It was the first historically black female institution of higher education established after the American Civil War. The Charlotte Observer, in an interview with, Janet Magaldi, president of Piedmont Preservation Foundation stated: "Scotia Seminary was one of the first black institutions built after the Civil War. For the first time, it gave black women an alternative to becoming domestic servants or field hands, Magaldi said."
Scotia Seminary was modeled after Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College) and was referred to as The Mount Holyoke of the South. The seminary offered grammar, science, and domestic arts. In 1908 it had 19 teachers and 291 students. From its founding in 1867 to 1908 it had enrolled 2,900 students, with 604 having graduated from the grammar department and 109 from the normal department. Faith Hall, built in 1891, was the first dormitory at Scotia Seminary. It is listed in National Register of Historic Places and "is one of only four 19th-century institutional buildings left in Cabarrus County." It was closed by the college during the 1970s due to lack of funds for its maintenance.
|Myron J. Croker||1929-1932|
|Leland S. Cozart||1932-1964|
|Lionel H. Newsom||1964-1966|
|Jerome L. Gresham||1966-1974|
|Mable Parker McLean||1974-1988|
|Tyrone L. Burkette||1988-1989|
|Lionel H. Newsom (interim)||1989-1990|
|Gus T. Ridgel (interim)||1990|
|Joel 0. Nwagbaraocha||1990-1994|
|Asa T. Spaulding Jr.||1994|
|Mable Parker McLean||1994-1996|
|Sammie W. Potts||1996-2004|
|Leon Howard (interim)||2004|
|Mable Parker McLean (interim)||2006-2007|
|Carl Flamer||2007 - 2008|
|David Olah||2008 - Present|
The school granted its first bachelor's degree in 1945, and became a four-year women's college in 1946. In 1954, Barber-Scotia College became a coeducational institution and received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Today, the college maintains close ties to the Presbyterian Church.
To prevent it from closing, President Gloria Bromell-Tinubu led a strategic planning effort to change the college from a four-year liberal arts program to a college of entrepreneurship and business, and established partnerships with accredited colleges and top-tiered universities. She would later leave the college when the new Board leadership decided to pursue religious studies instead. Former President and alumna Mable Parker McLean was hired as president on an interim basis. In February 2006 a committee of the General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to continue the denomination's financial support for Barber-Scotia, noting that its physical facilities were "substantial and well-secured" and that the school was undertaking serious planning for the future. In May 2006, it was reported that Barber-Scotia would rent space on its campus to St. Augustine's College to use for an adult-education program: "Under the terms of the deal, St. Augustine's will pay Barber-Scotia for the space for its Gateway degree program starting this fall." McLean was replaced by President Carl M. Flamer (an alumnus of the college) who accepted the position without payment and the college re-opened with a limited number of students. During this time, the "previous attempts to revive the college [which] have centered on an entrepreneurial or business curriculum" were formally abandoned "in favor of focusing more on religious studies." Flamer also worked to eliminate debt and worked with alumni and the community to save the college.
Barber-Scotia was scheduled to reopen as a "full college" in fall 2008 and planned to apply for accreditation in September. It is headed by president David Olah and his advisor Tony Baldwin.