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About Us

Known familiarly as “Sewanee” by its students, faculty, staff and friends, the University of the South offers an unmatched educational experience. The university remains purposefully small and dedicated to building a sense of community. All classes are taught by professors, not graduate teaching assistants, and close faculty-student interaction ensures that each student enjoys a rich and personal educational experience. It is not unusual for students and faculty members to work shoulder to shoulder on research projects and journal articles, to meet for coffee at a local eatery, or to serve together as members of the university orchestra, volunteer fire department, and other civic groups.

The result of such individualized education is clear in the academic success of Sewanee students and alumni. The university has had 26 Rhodes Scholars—a number that puts Sewanee in the top four nationally among American liberal arts colleges—as well as 34 NCAA Postgraduate Fellows, 47 Watson Fellows, and dozens of Fulbright Scholars, and has an acceptance rate to graduate and professional schools that far outpaces its peers. The School of Theology has added to its alumni ranks countless bishops, including three of the last four presiding bishops of the Episcopal Church.

Sewanee offers 36 majors, 43 minors, and 15 special programs, along with pre-professional programs in business, health/medicine, education, engineering, and law. More than 40 percent of students participate in study-abroad programs, and a comprehensive endowed program that provides financial support for summer internships has greatly strengthened career development for undergraduates. See more about Sewanee in the "Sewanee Snapshot" here.

In an era of specialization, Sewanee upholds the broad-based ideals of liberal education as a surer means to success. At the University of the South, the adherence to outstanding liberal arts education and enduring traditions of honor, community, and respect have transformed many generations of students, and have earned the abiding loyalty and support of alumni who are enjoying lives of integrity, leadership, and service.

The University is located atop the Cumberland Plateau between Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sewanee’s physical environment, which includes the 13,000–acre Domain (as the campus and surrounding area is known), provides a remarkable academic and recreational resource, and an unparalleled place in which to study and reflect. It invites students to engage in both a multitude of outdoor activities and careful study of the natural environment.

As the University celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding in 2007–2008, it looked back on a rich history and forward to new opportunities for the next generations. “The essence of Sewanee is consistent from generation to generation,” said Vice-Chancellor emeritus Joel Cunningham. “We are a university dedicated to liberal education, to time-honored traditions, and to our commitment to serve our students and this nation. We have been successful in advancing our mission, and I believe we have the resources and the will to ensure that Sewanee’s best years are still to come.”


Campus Commitment to Diversity

What does it mean to be the University of the South? The answer to that question changes from one generation to the next and from one individual to the next. Being “of the South” means that we are both the beneficiaries and the critics of a rich tradition. While we are deeply invested in this region, we also engage with other communities, locally and globally. Diversity and variety—of the South and of the world—inform and underpin our institution, and all our community’s citizens must confront this question on some level.

In its educational programs and activities and with regard to employment, the University of the South stands firmly for the principle that its students and employees (faculty and staff) have a right to be free from discrimination and harassment based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, and genetic information and free from sexual misconduct. Moreover, we promote the flourishing of a diverse and inclusive campus community.

As our statement of purpose indicates, Sewanee is “dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in close community and in full freedom of inquiry, and enlightened by Christian faith in the Anglican tradition, welcoming individuals from all backgrounds, to the end that students be prepared to search for truth, seek justice, preserve liberty under law, and serve God and humanity.” To embody the principles articulated in our statement of purpose, we strive for diversity in ideas and in our community, working to maintain and expand the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring, programming, and our curriculum. It is our ethical imperative to pursue difficult conversations that are civil, campus-wide, and involve a variety of perspectives. Such conversations characterize our community, a group of people engaged in honest self-criticism and in a process of growth and change. Ultimately, we seek to create and sustain an intercultural community that includes and empowers all our members.

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