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Barber-Scotia College was established in 1876 by The Reverand Luke Dorland, a missionary who came to Cabarrus County to establish a college to educate young black women in the South. Scotia Seminary merged in 1930 with Barber Memorial Institute. Barber-Scotia College has been co-ed since 1954.
Graves Hall opened in 1877 and underwent major expansion four years later. It now serves as a dormitory.
Young women graduates loyal to the college donated money funding the D. J. Satterfield Memorial Gate, the pedestrian entrance to Graves Hall. Satterfield was a Princeton graduate and licensed preacher, and became president of the college in 1885. In order to expand the college's scope, he saw that chemistry, physics, and astronomy were added to the science offerings.