One of U.S. News & World Report’s top 50 national liberal arts colleges, Sewanee: The University of the South is an Episcopal institution in Sewanee, TN. Founded by the Episcopal Church in 1857, Sewanee was intended as an expression of the distinctiveness of Southern culture and society, as well as a seminary for Episcopal clergy in the South. The Civil War prevented the university from opening until 1866, during which time its mission underwent significant changes. Today, Sewanee asserts it place among the nation’s most prestigious small liberal arts colleges.
Academic ProgramsSewanee is composed of two schools: the School of Letters, and the School of Theology. Sewanee is one of the most critical names in Southern literature, as the home of the Sewanee Review (founded in 1892, the longest continuing literary journal in the US), a central institution in the development of 20th century modernist poetry, and as one of the birthplaces of modern English studies (with the development of the New Criticism). Today Sewanee still holds a significant place as one of the foremost institutions for English and Creative Writing, with the highly influential Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
The Sewanee curriculum is based in the traditional liberal arts, and steeped in the Episcopal values of educational excellence, inquiry, and service. Students develop a broad knowledge in the sciences and humanities that serve as a foundation for their majors, which includes more than 30 majors and pre-professional programs in law, medicine, and business. Nearly half of Sewanee’s students take part in study abroad programs, while internships are also central to the university’s professional preparation.
Student LifeSewanee was founded as a men’s college, but in the 21st century is a coed institution with 1600 students at its rural campus. The beauty of The Domain, Sewanee’s 13,000 acre campus, is legendary, with its large, undeveloped forests, lakes, and streams appearing in story and song. Sewanee’s land plays a major role in student life. The small town and rural atmosphere of Sewanee have long been considered advantages to study and inspiration, for students who appreciate quiet, slow reflection.
Student life at Sewanee is also known for retaining many old traditions typically associated with the glory days of college; until recent years, many professors taught in academic gowns, and students joined “drinking societies.” While Sewanee has modernized in many ways, the liberal arts commitment to academic rigor and challenging discourse is very much a part of contemporary Sewanee. Students engage in community service, multicultural activities, and leadership exercises, developing all of the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed today and tomorrow.