category: Faculty Emeriti - Presidents

Arsola Crawford (A.C.) Lovelace

Fourth President, 1935-1936

A.C. Lovelace (1898-1956) was born in Rutherford County, N.C. He was the son of Cicero Crawford and Mary Elizabeth Carolina Flack Lovelace. 

Lovelace attended school at Pleasant Hill and graduated from Round Hill Academy; he taught there briefly before going to Wake Forest College in 1912. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1916. While at Wake Forest, he was chairman of the Student Assistants (called scrub faculty) and served under the legendary Dr. Benjamin Sleed in the English department. Later he earned the Master of Education degree from Duke University. After graduation, he was invited by Dr. Enoch Walter Sikes, the newly elected president of Coker College, to go with him and teach English. 

After two years at Coker College, Lovelace resigned to enlist in the U.S. Army. On his way home, he stopped at Piedmont College in Georgia and proposed marriage to Maude Lee White, his childhood sweetheart. Following a wedding trip to Asheville, N.C., Lovelace went to the U.S. Army Training Center at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C., then on to Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville, Ky., for Officers’ Training School. The World War I Armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, and he returned home to his bride. 

Upon returning to North Carolina, a position of elementary school  principal was offered to him in Henrietta. He accepted and moved with his wife and first son, Austin Cole (born March 26, 1919). His second son, Marc Hoyle, was born June 5, 1920, while there.  

In 1922, Lovelace moved to Sylva, N.C., to serve as principal of the high school. Two years later, he returned to Rutherford County to serve as superintendent of Henrietta, Caroleen, and Avondale schools. In 1932, he became superintendent of the school at Mills Home (N.C. Baptist Home for Children in Thomasville), where he served until Dr. Zeno Wall and others visited him to urge him to accept the presidency of Boiling Springs Junior College, a position he held from 1935-1936. He had previously served on the Board of Trustees for the College (1932-1934). 

The college was struggling and resources were meager. Unfortunately, the Sandy Run and other Baptist Associations could not provide enough support for the school to operate. That was a turning point for the school and for Lovelace. He accepted the post, and the family moved to Forest City, where Marc finished high school. Lovelace and his son Austin, who was a college student, commuted each day to the college. Lovelace, along with the Rev. J.L. Jenkins and Dr. Zeno Wall, served as presidents at the college during its most critical financial days. All three gentlemen served without receiving any salary. 

Lovelace found it difficult to recruit students and faculty; he faced the reality that someone with powers of persuasion should be president. After his resignation, he moved to Gastonia. He served as Assistant Principal at Shelby High School and taught Algebra, Latin, and English. He also taught in high schools in Forest City, Kannapolis, Old Fort, and Lewisville. His two sons attended High Point College (University). 

His next move was to High Point College, where he became a professor of education. While living there, Mrs. Lovelace, their son Austin, and Marc’s future wife all graduated from High Point College the same year. Lovelace was also ordained as a minister during this time and did interim and supply work. 

The president of Wingate College, who was a friend to Lovelace, invited him to become the Dean of the Faculty and assist Wingate in achieving accreditation. His success motivated the president of Mt. Olive College, so he was invited to do the same service for them. It was shortly after going there that Lovelace died (Feb. 3, 1956) of a massive coronary; he was buried in the family plot in Rutherford County. 

In histories of Forsyth, Rutherford and other counties, tribute is paid to Lovelace for his leadership in furthering public education. North Carolina Baptists honored him for his leadership in the Sandy Run Association. His greatest pride was in his two sons and their accomplishments. Austin received his doctorate in sacred music from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Marc received his doctorate in archeology and the Ancient Near East from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. 

Many of Lovelace’s Boiling Springs College students expressed their gratitude for his help in their completion of two years of college in spite of the challenging and disheartening financial problems during his tenure as president. 

Sources: Letters, telephone conversations, personal interviews with Dr. Marc Lovelace 

– Cothenia Jolley 

-Revised by Noel T. Manning II, May 2022 

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