Shorter Female College,
Cherokee Baptist Female College
|Motto||Transforming Lives through Christ|
|Affiliation||Georgia Baptist Convention|
|Endowment||US$ 27 million|
|Location||Rome, GA, USA
|Colors||Columbia blue, white and gold|
|Athletics||NCAA - Division II (GSC)|
Shorter University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university located in Rome, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1873, it is a Christian university historically affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.
Shorter offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through seven colleges and schools and has current enrollment of 3,500 traditional and non-traditional students. The 155-acre (0.63 km2) main academic and residential campus is located 72 miles (116 km) northwest of Atlanta, Georgia in Rome. There are adult education and graduate programs at distance learning facilities in Duluth, North Atlanta, and Riverdale. In addition Shorter operates the Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business and the School of Nursing at off-campus facilities in the Rome area.
Fielding athletic teams known as the Shorter Hawks, the university became a provisional member of NCAA Division II, and the Gulf South Conference in July, 2013. The official school and athletic colors are blue and white. The majority of Shorter's students are from Georgia, with only 6% of student enrollment coming from out-of-state and an additional 3% as international students. The university offers a large number of extracurricular activities to its students, including athletics, honor societies, clubs and student organizations, as well as fraternities and sororities.
Founding and early history
Shorter University was founded in 1873 by Luther Rice Gwaltney, pastor of the Rome Baptist Church, as a women's college known as the Cherokee Baptist Female College. The college was renamed in 1877 to Shorter Female College because of the financial contributions of Alfred and Martha Shorter. Shorter was located in Victorian-style buildings on Shelton Hill near downtown Rome and educated young women at primary, preparatory and collegiate levels. Classes were held Tuesdays through Saturdays and early curriculum included science, music, art, drama and literary works. Through additional contributions from the J.L. Bass and J.P. Cooper families, the university was relocated to its current site just outside of Rome in 1910. During the 1920s the college constructed the first indoor swimming pool in the United States and swimming became a physical education graduation requirement. The era also included the first women were selected for the Board of Trustees. During the 1920s Shorter became an accredited member in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, in which the university holds accreditation.
Through the years of the college struggled with financial problems during the 1930s with the Great Depression and World War II in the 1940s, Led by President Paul M. Cousins faculty took cuts in salary in the periods of crisis. Academics were strengthened through membership with the National Association of Schools of Music.
In the 1950s, the college became co-educational and the addition of male students created a need for a new male-only residence hall. The university also began intercollegiate athletics program in the NAIA and initiated new clubs organizations and fraternities. Randall Minor became the college's 14th president in 1958. Under Minor, control of the selection process for trustees was given to the Georgia Baptist Convention. The college constructed a new administration building, student center, library, fine arts center and hired additional faculty for the expanding school. The late 1950s also saw the first African-American student graduate.
The political and social climate of the 1960s had a great effect on the college throughout the decade. During the era the student government's power increased and new organizations were created on campus. A number of special events were held on campus, including memorial services for both the John F. Kennedy assassination and Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Earth Day was observed for the first time. In 1973 Shorter College celebrated its 100th anniversary through special activities and traditions.
Further expansion, attempted break with Georgia Baptist Convention
International programs began in the 1990s and the university expanded MBA programs and adult education programs with the establishment of the School of Professional Programs in the Atlanta area. The university dedicated the Winthrop-King Centre and created the Fitton Student Union when it converted the old gym into the facility. Shorter College constructed the Bass Apartments, the J. Robert Eubanks Welcome Center and the Robert H. Ledbetter baseball field.
In 2005, the college attempted to break away from the Georgia Baptist Convention, citing among other complaints fear of losing accreditation after the convention assigned two trustees without the approval of the college and current trustees. The Georgia Supreme Court, however, ruled that Shorter's board didn't have the authority to sever ties with the convention. The Georgia Baptist Convention continues to pick trustees for the college. On June 1, 2010, Shorter College changed its name to Shorter University to reflect the institution’s growth and expansion. In December 2012 SACSCOC reaffirmed Shorter University's accreditation through 2022, and in June 2013 SACSCOC put Shorter University on warning.
Personal lifestyle statement
In October 2011, the university's policy on sexuality and alcohol consumption attracted national attention when the university introduced a requirement that its employees must sign an eleven-paragraph "Statement of Faith" and a "Personal Lifestyle Statement" in which they agree to adhere to the following principles as a condition of their employment:
- They will be loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.
- They will not engage in the use, sale, possession, or production of illegal drugs.
- They will reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.
- They will not use alcoholic beverages in the presence of students, and will abstain from serving, from using, and from advocating the use of alcoholic beverages in public (e.g. in locations that are open to use by the general public, including as some examples restaurants, concert venues, stadiums, and sports facilities) and in settings in which students are present or are likely to be present. Neither would they promote or encourage the use of alcohol.
- They will actively engage in a local church.
Employees who fail to adhere to the requirements face potential disciplinary action including immediate termination. All new and existing employees are required to sign. Shorter University President Don Dowless explained that those who do not will likely be fired, stating "I think that anybody who adheres to a lifestyle that is outside of what the biblical mandate is and of what the board has passed, including the president, would not be allowed to continue here." He further stated "Anything outside that is not biblical, we do not accept" and "We have a right to hire only Christians." On November 10, 2011, the university was partially evacuated when a bomb threat was received. In May 2012, University President Donald Dowless confirmed that since instituting the pledge, 36 faculty members have resigned, and at least 25 have cited the pledge as their reason. Ultimately more than fifty faculty members resigned (43 percent of full time faculty, including 4 of 7 deans).
Shorter also offers online degrees for various associate's, bachelor's, master's, and general studies programs.
In 2005, the college enrolled approximately 1,000 students in its traditional programs with an additional 1,500 individuals enrolled in its professional studies programs. Shorter offers bachelor's degrees in 30 fields of study as well as some master's degrees.
Shorter University claims to have had a graduate school acceptance rate of 80 percent and an 87 percent acceptance rate to medical colleges over the past fifteen years.
Shorter athletic teams are known as the Shorter Hawks. The university currently sponsors 21 varsity sports programs, including ten men's teams, nine women's teams and two co-ed cheerleading squads. In May 2011, Shorter announced it would apply for membership into the NCAA at the Division II level. It was accepted into the NCAA reclassification process in July 2011 and joined the Gulf South Conference. The University became a provisional member of NCAA Division II in the summer of 2013.
In its final year in the NAIA, Shorter University athletics finished ranked second in the final NAIA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings. Shorter's No. 2 final ranking was the highest in school history. The Hawks scored in 12 sports and claimed the softball and men’s outdoor track and field championships – Shorter won an outdoor track title for the second straight year. Shorter also placed second in men’s indoor track and field, third in men’s basketball, fourth in women’s indoor track and field and fifth in women’s golf. Shorter’s No. 2 final ranking is a culmination of a journey to the top of the NAIA that began to build momentum five years ago. The Hawks managed just 182.00 total points in 2006-07. Shorter ended the campaign ranked No. 87, and a 13th place finish in softball is all that kept Shorter from finishing in the triple digits. That all changed a year later. Shorter shot up 66 spots to No. 21 with 509.25 points in the 2007-08 final standings behind a record spring that resulted in six programs accounting for 356.25 points. The Hawks dipped to No. 33 in 2008-09, but ascended to No. 11 in 2009-10, finishing for the first time ahead of perennial power and rival Lee University to end the year as the top rated member of the Southern States Athletic Conference. A fourth place finish in women’s outdoor track and field, fifth place in softball and sixth place in men’s track and field paved the way for Shorter’s highest Directors’ Cup finish to date that resulted in 587.25 points. Shorter climbed all the way to No. 3 last year thanks in large part to its indoor and outdoor double in men’s track, setting the stage for a record setting 2011-12 year that helped Shorter depart the NAIA with a bang.
The Hawks placed third in 2010-11 on the shoulders of men’s indoor and outdoor track and field national championships and 11th in 2009-10. In addition, track and field head coach, Scott Byrd, was named the NAIA Men's Indoor Track and Field National Coach of the Year after the indoor title, and won his second National Coach of the Year honor for the outdoor crown.
Notable alumni include the famous concert organist J. Buxte Max, Texas painter and art teacher Vivian Louise Aunspaugh, Tennessee businesswoman and politician Marilyn Lloyd, Georgia politician Nathan Dean, opera singer Jamie Barton, Bill Foster, head basketball coach in the NCAA and one of only 16 coaches to win 500 or more games in his career, and Phil Jones, a football coach who won the 2008 FCA Grant Teaff Coach of the Year honor and the 2008 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year. Anthony O'Garro is a professional soccer player currently playing for AC St. Louis in the USSF Division 2 Professional League. O'Garro finished his Shorter career ranked third on the school's all-time assists list with 13 helpers and his 12 career goals rank fourth on the all-time charts.
Notes and references
- Bell, Daniel (June 1, 2010). "Shorter’s wait is over: The college will officially mark its transition to university status on Tuesday". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- Staff (July 12, 2013). "Shorter University joins NCAA D-II as Provisional Member". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Taylor-Colbert, Alice. "History of Shorter University". Shorter University. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- SHORTER COLLEGE et al. v. BAPTIST CONVENTION OF GEORGIA et al. Georgia Supreme Court No. S04G1291. May 23rd 2005
- Shorter College et al. v. Baptist Convention of Georgia et al.
- "Shorter University: 'A new name on an old friend'". Shorter University.
- "SACSCOC Member, Candidate, and Application List December 2013".
- "Disclosure Statement Regarding the Status of Shorter University".
- "Christian university asks staff to sign form stating they're not gay". Daily Mail Reporter (London: Daily Mail Reporter). October 30, 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- "Personal Life Statement". Shorter University Faith Statement. Shorter University. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
- North, Anna. "Not-Smart University Forces Employees To Sign Anti-Gay Pledge". Jezebel. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- Jeffries, Fran. "Bomb threat closes Shorter University campus". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- "Faculty leave Baptist school, Shorter University, over “lifestyle” statement". The Washington Post.
- Nelson, Libby (14 November 2012). "Shorter's Exodus, a Year Later". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Nelson, Libby (May 14, 2012). "Refusing to Sign". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- "Faculty leave en masse over lifestyle pledge". Christianity Today. July 10, 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Shorter University Now Offers Online Degree Programs
- "FastWeb: Shorter College".
- "Shorter notches school record second place finish in Directors' Cup". Shorter University. June 14, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- "Men's Outdoor Track & Field". NAIA. May 28, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
- "National Coaching Award for Jones".
- "Regional Coaching Award for Jones".
- Men's soccer places seven on All-SSAC squads