Isham L. Burrow, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now part
of the United Methodist Church), established Central Institute, a primary school
with an initial enrollment of 20 students, at Altus, Arkansas.
With the addition of secondary and collegiate departments, the school became
known as Central Collegiate Institute (C.C.I).
C.C.I. granted three "Mistress of English Literature" degrees, which represented
two years of collegiate study.
Although the Altus campus never had a residence hall or dining hall, a three-story
brick building was opened and contained a chapel, two schoolrooms and three classrooms.
C.C.I. was purchased by two Arkansas conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
South; the third conference became a joint-owner two years later. After the sale
of C.C.I., Rev. Burrow was retained as the president of the school. This was the
beginning of the relationship between Hendrix and the Methodist Church which continues
to this day.
C.C.I. conferred its first four-year degrees.
Rev. Alexander C. Millar was appointed as the second president of C.C.I..
Catalogue: "No student is allowed to communicate orally, by writing,
or by signs, with students of the other sex."
The primary department was discontinued and the institution was renamed Hendrix
College in honor of Rev. Eugene Russell Hendrix, presiding bishop of the three Arkansas
Methodist conferences. Hendrix was designated as the "male" college of the Methodist
Church, South in Arkansas; however, the institution continued to accept women students
who wished to study in a "male" collegiate environment.
A student literary magazine, the Hendrix College Mirror, began publication
on a monthly basis. It was the first college journal published in Arkansas. Future
Hendrix president Stonewall Anderson served as the first editor-in-chief.
After receiving bids from seven Arkansas towns, the Hendrix Board of Trustees
voted in March to move Hendrix to Conway.The institution had five faculty members
and 150 students, including about 25 in the collegiate department.
Financial woes following the Panic of 1893 threatened to close the college, but
support from individuals like Capt. W.W. Martin kept the school open. Intercollegiate
competitions, such as formal debates, were major student activities and were fostered
by student literary societies.
A publication by the U.S. Office of Education stated that Hendrix College had
the highest standards for admission and graduation of any Arkansas institution of
higher learning, public or private.