Lenoir-Rhyne University - Hickory, NC The dream of Lenoir-Rhyne began in 1891 when four Lutheran pastors created a school where young people could receive a sound education based on religious principles and Christian values. The doors to the one-room school, then called Highland Academy, opened with 12 students.

In 1895, the college assumed its first official synodical sponsorship which continues today with the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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, Captain Walter Lenoir. Before he died in 1890, Captain Lenoir donated the land as a campus for a church-sponsored college. The school opened September 1, 1891. It carried the name "Highland College," but four months later it was chartered under the name of Lenoir College in memory of the donor of the land. The college became Lenoir-Rhyne in 1923, 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.

The end of World War II brought 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 it has never looked back. Major improvements in the academic calendar were implemented. New courses were offered and joint degree programs with other institutions were added. Student personnel services were expanded and new buildings constructed and others renovated. The campus almost doubled in size and endowment hit new highs.

Graphic Design

Graphic Design combines elements of studio art, digital technology and artistic design to prepare the student for a career in today's world. The Graphic Design degree program embraces the entire range of visual communication. The program provides a robust curriculum of conceptual problem solving, innovation, critical thinking, formal design and branding.

Graphic designers work with images as well as text in order to design and create visually appealing elements, including brochures, logos, advertisements, and websites. In order to create these items, graphic designers will often work with a variety of different types of images, including photographs, paintings, and digital media. Photo and image editing software is often used to manipulate images and create the designs. Not only do these artists need to make their creations look great, they also usually need to make their creations speak in a way. Most clients hire graphic designers to create something that sends a message. Sometimes this message is loud and clear, but other times it is meant to be subliminal.

Music/Music Education

The Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education provides students with the opportunity for Teacher Certification (K-12 Music) in North Carolina. Students specialize in either instrumental, keyboard, or vocal music in preparation for a career as a music educator. This program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance offers you rigorous training and preparation for graduate level work in music. Students who plan to follow careers as professional musicians or university level professors generally follow the music performance curriculum. You may combine the Music Performance Major with an Enrichment Minor in Sacred Music in preparation for a career in church music.The Bachelor of Arts degree with a music major is a liberal arts degree which allows you to gain a solid grounding in both music and the traditional liberal arts. Frequently students who plan to pursue a career outside of music find that the liberal arts degree is well suited to a double major curriculum, allowing them to develop both their career area and their musical talent. You may also combine this music major with the minor in Sacred Music.


Grounded in the liberal arts tradition and tailored to fit a student's individual needs, the Theatre Arts program at Lenoir-Rhyne University is intensive and rewarding. Students pursue course work in dramatic theory, history, and literature as well as various studio courses in all phases of production work. Supplementing class work is a rigorous production program involving mainstage shows and studio productions. Students are not only prepared through classwork and school activities, but they are also given the opportunity to gain real world experience through internships with regional theatres as well.

Theatre majors as well as minors take an active role in the Lenoir-Rhyne Playmakers' production season. Students are vital contributors in all aspects of production: performance, technology, design, direction, and management. Students also explore theatre though course work, involvement with community, educational, and professional theater events, the North Carolina Theatre Conference, as well as the Southeastern Theatre Conference. Through these opportunities, students are able to not only grow with their peers and professors, but they are able to stand side-by-side with professionals in their field so that you can make connections early in your studies.

Contact Information

Phone: (800) 277-5721

Email: Admissions

Website: Website

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Other: Graphic Design

Other: Music/Music Education

Other: Studio Art