Southeastern University (Florida)

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Not to be confused with Southeastern University of the Health Sciences, now Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, or with the defunct Southeastern University (Washington, D.C.).
Southeastern University
Seal of Southeastern University
Motto Transforming Minds. Engaging Culture
Established 1935
Type Private
Religious affiliation Assemblies of God USA
President Dr. Kent Ingle
Students 3,400
Location Lakeland, Florida, USA
Campus 88 acres (360,000 m2)
Former names Alabama Shield of Faith Institute (1935-1936), South-Eastern Bible Institute (1936-1940), Beulah Heights/South-Eastern Bible Institute(1940-1942), South-Eastern Bible Institute(1942-1956), South-Eastern Bible College (1956-1977), Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God (1977-2005)
Colors Black and Red          
Nickname Fire

Southeastern University is a private Christian liberal arts university located in Lakeland, Florida, USA. It was established in 1935 in New Brockton, Alabama as a Bible college, relocated to Lakeland in 1946, and became a liberal arts college in 1970. The school has four colleges and is the largest Assemblies of God educational institution in the United States. The university offers 45 bachelor's degrees and ten master's degrees.


Bush Chapel

Southeastern University was founded in 1935 by Assemblies of God Alabama District Superintendent J.C. Thames and other Southeastern district leaders as the South-Eastern Bible Institute. Originally located in a former high school building in New Brockton, Alabama, SEBI opened its doors to students on November 4, 1935, under the direction of four faculty members. Edgar W. Bethany, Karl M. Gygax, Helen B. Stewart, and Myrtle G. Eason composed the original faculty. Two years later, in June, the first graduation exercises were held. Seventeen students received diplomas for the two-year academic program.

SEBI continued classes in New Brockton until 1940 when a decision was made to consolidate the school with Beulah Heights Bible Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. The school was known from 1940 to 1942 as the Beulah Heights—South-Eastern Bible Institute. In the fall of 1942, the district superintendents of the Southeastern districts accepted the invitation of the Rev. Ralph Byrd and his congregation to move the school to another location in Atlanta. For two years, Byrd served the school, without remuneration, as principal and business manager. In 1946, the school’s board of directors voted to secure a permanent location for the full development of the school. A new campus location was purchased later that year in Lakeland, Florida. The Atlanta campus was sold, and development of the new site began. Student body growth continued at the new central Florida campus along with the academic program.

SEBI became South-Eastern Bible College in 1956 when the school began offering four-year, bachelor’s degree programs. After adding education degrees, the college’s board of directors changed the school name to Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God. In 1986, Southeastern was granted regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Accreditation was reaffirmed in 1991 and 2001. In 2005, Southeastern College officially became Southeastern University, and began offering its first master’s degree programs, and formed the colleges of arts and sciences, business, Christian ministries and religion, and education.

As of 2014, Southeastern University is the largest Assemblies of God educational institution in the U.S.


In the 2013-14 academic year, enrollment totaled 3,400 students. 41% are male, 59% female. Appromately 70% of students live on campus. Students come from a variety of denominations, though approximately 31% are from an Assemblies of God background.[1]


Southeastern University is organized into five colleges. The College of Arts & Sciences houses the Department of Communication, Department of English & Foreign Languages, Department of Music, and Department of Natural Sciences & Mathematics. The other four colleges are the College of Business & Legal Studies, the College of Education, the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences, and the College of Christian Ministries & Religion. The university also maintains a Division of Continuing and Adult Education and a study-abroad program in Israel based at the George O. Wood Jerusalem Studies Center.[2]

Southeastern University offers 45 majors leading to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. In addition to these, the university also offers ten master's degrees.The school is the largest Assemblies of God educational institution of higher learning in the United States.[citation needed]

College of Arts & Sciences[edit]

Southeastern's College of Arts and Sciences prepares students for accomplished lives by strengthening their research, analytical and writing skills as they complete the university’s core, liberal arts curriculum.[citation needed] The liberal studies helps a student develop a wide breadth of understanding in a multitude of subjects.[citation needed] After exposure to an academic or professional subject through the College of Arts and Sciences, a student may choose to major in a discipline rooted in one of its five departments.

Department of Communication[edit]

Hands-on training through Southeastern’s Department of Communication equips students for inspired, professional, and responsible service in broadcasting, journalism, public relations, film studies, and theatre. Communication students at Southeastern gain experience using state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment. The university's vibrant Christian community supplies students with endless story ideas for the campus newspaper, The Southeastern Times. Plays and musicals provide theatre majors with a regular stage where they can hone their craft in the spotlight or behind the scenes. Film majors can screen their films at our annual 180 Film Festival and Southeastern's RAW TV and Unpland Impov gives students experience in producing nationally televised shows.

Department of English & Foreign Languages[edit]

Southeastern’s Department of English and Foreign Languages promotes interpersonal and cross-cultural understanding by teaching literature, writing and speaking. Students may major in English, or English and Intercultural Studies, and minor in Spanish, French, or Greek. The department also offers courses in Hebrew and foreign language literature's.

Department of Music[edit]

Southeastern’s Department of Music offers challenging technical training and instruction in music theory and history to the serious students who are looking to perform music. Students may major in Music, Music Performance or Church Music, or earn a degree in Music Education through additional studies in Southeastern’s College of Education. Southeastern also is one of the first schools of its size to offer a substantial jazz studies program, which includes instruction in jazz theory, history, and performance. Students must audition to become a music major at Southeastern.

Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics[edit]

The Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics teaches students about the beauty, purpose and intricacies of nature but also explores the ethical and moral dilemmas that often accompany scientific discovery. Students may study and major in biology, biology/pre-med or mathematics through the department.

College of Business and Legal Studies[edit]

Southeastern's College of Business and Legal Studies is composed of the Department of Business Administration and Department of Historical, Legal, and Leadership Studies. Both departments equip students to become ethical, skillful, and internationally astute leaders—whether they pursue careers in business, government, the academy, or non-profits. In addition, students pursuing majors in the Department of Business Administration or Department of Historical, Legal, and Leadership Studies benefit from the synergies that exist—and have existed historically—between business, law, economics, and public policy.[citation needed]

Department of Business Administration[edit]

The Department of Business Administration is dedicated to providing high-quality, relevant, and global learning experiences that emphasize moral and ethical practices within a Christ-centered environment.[clarification needed] The Department of Business Administration prepares students with technical knowledge, essential skills, and leadership abilities that enable them to succeed in their professional and personal lives.

Southeastern's business programs are marked by rigor and insightful instruction by professors who are both practitioners and scholars within their fields.[citation needed] Students in the Department of Business Administration can major in accounting, finance, international business, management, management information systems, and marketing. The department offers one-year, 16-month, and two-year MBA programs, and an online MBA program. In addition, the department offers the fifth year of credits accounting majors need to become Certified Public Accountants.

Southeastern University has received specialized accreditation for its business programs through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), located in Olathe, Kansas. The business programs in the following degrees are accredited by the IACBE:Membership Status

  • Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Finance
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Leadership
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Management
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing

Department of Historical, Legal, and Leadership Studies[edit]

Southeastern’s Department of Historical, Legal, and Leadership Studies shows students how to study history, public policy, criminal justice, and leadership from a Christian perspective, and how to promote Biblical values through these fields. Graduates of our history program can pursue careers in history and other fields that value critical thinkers. Our public policy majors learn how to develop and implement public policies that reflect Christian values. Students who major in criminal justice are equipped for careers in law enforcement, as well as future study in law school. And our[who?] leadership grads are trained to lead in companies, churches, and other organizations, by serving in the spirit of Christ. The Department of Historical, Legal, and Leadership Studies —through its Pre-Law Track—also educates students in the fundamentals of law and prepares them for the rigors of law school.

College of Education[edit]

Southeastern’s College of Education trains students to equip children for success in school and beyond. Students may specialize in teaching elementary grades, or a subject in higher grades, including: math, science, social studies, and English. Students may also major in music education, Exceptional Student Education (ESE), or sport and recreation management. The university's graduate programs, which are all offered online, include Master of Education degrees in elementary education, educational leadership, and teaching and learning.

College of Behavioral & Social Sciences[edit]

Southeastern University's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences prepares students for careers in counseling, the social services and other fields—or for further study in graduate school. Majors offered include social work, psychology and counseling psychology. In addition to fulfilling major requirements, behavioral and social science classes may be woven into minors in psychology, Christian counseling, sociology, social services, or special education/disabled populations.

College of Christian Ministries & Religion[edit]

Southeastern, which has a 70-year heritage of training pastors, missionaries and other church workers, offers undergraduate programs in church ministries and a Master of Arts degree in Ministerial Leadership. As an undergraduate Church Ministries major, a student may choose from among eight concentrations that range from pastoral to youth ministry.

Resident life[edit]

Bauer Hall
Aventura Hall

Freshman Dorms
Bauer Hall--Freshman male housing.
Bethany Hall--Freshman female housing.
Upperclassman Dorms
Aventura Hall--Female housing suites for 4 or 8 students.
Destino Hall--Male housing suites for 4 or 8 students.
Esperanza Hall--Female housing suites for 4 or 8 students.
South Pointe--Male/Female housing apartments that accommodate 3 or 4 students.
Valencia--Male/Female housing apartments that accommodate 3 and 4 students.

National Leadership Forum[edit]

Held annually on the university's Lakeland, Fla., campus, the National Leadership Forum teaches the servant leadership concept in the academic, business, and church communities. Notable speakers previously hosted by the Forum include former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, Joyce Meyer, Gen. Colin L. Powell, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Tommy Barnett, Jack Welch, Tony Dungy, TD Jakes, Craig Groeschel, Ken Blanchard, Erwin McManus, Patrick Lencioni, Bill Hybels, Bill George, Henry Cloud, Dave Ramsey, Tim Sanders, Ed Young, Jr., Tony Evans, Megyn Kelly, Tim Tebow, and Wayne Cordeiro.

The 2011 National Leadership Forum was held March 8–10. Speakers included former President George W. Bush; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Franklin Graham; Dan Cathy; Kurt Warner; and David Gergen.

The 2013 National Leadership Forum was held March 7-8. Speakers included former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. Other speakers will include leadership guru John Maxwell and senior vice president of the Orlando Magic Pat Williams.


Southeastern University teams are nicknamed as the Fire. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in The Sun Conference, formerly known as the Florida Sun Conference (FSC). The Fire also compete as a member in Division I of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) after recently transitioning from Division II.[3] Southeastern University has won Division II championships in all four men's sports and a Division I championship in men's golf. In 2014, Senior Dwayne Johnson was named an NAIA All-American after leading the fire to the final four of the NAIA Division II basketball championship in Point Lookout, Missouri, while Junior Timothy Mitchell was named to the second team.[4] Johnson signed a professional contract with the Liepajas Lauvas of Latvia,[5] while senior Mitchell Wiggins Jr was one of seven players drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters.[6] The university added women's softball, men's tennis, and men's & women's cross country in 2012. Southeastern currently competes in six men's and seven women's sports, with plans to add football for the 2014-15 academic year.[7]

Debate Team[edit]

In the fall of 2013, Southeastern University launched their debate program. They compete as members of the Florida Intercollegiate Forensics Association (FIFA), participating in Lincoln-Douglas debate and Parliamentary debate. SEU Debate won the FIFA State Championship Debate Tournament in February of 2014, closing out Lincoln-Douglas finals. SEU Debate is student led and is a non-profit, student-funded team.

Library services[edit]

The Steelman Library serves as the academic library at Southeastern University. The library collection contains over 100,000 books, 800 periodical titles, over 1,300 compact discs, 2,500 videos and other multimedia for class courses and research. The Steelman Library houses a Curriculum Lab that includes children's materials and textbooks for education students. Steelman Library also supplies electronic access to the SPARC Catalog (library catalog), research databases that include over 15,000 full text periodicals and 32,000 e-books. [8]

Campus growth[edit]

In 2012 Southeastern approved the addition of a nursing program and the Board of Trustees also signed off on a new mission and vision statement for the university, approved a new faculty handbook, and adopted articles of incorporation and bylaws for the University Foundation. In 2012 the university also announced the addition of a college football team. The football expansion will include the construction of a stadium that will seat 5,000 spectators and an athletic training center. The Southeastern Fire football team is scheduled to play their first home game in the fall of 2014.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Southeastern University | University Profile
  2. ^ Southeastern University | Academic Programs & Majors
  3. ^ "NCCAA Division I". Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "NAIA Division II Men's Basketball All-Star Team Announced". National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "SEU's Johnson Signs Pro Basketball Contract". Victory Sports Network. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Harlem Globetrotters draft Johnny Manziel, Landon Donovan". The Orlando Sentinel. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Milligan, Del (September 24, 2012). "Southeastern Unveils Initiative to Build 5,000-Seat Football Stadium". The Ledger. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Library". Southeastern University. 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 28°01′43″N 81°55′02″W / 28.0286214°N 81.9173312°W / 28.0286214; -81.9173312