Freed–Hardeman University

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Freed-Hardeman University
Freed-Hardeman Color.jpg
Motto Teaching How to Live and How to Make a Living
Established 1869
Type Private
Religious affiliation Churches of Christ
Endowment $24.4 million[1]
President Joe Wiley
Students 1,972
Undergraduates 1,490
Postgraduates 482
Location Henderson, TN, USA
Campus Rural, 96 acres (388,000 m²)
Nickname Lions

Freed–Hardeman University is a private university in Henderson, Tennessee. The university traces its heritage to the members of the Churches of Christ who helped build it. Freed-Hardeman is primarily undergraduate and residential, enrolling full-time students of traditional college age. The university also serves some commuting, part-time, and adult students on-campus and through distance-learning programs. The university offers a limited number of master's-level graduate programs including Bible, Business, Counseling and Education. Arts, science, and professional degrees are conferred.

The university is governed by a board of trustees, all of whom are required to be members of churches of Christ. Courses are offered by 12 academic departments organized into six schools – Arts and Humanities, Biblical Studies, Business, Education, Sciences and Mathematics, and the Honors College. The Loden-Daniel Library services the undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff.

Freed-Hardeman offers European study abroad programs based out of the FHU facility in Verviers, Belgium during the fall and spring semesters. A study abroad and Spanish-language immersion program is offered in Madrid, Spain, during most summer semesters. Other opportunities include two and three week study programs in Israel, Costa Rica, New York City, and Stratford, Canada.


The Bell Tower

Freed-Hardeman traces its origin to the 1869 charter of a private high school and college for Henderson, the Henderson Male Institute. It was known at various times as the Henderson Masonic Male and Female Institute, West Tennessee Christian College and Georgie Robertson Christian College. It was named Georgie Robertson Christian College after George Ann "Georgie" Robertson, the daughter of J. F. Robertson and his wife the former Lucy Alice Hamlett. When Georgie died at age 21 her parents donated $5000 to West Tennessee Christian College in her memory and so the school was renamed after her.[2]

In the spring term of 1907 Georgie Robertson Christian College closed down. N. B. Hardeman, a Georgie Robertson Christian College alumnus, and A. G. Freed worked together to establish a new school, the National Teachers' Normal and Business College to fill the educational void created in Henderson by the closing of GRCC. The NTNBC was incorporated on May 21, 1907 but classes did not start until the fall of 1908. In 1919 it was renamed Freed-Hardeman College in honor of its founders. In February 1990, it became Freed–Hardeman University.[3]


The late Milan-Sitka Building, 1904, during which it was Georgie Robertson Christian College.

The university has five women's dormitories. Hall-Roland Hall (originally Oakland Hall) is the oldest residence hall. The ground floor houses a Personal Counseling Center, Graduate Studies in Counseling, and the Department of Behavioral and Consumer Sciences. H. A. Dixon Hall is a four story dormitory opened in 1958. It can house 136 residents. Thomas E. and LaVonne B. Scott Hall opened in 1971 and can house 152 students. In 1973 W. A. Bradfield Hall opened, housing 144 students. Porter-Terry Hall opened in 1977 and can house 156 students.

There are four men's dormitories. Paul Gray Hall was built in 1929 and can house 128 men on four floors. Opened in 1970, George S. Benson Hall can accommodate 152 students. Farrow Hall opened in 1973 and has a capacity for 178 men. Sewell Hall opened on January 13, 2007 and can house 200 men. Upon the opening of Sewell Hall, L. L. Brigance Hall, which could house 78 men, was closed.

Two additional residence halls were built in 2003: Tyler Residence Hall (for Women) and the Woods-East Residence Hall (for Men). These Residence halls are considered Privileged housing. Privileged housing is open only to upperclassmen. Students wishing to live in Privileged housing must complete an application and meet certain requirements including a 3.1 GPA. The rooms in these residence halls have four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen (with a microwave, oven, stove, and refrigerator), a washer and dryer, and a living room. Four students share this living space, each one with their own bedroom, and sharing a bathroom with one roommate.

Campus buildings[edit]

The National Teacher's Normal and Business College Administration Building now known as the Old Administration Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Student Center opened in 1966 and houses a variety of food services and recreational rooms. The first floor houses the Burks Center. The center contains a food center, post office, Career Resource Center, Student Association office, Student Services office, and Office of Student Life and Development. The main cafeteria, Wallace-Gano Dining Hall, is located on the second floor. The food service is operated by Sodexo.

Clayton Chapel, a red brick and stained glass building located on University Street, opened in 1992. It has a capacity of approximately 100. It may be reserved for devotionals and weddings.

The Brown-Kopel Business Center, which is the newest academic building on campus, was built in 2003. This building was the start of many technology additions to the classroom that eventually began to be added to classrooms in other buildings.

The new Bulliner-Clayton Visual Arts Center opened in Fall 2007.

Future plans include building a new Library (in memory of Hope Shull), Science and Mathematics facility, and expansion and renovation of the Associates Science Center to facilitate and house the new nursing program.

The Anderson Science Center was built in 2012. Money was given by, alumnus, Tom Anderson to create the facility which houses a large portion of the science department.

Student life[edit]

Full-time students are required to take at least one Bible class every semester and attend a daily chapel service.

Freed-Hardeman does not have fraternities and sororities in the traditional sense. Instead the university has co-ed social clubs. These social clubs are local only to Freed-Hardeman and have no connection to any national Greek system. These include Sigma Rho, Phi Kappa Alpha, Chi Beta Chi, Gamma Tau Omega, Xi Chi Delta, and Theta Nu. Students participate in intramural sports, club meetings, and devotionals with their respective clubs. Sigma Rho and Phi Kappa Alpha are the only original social clubs remaining of the original 5 that were on campus, as well as being the two oldest. Sigma Rho has been on Campus for 102 years (celebrating their 100 year anniversary in 2012) and Phi Kappa Alpha has been on Campus for 75 years (celebrating their 75 year anniversary in 2014).

Other University Organizations include: Student Government Association, "The Pride", Campus Delegate Team, University Program Council, Student Alumni Association, University Chorale, University Singers, Ambassadors, Art Guild, Students in Free Enterprise, Law Society, Lambda Pi Eta, Society for Future Accountants, Social Work Students in Action, National Broadcast Society, Communications Majors and Minors Association (COMMA), Pied Pipers, For Heaven's Sake, Pi Epsilon, Alpha Chi, Dactylology Club, Right to Life, Tabitha Club, Preacher's Club, Evangelism Forum, Psychological Affiliation, Math & Computer Science Club, Biology Club, WFHU 91.5 FM, TV40 and the Treasure Chest.

The school's newspaper was originally called the Skyrocket and was begun in 1923. The newspaper was renamed the New Edition briefly in 1972. After a name selection contest, it was renamed the Bell Tower and is published 12 times throughout the year. The school's yearbook is called the Treasure Chest. The yearbook is now issued in the form of a DVD and is accompanied by a photo directory. The University's radio station, WFHU, 91-FIVE, is the 10,500-watt FM stereo station.

Spiritual life[edit]

Campus-Wide devotionals are held every Monday and Thursday night at 10:30 pm.

A men's devotional is held in room 226 in Benson each Tuesday night at 12:30.

Gazebo singings were organized every Sunday night at 10:00 pm in the gazebo on Main Street. (the Gazebo was moved to the local park in the Spring of 2012)

Every Wednesday Night at 10:00 pm, students meet in Clayton Chapel for Clayton Chapel Singing.

Every year the University hosts the FHU Lectureship on campus. Several other lectures and forums are given throughout the year. On Monday, during Lectureship week, there is a dinner to honor a person of importance to Freed-Hardeman and the Churches of Christ. Although a large portion of the attendees are visitors and alumni of the university, students are encouraged to attend as many lectures as possible. A separate Student Lectureship is also held during the Fall and Spring semesters.


U.S. News & World Report ranked Freed-Hardeman 39th among Southern master's degree-granting universities in its 2009 overall rankings. It also included the school in its separate affordability ranking ("Great Schools, Great Prices"), listing it 13th among Southern master's degree-granting universities. The University reported a 44% acceptance rate of applicants for the fall 2012 semester.

Walking Tall movies[edit]

The campus was used as a filming location for the 1973 movie, Walking Tall.

Annual benefit dinner and speaker[edit]

Each year, around the first weekend in December, the university has a fundraising dinner featuring well-known speakers, such as Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., former Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H. W. Bush, TV personality Regis Philbin, retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton, Senator Elizabeth Dole, former US Senate Majority Leader and physician, Dr. Bill Frist, popular radio commentator Paul Harvey, NBC Today Show weatherman Willard Scott, NFL football player, commentator & actor Merlin Olsen, country comedian Jerry Clower, former Alabama head coach Gene Stallings, historic CBS-TV News anchor and reporter Walter Cronkite, former First Lady Barbara Bush, former NBC News Anchor and former Meet the Press moderator Tom Brokaw and most recently Emmy Award winning comedian Tim Conway. On Saturday, May 15, 2010, Freed–Hardeman University announced that the featured speaker for the 2010 Annual Benefit Dinner would be former President George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States of America (January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009). Robby Novak, aka Kid President, was an MC at this event


Freed–Hardeman teams, nicknamed athletically as the Lions, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division I level, primarily competing in the American Midwest Conference. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf and soccer; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball. In 2014 men's basketball coach Jason Shelton was awarded the Don Meyer Award, presented annually to the top NAIA coach in college basketball.[4]

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ page about Georgie Robertson
  3. ^ "history and mission" page from Freed-Hardeman University website
  4. ^ "THE DON MEYER AWARD". College Insider. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Who's Who in America, 1982-1983 (Chicago, Illinois: Marquis Who's Who, 1982), p. 2844

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°26′18″N 88°38′19″W / 35.43844°N 88.63864°W / 35.43844; -88.63864