Carson–Newman University

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Carson-Newman University
Former names
Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary
Carson College (1880-89)
Newman College
Carson and Newman consolidate to form Carson–Newman College
Motto Truth, Beauty, Goodness
Established 1851
Type Private
Religious affiliation
Endowment $49 million
President J. Randall O'Brien
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 1,757 (fall 2014)
Postgraduates 605 (fall 2014)
Location Jefferson City, Tennessee, USA
Campus Suburban, ca 200 acres (roughly 1 mi wide by .4 mi deep)
Colors Orange & Blue
Athletics NCAA Division IISAC
Nickname Eagles
Affiliations Tennessee Baptist Convention

Carson–Newman University is a historically Baptist liberal arts college located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States. Enrollment as of 2014–2015 was about 2,362. Studies are offered in approximately 90 different academic programs. The university has a current retention rate of 71%. Recent rankings include: A Best College in the Southeast (Princeton Review), 7th Best Baccalaureate College in the U.S., and America’s #2 ranked baccalaureate college for community service (Washington Monthly). Currently, the five most popular majors are: Nursing, Education, Business, Pre-Medicine/Biology, and Psychology. The school holds overall institutional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


On July 8, 2008, the trustees appointed Baylor University Provost Dr. J. Randall O'Brien as the 22nd president of the college.[1]


Established as Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary in 1851, the school began by holding classes in a local Baptist church. Within a few years the institution became Mossy Creek Baptist College and occupied its own buildings on the site of the present campus.

In 1880, the University was named Carson College for James Harvey Carson (1801–1880), who left $15,000 of his estate to the school,.[2][3] For several years it existed alongside Newman College, a separate facility for the education of women named for William Cate Newman, who had donated money to the women's college. In 1889, the two colleges united as one of the first coeducational institutions in the South. The institution operated as Carson–Newman College until 2012 when the board of trustees voted to acknowledge recent organizational changes by changing the name to Carson-Newman University.[4]

In 1919, Carson-Newman became officially affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The College was admitted to membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1927 and the Association of American Colleges in 1928.

During World War II, Carson-Newman was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[5]

During most of its history, Carson–Newman University has served as a residential four-year, liberal arts college with courses of study leading to the baccalaureate degree.

More recently, the university has been recognized for its student based Hunger Games. In keeping with its commitment to service learning, Carson-Newman has held the Hunger Games each fall since 2011 in order to raise funds for local charities. In 2014, well over 12,000 USD was raised from the games. [6]

Notable alumni[edit]


Carson-Newman is a member of the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) and fields sixteen varsity teams in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II competition. Men's varsity sports at Carson-Newman are: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, and Track & Field. Wrestling will no longer be offered due to budget cuts. Women's sports are: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, and Volleyball.

The Eagles previously competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as members of the Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VCAC) and later its successor, the Tennessee Valley Athletic Conference (TVAC). The football team joined the SAC in 1975 when it was still a football-only conference known as SAC-8.

The college's athletic facilities include Roy Harmon Field at Burke-Tarr Stadium, the Ken Sparks Athletic Complex, McCown Soccer Field, the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex, six tennis courts, a softball complex, Holt Fieldhouse, and Butler-Blanc Gymnasium. Head football coach Ken Sparks who is a graduate of the school and has been coaching the team since 1980 ranks fourth in most wins among active NCAA coaches.[12]

In 2007, the C-N baseball team won the South Atlantic Conference Tournament after defeating Tusculum College, who had won more than 20 games in a row, twice in one day. The team traveled to Tampa, Florida, to compete in the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament. The baseball team returned to Tampa for the NCAA Regional Tournament in 2008 after receiving an at-large bid and finished third, again eliminating Tusculum College. In 2009 the C-N football team won the NCAA Division II South Regional Championship in Florence, Alabama to advance to the Final Four.

Notable athletics alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Office of the President: Dr. J. Randall O'Brien". Retrieved February 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Higher education in Tennessee, by Lucius Salisbury Merriam – 1893
  3. ^ reports the bequest was $20,000
  4. ^ [1] Carson-Newman's website reports the change by vote
  5. ^ "U.S. Naval Administration in World War II". HyperWar Foundation. 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ [2] WBIR reports on C-N's Hunger Games
  7. ^ Texas State Historical Society
  8. ^ "CALDWELL, Millard Fillmore, (1897–1984)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Ben Walter Hooper". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  10. ^ "REECE, Brazilla Carroll, (1889–1961)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  11. ^ "TILSON, John Quillin, (1866–1958)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Player Bio:Ken Sparks" – Retrieved January 18, 2008

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°07′19″N 83°29′32″W / 36.12194°N 83.49222°W / 36.12194; -83.49222