A Little About Sewanee

Sewanee lies on the mountainous Cumberland Plateau in the southeastern part of Middle Tennessee. It is best known as the home of The University of the South, founded by Episcopal Bishop-General Leonidas Polk (C.S.A.) and for the Sewanee Review, published there continuously since 1892. Nearby St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, one of the oldest boarding-day schools in the South, is a private school for grades 6 through 12 with a student population of 100 boarding and 150 day students. The Templeton Library, which is to be the repository of the papers of financier Sir John Templeton, a native of the area, was recently built there.

Often known simply as Sewanee, the school has produced 25 Rhodes Scholars and was ranked 32nd in the annual US News & World Report list of liberal arts colleges. In 2009, Forbes ranked it 94th of America’s Best Colleges. Sewanee is a member of the Associated Colleges of the South.

The University of the South is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Sewanee, Tennessee. It is owned by twenty-eight southern dioceses of the Episcopal Church and its School of Theology is an official seminary of the church. The university’s School of Letters offers graduate degrees in literature and creative writing. The campus (officially called “The Domain” or, affectionately, “The Mountain”) consists of 13,000 acres (53 km2) of scenic mountain property atop the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Tennessee, although the developed portion occupies only about 1,000 acres (4.0 km2).

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 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. At least a few were donated back to the University, and a large fragment was eventually installed in a wall of All Saints’ Chapel, where the relic can be visited by pilgrims. 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 of the Civil War, construction came to a temporary halt around that time. In 1866 the process was resumed, and this date is sometimes given as the re-founding of the University and the point from which it has maintained continuous operations (though official materials and anniversary celebrations use 1857 as the founding year). The University’s first convocation was held on September 18, 1868, with nine students and four faculty members present. After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee was offered the position of Vice-Chancellor but declined, choosing instead to work at Washington College in his native Virginia. The Rt. Rev. Charles Todd Quintard, Vice Chancellor of the University (Second Bishop of Tennessee and “Chaplain of the Confederacy”) journeyed to the first Lambeth Conference in England (1868) and received financial support from clergy and laity of the Church of England which enabled the rebuilding of the school. He is known as the “Re-Founder” of the University of the South.

Schools of dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing once existed, and a secondary school was part of the institution well into the second half of the twentieth century. For financial reasons, however, it was eventually decided to focus on two schools which exist today, 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 an M.A. in American Literature and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

Information from www.wikipedia.org