In 1914 California ranchers Emeline Hurlbutt and her husband, Nathaniel, bought the property that Georgia-Cumberland Academy sits on in what was then Reeves, Georgia, with an inheritance and a desire to help God’s cause in the South. Having received personal counsel from Ellen White, they observed the work of E. A. Sutherland and P. T. Magan in Madison, Tennessee, before establishing their own institution to care for the sick and orphaned and to train missionary nurses, health educators, farmers, teachers, dieticians, evangelists, and colporteurs. The self-supporting Hurlbutt Farm began operation with Professor A. W. Spalding as principal and pastor; Dr. O. M. Hayward as medical director; and Professor W. S. Boynton as business manager. The first farm manager was William G. Wilson, followed soon after by Carter Ledford. Elder N. C. Wilson, who later served as Georgia-Cumberland Conference president, was the first Bible teacher.
Shortly before her death in 1932, Mrs. Hurlbutt deeded the institution to the Laymen’s Foundation. In 1944 the medical and educational entities were named for benefactor Lida Scott, becoming Scott Sanitarium and Scott Schools. The charitable and health ministries of the sanitarium became well known in the surrounding cities. Sadly, after a tragic accident and fire, operation ceased on July 1, 1959. Subsequently, the property was purchased by the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for the purpose of building a secondary boarding school. With visionary planning, enthusiastic fundraising (including a memorable conference-wide Penny Campaign in which 3.4 million pennies were collected to help construct the music building), and a host of volunteers, construction began in 1961, and GCA opened its doors to 166 students in August 1965.
Since the opening of this school, thousands of students have graduated and gone on to further their education and make their mark in the world. We are proud of the alumni of Georgia-Cumberland Academy who are serving humanity in almost every conceivable area of paid employment and voluntary service. They truly embody our mission, which is “To Know, to Love, To Serve.”
Located near the rapidly developing I-75 corridor between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia, GCA maintains a commitment to students from the Calhoun area, the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, and the world church.