Montreat College’s former prez is remembered as leader

From staff reports

Former Montreat College President Silas M. “Si” Vaughn died peacefully on May 9. He was 89 years old.

As president, Vaughn is most known for the separation of the management of the Mountain Retreat Association and presidency of the college, as well as leading the college during its progression to a fully accredited four-year baccalaureate institution.

“Si Vaughn’s fingerprints are all over Montreat College,” Montreat College President Paul J. Maurer said in a press release from the college. “From the capital improvements he spearheaded to our existence as a four-year baccalaureate institution, his dedication to Montreat College remains part of the fabric of the institution. There is no past president who did more to create the Montreat College of today than Si Vaughn, and I am privileged to stand on his shoulders.”

Vaughn served as Montreat College president from 1972-1991. Capital improvements during that time included renovating McLeod and Howerton Halls, construction of Newell Athletic Field, Bell Campus Center, and a new Prayer Porch.

The Discovery Wilderness Program was implemented and achieved national recognition.

In 1986, the college once again became a baccalaureate institution, with the first Bachelor of Arts degrees conferred in May 1988.

Full Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation baccalaureate institution was achieved, and Montreat became a member of the Council of Christian Colleges & Universities in 1988.

In addition to these more tangible achievements, Vaughn is widely remembered for his dedication to the college and its students, faculty, and staff - a dedication that continued long after his tenure as president had ended.

“Si Vaughn was not only president, but a dear friend of Montreat College who worked tirelessly on behalf of this institution,” William Haynes, chair of the college’s board of trustees, said in the press release. “He will be deeply missed, and we are praying for his family. We thank Si for his gifts used on Montreat's behalf and for the glory of Christ.”

“Dr. Vaughn served Montreat College, and the Montreat community, during a time of great transition,” said Mountain Retreat Association President Richard DuBose. “The impact of his leadership remains evident in the college’s commitment to Christ-centered, student-focused education.”

Vaughn was born in Collinsville, Texas, on March 20, 1926. He was educated at Collinsville Texas Public School, Austin College, North Texas State University and the University of Kentucky.

He and his wife Catherine were married nearly 62 years. Prior to coming to Montreat College, Vaughn was the former vice chancellor of business affairs for the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.

He served as chairman of the North Carolina Advisory Committee on Higher Education Facilities.