Rust College – Where tomorrow’s leaders are students today

April 12, 2018

Rust College is a historically black liberal arts college located at 150 Rust Avenue, in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Located approximately 35 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, it is the second- oldest private college in the state. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, it is one of ten Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) founded before 1868 that is still operating. Rust was founded on November 24, 1866 by Northern missionaries with a group called the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1870, the college was chartered as Shaw University in 1870, honoring the Reverend S. O. Shaw, who made a gift of $10,000 to the institution which, is the equivalent of approximately $190,000 in 2018. In 1892, to avoid confusion with Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, the institution changed its name to Rust University—a tribute to Rev. Richard S. Rust of Cincinnati, Ohio, the secretary of the Freedman’s Aid Society. In 1915, the institution assumed the name Rust College. The current president is Dr. David L. Beckley and the enrolled full-time student population is more than 1000.

Rust College offers degrees in more than 20 different areas of study. The college is dedicated to serve their students with a variety of academic preparations, through instruction in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, business, technology, and community services. Rust recognizes the threefold functions of education as being teaching, research, and community service, with its primary focus on teaching. It offers a well-rounded program designed to acquaint students with cultural, moral, and spiritual values, both in theory and in practice.

Rust College has five residential halls on the campus with two men-only dorms: Gross Hall (92 students) and Davage-Smith Hall (276 students); and three dorms that are reserved for women only: Wiff Hall (92 students), E.L. Rust (196 students), and Elzy Hall (200 students). A full time professional lives in each building and is responsible for the educational and operational functions of the residence hall. Rules governing residential living are explained in the Student and Residential Life Handbooks.

Besides academics, Rust College offers a wide variety of experiences and activities to their student body. The athletic and intramural areas teach sportsmanship, respect for the rights of others, and provide opportunities for recreation and physical fitness. The college participates in the following intercollegiate sports: basketball, tennis, cross-country, track and field, cheerleading, women’s fast pitch softball, and volleyball. There are also several national Greek chapters that the college has authorized to operate on campus, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.; and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Annual tuition (full time) is $9,600 (fall and spring semesters only) or $4,743 per semester. Annual room and board is $4,000 (fall and spring semesters only) or $2,000 per semester. Rust College offers several scholarships to eligible students. All scholarships are based upon availability of funding. Rust College provides an opportunity for education to all regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or ethnic background.

For more information on Rust College, please contact Enrollment Services, Rust College, 150 Rust Avenue, Holly Springs, MS 38635; or by calling 1-888-886-8492, ext. 4059 or 662-252-8000, ext. 4059; or visit them on the web at