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Sewanee: The University of the South

Sewanee: The University of the South, also known as Sewanee, is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Sewanee, Tennessee, United States.



735 University Ave
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Episcopal Church
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Blue Purple
Southern Athletic Association

College History


On July 4, 1857, delegates from ten dioceses of the Episcopal Church�Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas�were led up Monteagle Mountain by Bishop Leonidas Polk for the founding of their denominational college for the region. The goal was to create a Southern university free of Northern influences. As one of its founders, Bishop James Otey of Tennessee put it: the new university will "materially aid the South to resist and repel a fanatical domination which seeks to rule over us.". John Armfield, co-owner of Franklin and Armfield was by far the most influential in bankrolling the new university. His purchase of the site where the university continues to exist today and his promise of $25,000 per annum far exceeded any other donations and was considered a "princely offer" by a Nashville newspaper. Today, Sewanee downplays this eminent slave trader who played a central role in its establishment. The six-ton marble cornerstone, laid on October 10, 1860, and consecrated by Bishop Polk, was blown up in 1863 by Union soldiers from an Illinois regiment; many of the pieces were collected and kept as keepsakes by the soldiers. A few were donated back to the university, and a large fragment was eventually installed in a wall of All Saints' Chapel. Several figures later prominent in the Confederacy, notably Bishop-General Leonidas Polk, Bishop Stephen Elliott, and Bishop James Hervey Otey, were significant founders of the university. Generals Edmund Kirby Smith, Josiah Gorgas and Francis A. Shoup were prominent in the university's postbellum revival and continuance. Because of the damage and disruptions during the Civil War, construction came to a temporary halt. In 1866 building was resumed, and this date is sometimes used as the re-founding of the university and the year from which it has maintained continuous operations (though official materials and anniversary celebrations still use 1857). The university's first convocation was held on September 18, 1868, with nine students and four faculty members present. The Rt. Rev. Charles Todd Quintard, Vice Chancellor of the University (Second Bishop of Tennessee and "Chaplain of the Confederacy") attended the first Lambeth Conference in England (1868) and received financial support from clergy and laity of the Church of England, which enabled rebuilding of the school. Quintard is known as the "Re-Founder" of the University of the South. During World War II, University of the South was one of 131 tertiary institutions nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission. Schools of dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing once existed, and a secondary school was part of the institution into the second half of the twentieth century. However, for financial reasons it was eventually decided to focus on the College and the School of Theology. In June 2006, Sewanee opened its School of Letters, a second graduate school. The School of Letters offers a Master of Arts in American Literature and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

College Specialty


Higher learning brings with it the expectation of ethical and honorable behavior and acceptance of the notion that the privileges of education carry responsibility. Sewanee is committed to nourishing mind, body and spirit, while fostering a respect for the dignity and empowerment of others and a reverent concern for the world. As always, a good place to begin fostering respect for the dignity and empowerment of others is to face the challenge of these ideals wherever we find ourselves. Thus, although Sewanee�s Community Engaged Learning (CEL) projects begin within the neighboring three-county area, it extends outward to include community partners throughout the United States and the world. Sewanee�s CEL project incorporates a notion of community engagement and rests on a commitment to the practice of faculty, students, and community partners, being engaged in community-based dialogue, problem solving, and personal engagement informed by academic study and personal reflection. Pursued in this way, community engagement encourages self-knowledge, a deepened understanding of place and increased intellectual development. Moreover, community engagement in an academic setting, whether connected with service projects or local dialogue and research, helps prepare students for full participation in a complex democratic society by fostering a sense of civic responsibility, encouraging the exploration of self-identity, vocational discernment, while promoting leadership and ethical decision making. The mission of CEL is founded on Sewanee's core purpose, namely, to enable "students to live with grace, integrity, and a reverent concern for the world." CEL is committed to the broad goals of enabling students to see themselves as an integral force in contributing to just, equitable and sustainable societies. To encourage this development of Sewanee students, CEL supports placebased and experiential learning through cross-disciplinary initiatives, faculty-student research, course fieldtrips and co-curricular activities, community service and structured reflection. CEL also seeks to open a dialogue on campus about innovative pedagogies and encourages the accumulation of resources to support faculty in their pursuit to develop community-engaged learning in a rigorous academic setting. In achieving its core goals, CEL has partnered with University Outreach to offer substantive opportunities for community engagement and service tied to academic scholarship. In particular, CEL encourages a range of strategies of community engagement in which a partnership between the University and a community, which, while making common cause with its partners throughout the world, offers students hands-on learning supported by classroom theory that facilitates the development of a sense of reciprocity and mutual respect.



Southern Rural, 13,000 Acres (40 Km�)