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Rhodes College

Rhodes College is a private, predominantly undergraduate, liberal arts college located in Memphis, Tennessee.


2000 North Parkway


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Additional Information

College Type
Religious Affiliation
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Campus Housing
Mission Statement
Rhodes College aspires to graduate students with a lifelong passion for learning, a compassion for others, and the ability to translate academic study and personal concern into effective leadership and action in their communities and the world. We will achieve our aspiration through four strategic imperatives: Student Access To attract and retain a talented, diverse student body and engage these students in a challenging, inclusive and culturally-broadening college experience. Student Learning To ensure our faculty and staff have the talent, the time and the resources to inspire and involve our students in meaningful study, research and service. Student Engagement To enhance student opportunities for learning in Memphis. Student Inspiration To provide a residential place of learning that inspires integrity and high achievement through its beauty, its emphasis on values, its Presbyterian history, and its heritage as a leader in the liberal arts and sciences.
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College History


Rhodes College was founded in 1848 in Clarksville, Tennessee as the Masonic University of Tennessee (and briefly as Montgomery Masonic College), the Institution was renamed Stewart College in 1850 in honor of its president, William M. Stewart. Under Stewart's leadership in 1855, control of the college passed to the Presbyterian Church. In 1875, the college added an undergraduate School of Theology and became Southwestern Presbyterian University. The School of Theology operated until 1917. In 1925, president Charles Diehl led the move to the present campus in Memphis, Tennessee (the Clarksville campus later became Austin Peay State University). The college shortened its name to Southwestern. In 1945, the college adopted the name Southwestern at Memphis, to distinguish itself from other colleges and universities containing the name "Southwestern." Finally, in 1984, the college's name was changed to Rhodes College to honor former college president, and Diehl's successor, Peyton Nalle Rhodes. Since 1984, Rhodes has grown from a regionally recognized institution to a nationally ranked liberal arts college. As enrollment has increased over the past 20 years, so has the proportion of students from outside Tennessee and the Southeast region. Dr. James Daughdrill served as president for over a quarter century. His successor is the 19th president since 1999, Dr. William E. Troutt.

College Specialty


The Rhodes Department of English seeks in all aspects of its work to promote the understanding of literature, writing, and film as artistic forms and cultural enterprises. Members of the Department work to foster this understanding in their interaction with students on the Rhodes campus and in their activities as scholars, researchers, and writers. We understand these various branches of our activity--as teachers, scholars, and writers--to be overlapping and mutually informative, as our own writing and research stimulates new thinking in class, while classroom dialogue opens new avenues of inquiry. As a faculty we represent diverse areas of expertise and critical orientation, and we also understand this diversity to be central to our work. Our aim is to share with students the productive dialogue that arises out of our varied approaches, cultivating the independence of mind that can only result from rigorous and open inquiry. In this way, English courses focus variously on the verbal texture of literature and the visual and aural texture of film, on the historical and cultural contexts of the artwork, on the critical contexts that have shaped our interpretations, and on the changing nature of societies producing and consuming works of film and literature. The study and practice of literature and writing are central components of the liberal arts education at Rhodes, and the English Department offers a variety of introductory and intermediate courses designed for students across the campus. The presentation of clear written argument is a skill at the heart of the major in English and is moreover a portable and transferable skill, one students apply to their work across the curriculum at Rhodes, and that graduates practice daily in a wide variety of careers. The First-Year Writing Seminar in English provides students with an intensive introduction to argumentative writing in college and beyond, and this course is built around the critical exploration of ideas and the expression of those ideas in effective prose. Literature courses at the introductory level also focus on essay writing, as students design and defend their own interpretations of literary works, experimenting with the use of textual and extra-textual evidence. Creative writing courses in English all function as workshops, centering on the students� own literary writing, while at the same time expanding students� creative vocabulary through the study of major published works of fiction, poetry, drama and screenwriting. Literature is an art form whose medium is language, and students who decide to pursue a major in English work to build increasing awareness of and facility in this medium. Through intensive discussion, students in advanced courses sharpen their sensitivity to the features of literary texts, as they pursue independent research on authors, literary movements, and critical debates. Courses in film follow a similar pattern, as students gain understanding of the terms and tools of film and film criticism. Advanced creative writing workshops invite students to produce longer, more sustained literary works while also enhancing their sensitivity as readers. In the senior year every English major develops and pursues an independent project which calls on the student to test his or her own capabilities as a critical reader, and as an effective and artful writer. This culmination of the English major at Rhodes is designed to cultivate in students an independence of mind and a sensitivity to the richness and variation in linguistic art forms.



David Alexander '53, President of Rhodes College and Pomona College. John Churchill, '71 - Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Lindley Darden, '68 - Professor of Philosophy, University of Maryland. James C. Dobbins, '71 - James H. Fairchild Professor of Religion, Oberlin College. C. Lee Giles, '68 - David Reese Professor of Information Sciences and Technology, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, and Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems, Pennsylvania State University. Harry L. Swinney, '61 - Director of the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics at the University of Texas at Austin. Mark D. West, '89 - University of Michigan Law School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Nippon Life Professor of Law.



Urban, 100 acres (400,000 m�)