduate from Lenoir-Rhyne.

    President Gerald R. Ford and presidential candidate Gov. Jimmy Carter spoke on campus in the P.E. Monroe Auditorium.

    The board restored the hyphen to the name Lenoir-Rhyne after 50 years of debating the topic. During the Bost administration, the cause was renewed by Orestes P. Rhyne, 他后来被称为“连字符英雄”,他以5美元的出价挑战该机构采取行动,000 to the endowment fund on the table. The board accepted his offer and the hyphenated name became official in the spring.


    The Greek Awards were founded by Dr. Ellis Boatmon, a history professor, to recognize the achievements of fraternity and sorority members.

    During the 1965 academic year, Raymond M. 博斯特成为勒努瓦-雷恩学院的第一位全职教务长,并一直担任该职位,直到1968年当选校长. Bost’s successor, Albert B. Anderson, assumed the presidential duties on September 13, 1976 and was the first non-clergyman to serve as president.

    The Cromer Center opened, incorporating part of the original dining hall, while also providing space for student activities. It is named for former Lenoir-Rhyne President Voigt Cromer.

    LR enrolled its first five African-American students during the summer session. Among them was Jerry Shaw, the first full-time black athlete at LR. After graduation, he became a member of the college’s student activities staff. Shaw Plaza and Shaw Center, home of the Black Student Alliance, are named in his memory.

    The Minges Science Building, named after the L.L. Minges family of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, opened.

    The Bears football team, under head coach Clarence Stasavich and assistant coaches Hanley Painter and Norman Punch, won the national championship.

  • 1940-1959

    On February 16, 1957, the first basketball game was played in the new Shuford Gymnasium. Construction of the gym was made possible by the generosity of A. Alex Shuford Jr. and Shuford Mills. The gym was built as part of Our Campaign for a Greater Lenoir-Rhyne, a $1.5-million fundraising effort that included several buildings.

    The Carl Augustus Rudisill Library opened, the result of a generous $50,000 gift from the Cherryville textile executive and member of LR's Class of 1905.

  • 1920-1939

    Professor Kenneth Lee began the A Cappella Choir.

    Daniel E. Rhyne, a Lutheran businessman from Lincoln County, gave $150,000 toward the college’s rebuilding effort. The Rhyne Building, one of the first new buildings, was named in his honor. The name of the college was later changed to Lenoir-Rhyne College to reflect his contributions.

    Mauney Hall, the new women’s residence hall named for the Jacob and Andrew Mauney families of Kings Mountain, who paid for its construction, was completed.

    Henry Owl, the first Cherokee to graduate from a North Carolina college, earned his degree.

    In January 1927, a fire destroyed Old Main, the administration building. Because insurance could not cover the loss, the college developed a bold funding drive to replace the building, while also constructing a new women’s dormitory and a dining hall. The Hickory Daily Record assisted in the rebuilding efforts, calling on the public to donate books to replenish the college’s library. The community effort collected 8,715 books and $900 in cash. Ultimately more than 9,000 volumes are received.

    Joe Bear, at the time a live animal, was introduced as the college mascot.

    Professor Pearl Setzer Deal created the Lenoir-Rhyne Playmakers.

    A Raleigh News & Observer sportswriter, 报道了1924年4月9日在威尔逊的勒诺瓦学院棒球队以22-7战胜大西洋基督教学院, observed that “after a slow start, 勒努瓦-莱恩队从教练席上冲了出来,就像山里的熊从北卡罗来纳州西部山区的巢穴冲出来一样.” The nickname bears stuck after that.

  • 1900-1919

    Librarian John C. Seegers, Jr., wrote the alma mater “Fair Star of Caroline.”

    At the annual banquet, the alumni association selected as speaker Virginia pastor A.L. Boliek, who was the first alumnus to have a son graduate from Lenoir. His son, Leo L. Boliek, received his degree the same week to become the college’s first “grandson.”

    A proposal for a college yearbook was made to faculty at its meeting on January 22, 1909. A name for the publication – HACAWA, meaning Halls, Campus, Walls – was decided on February 12, 1909. The name was proposed by Fritz, who later wrote, “The jobs, successes, pleasures, victories – and failures – were deeply within their three never-to-be-forgotten realms – Halls, Campus, Walls!”

    The college awarded its first honorary doctorates.

    In the summer of 1903, 弗里茨选择了学校的颜色(石榴红和黑色)和校训“真理会让你自由”, from John 8).

    The college started a baseball team, its first intercollegiate sport. Two years later, it fielded its first intercollegiate football team.

    Robert Fritz became the college’s second president in 1901. On March 13, 1919, he resigned as president, closing out a tenure of 18 years, 7 months, and 11 days ­– the longest in school history.

  • 1891-1900

    高地学院由四位路德教会牧师创立,是一所男女同校的高等学府. The doors opened on September 1, 1891 with a student enrollment of 12.

    Four months into its founding, the college was renamed to Lenoir College in honor of Walter W. Lenoir, a Wilkes County lawyer and judge, who donated the property for the college in his will.

    The first college president was the Rev. Robert Anderson Yoder, who served from 1891 to 1901.


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