Bridgewater College taught classes in the natural sciences since its beginnings at Spring Creek, Virginia, in 1880. In addition, the College offered a specialized “Scientific Course” of study from 1881 until 1897, at which time it was discontinued due to lack of student interest in the Bachelor of Science degree. Students continued to study biology, however, as part of the BC “Classical Course”. Students in the “English-Scientific Course” of the affiliated Bridgewater Academy also studied biology. Biology was also taught in the “Agricultural Course”.
During the 20th century, Bridgewater College reestablished a B.S. degree in Natural Sciences, but again temporarily discontinued the B.S. degree in 1926. However, the College was again offering a biology major by 1964.
Bridgewater College students remember many notable professors of biology. Among them were Harry G.M. “Doc” Jopson, accomplished in biological sciences, men’s track coaching and student mentoring. He taught from 1936 to 1943 and then from 1946 to 1981.
Frances Ernestine Silliman taught some of the years from 1944 to 1953 and then from 1958 to 1973. She was an accomplished botanist who contributed to the University of North Carolina Herbarium.
On August 25, 1995, L. Michael Hill taught the first biology class in BC’s new McKinney Center for Science and Mathematics. He conducted extensive work on native flora and the botanical landscape of Bridgewater College during his tenure as a BC biology professor from 1972 to 2007.
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