Talk:Sewanee: The University of the South

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Older comments[edit]

The Sewanee campus is very nice, and so is the picture. It definitely adds to the article. But do we have permission to use it? I don't see anything on the source page that addresses the copyright issue. RivGuySC 04:51, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I would like to hear's justification for deleting two links to pages discussing the institution's past with a specifically southern slant. I don't endorse the views of these pages, necessarily, but they present an alternative view to that of the university's official line. I am afraid this change was made contrary to the spirit of NPOV, especially since it appears this user has made no other Wiki edits. RivGuySC 23:02, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)

A place to find pictures of the University Buildings.[edit] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:42, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

The U of South in Sewanee, Tennessee.[edit]

The title and name of The University of the South is and always has been The University of the South (at Sewanee, Tennessee). The heading "Sewanee, The University of the South" just creates confusion, because the unknowing will think that Sewanee is The University of the South. Sewanee is a village that is owned and surrounded by The University of the South. Refering to The University as "Sewanee" is an inside nickname, and its usage in the heading just perpetuates confusion, a mess that "Sewanee: The University of the South" just makes worse by its own public relations products.

Folks of good conscience are very sensitive to this issue, and more than ever we are hearing The University referred to as The University of the South in casual conversation- "Sewanee" has been tainted through its misuse by the marketing consultants who put it ahead of the title so as to, in part and by paraphrase, "weaken the connection with the name of The University of the South and 'the South.'" Things haven't gone very well since we found out about that.

How can we correct the heading so Wikipedia doesn't look silly and can continure providing consistent value to its visitors?

John F. Evans

Class of 1984

University Trustee, 1998-2003 & 2006-2008

Trustee Evans, I empathize with your point of view but I think Wikipedia is using the correct title for this article as the university bills itself as "Sewanee: The University of the South." The comma in the present article's title does need to be replaced with a colon but that may be a technical limitation (probably not). I know many alumni and other community members still disagree with the university's decision to change its branding but Wikipedia is not the appropriate place engage in this heated discussion.

Your comments regarding confusion between the university and the village are appropriate and spot on - confusion is likely. The appropriate action to take is the creation of a separate article for the village of Sewanee. That has already been done - see Sewanee, Tennessee. More work may be necessary to ensure visitors are not unnecessarily confused between the two articles.

--ElKevbo 00:17, 16 February 2006 (UTC)[edit]

I just wanted to float this idea before I edit something and make someone angry. Is there any reason why the link to is referred to as “Sewanee’s online museum” rather than “Sewanee Online museum”? Since it is not associated with the University, I think that it should not be possessive, especially since the Sewanee museum site is dedicated to the CSA-related history of the University, which the University itself seems to be distancing itself from. If no one responds in a reasonable time, I will make the change. --Skeenbr0 21:57, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable to me. You might also want to put in there something about the "museum" belonging to the Leonidas Polk Registry Research Project and not the university. --ElKevbo 23:22, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

I totally removed the link. It seems to do nothing to improve the overall quality of this articleTcrichards (talk) 23:14, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

More on name change[edit]

The edit dismissing the name change says the following: "The only reason that the office of public relations is now printing this logo is to combine the official name of the University and a name that many alumni commonly use when refering their alma-mater. It is merely for a unification sake that the two names are joined in publication. But all official documents of the University maintain its real name. There have been many accusations by people not accustomed to the culture of this unique University to make sinsational speculations that are not based in any factual information about the change of the name of the University representing some profound change and not respecting its southern roots. These accusations are false." In addition to the misspellings, the editor dismisses the debate which is quite heated among alumni. In doing so the editor takes a point of view and dismisses the other as per se invalid. This ignors facts such as recent marketing-consultant work recommending the change to reduce the prominence of words such as "The South". It is unlikely the editor knows what "the only reason" the PR office made the decision and it is not likely that the PR office was limited to one reason. Mention of the debate is accurate and should stay.--Counsel 06:12, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

There is no "office of public relations" or "PR office." The confusion between "Sewanee" and "University of the South" stems from the very beginning of the university's life. The founding document refers to the institution variously as "Sewanee" and "University of the South" and uses the terms interchangably. Personally, I think the debate is quite silly and a complete waste of time. But the debate is real and should be documented in a NPOV manner without favoring one side or the other. In addition, the current mention of the debate inadequately cites its sources (as does much of this article). --ElKevbo 02:20, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. Additionally the new paragraph on traditions jumps all over and is very poorly written. I am going to remove it again. If someone would like to rewrite it to wikipedia standards (to say nothing of Sewanee standards) that would be great--Counsel 06:12, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I would agree to rewrite the paragraph on traditions. It seems like it is something very important to our college and culture. I honestly thought that if I put the information out there it would get edited into a fine addition to the article. Appearently, if someone sees something that they don't like then they just delete it? This elicits the question: Why wouldn't you just edit it, instead of deleting the whole thing. Anyway I'll go back and make it more factual. For the most part though - Everything I said was true. But you try writing three papers on Immanuel Kant then editing a Wikipedia article for the first time. I honestly didn't care if it was grammatically correct or if it jumped, because i thought if the information was there then someone would come along and edit it.

I was going off of the editing process hoping someone would help (I don't think the traditions addition was rightfully deleted):

"It is wonderful when someone adds a complete, well-written, final draft to Wikipedia. This should always be encouraged. However, one of the great advantages of the Wiki system is that incomplete or poorly written first drafts of articles can evolve into polished, presentable masterpieces through the process of collaborative editing. This gives our approach an advantage over other ways of producing similar end-products. Hence, the submission of rough drafts should also be encouraged as much as possible. One person can start an article with, perhaps, an overview or a few random facts. Another person can add a minority opinion. Someone else can round off the article with additional perspectives. Yet another can play up an angle that has been neglected, or reword the earlier opinions to a more neutral point of view. Another person might have facts and figures or a graphic to include, and yet another might fix the spelling and grammatical errors that have crept in throughout these multiple edits. As all this material is added, anyone may contribute and refactor to turn it into a more cohesive whole. Then, more text may be added; and it may also be rewritten... and so on. During this process, the article might look like a first draft—or worse, a random collection of notes and factoids. Rather than being horrified by this ugliness, we should rejoice in its potential, and have faith that the editing process will turn it into brilliant prose. Of course, we don't have to like it; we may occasionally criticize really substandard work, in addition to simply correcting it. It is most important that it is corrected, if it can be corrected. For text that is beyond hope we will remove the offending article to the corresponding talk page, or, in cases in which the article obviously has no redeeming merit whatsoever, delete it outright. The decision to take the latter action should not be made lightly, however."

The edit "dismissing the name change" does come from the official response given by the Director of the Office of Public Relations (which does exist - I had lunch with him the other day) to the question: Has the name of the University changed? There has been no official change in the name of the University. This is a fact. You can still buy plenty of merchandise in the bookstore with the official name of the University: The University of the South. I bought a bumper sticker within the last month. The problem is that Alumni are making speculative claims that are not factual. No debate can truly exist, if there is nothing to debate. Additionally, it should be noted that a change in the official name would cause re-proportionment of the Domain and is unlikely to ever happen. The logo that appears on many publications reads Sewanee The University of the South. The Director of the Office of Public Relations claims that they have said this is the name that they want found in all non-Sewanee publications or Sewanee publications that are not official documents. Since the institution does use the terms "Sewanee" and "University of the South" interchangably, they have been combined on the before mentioned publications. This is merely for the convinience of recognition of the University by people who do not know to use the terms interchangably. This does not constitute an official change in the name.

The claim: "This ignors facts such as recent marketing-consultant work recommending the change to reduce the prominence of words such as "The South". is not relavent, since this measure was not implemented. The University paid to have this marketing survey performed, and that was their recommendation. That does not mean that the University necessarily implemented any of their recommendations. The name change is a speculation that is not factual. It should not be shown in an encyclopedia article. In fact, there are many recent ongoing conversations about many of their recommendations within the Student Assembly. Also, I am deleting the part about "the diminution of its traditional Southern heritage". It cannot be denied that this is POV and speculation.

I added to this part again this morning to factually reflect in what publications this combination has been used. Additionally, I want to clarify with the use of factual information why this combination has occured.

Reminder to sign posts on talk page[edit]

Just a friendly reminder to sign your posts on talk pages. --ElKevbo 16:44, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

New Mace[edit]

"The new logo and identity standards are seen by some in a similar light as the controversial university mace and its disappearance from public display" - There is a new mace?!?!?! - I would appreciate if there was mention of this with talk of the disappearance with the old mace. This new mace was commissioned by Erle J. Newton (OG President 2004-2005), and it was a great compromise between the OG and the Vice Chancellor last year. I never see any mention of this ... like it never happened!!! I mean for peats sake Mr. Salter the secretary drew up the resolution. --- signed: A studentwhojustsawthenewmaceingraduation

Once again...please sign your comments with 4 tildes. Peace, Kukini 05:51, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
If you have a verifiable source to cite regarding the new mace, please add information about it to the article! --ElKevbo 14:07, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Here is the mace atop a gown on the OG website - [i would say that is pretty verifiable]: (


An anonymous editor keeps changing the University's motto from that which agrees with the cited source (the student handbook). If you have a different source, please cite it. Otherwise, please stop changing the quotation to differ from the cited source. I consider that to be dishonest and blatant vandalism. --ElKevbo 17:54, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

University Prayer[edit]

I've just added the University Prayer to the page, but I was wondering if anyone knew of it's history - when it was written and by whom? I'm unable to find that information on Sewanee's site - or anywhere else on the net. Thanks! -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 14:26, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Traditions at Sewanee[edit]

Regarding the addition and then removal of the "Traditions" section (which was a direct copy/paste from the Sewanee site, maybe we can collaboratively (re-)write up a section on traditions? It really is a feature of the school and would be good information on the page. Anyone want to take a stab at:

  • The Gown
  • Class Dress
  • The Passing Hello (I'm not sure this one is a real "tradition" - more part of the culture of the school)
  • Residential Halls
  • The Honor Code
  • The Chapel
  • The Porch Light
  • Recent Traditions
  • Borrowed Traditions

-- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 17:11, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

My Mistake, I am new to this venture and would love to add some original reworking of the traditions to the site. It seemed a bit abrubt the way in which you removed the section. You did not even leave a section behind that needed to be expanded; you just deleted it.

I thought of it being more of a direct reference to the site, because I put the reference at the end. Anyway, since that does not suit you, I would be happy to create my own information for each of the tradition categories. I am a student so it should be fairly natural to talk about each one. And by the way, as a student of the University, I can definitely confirm that the "Passing Hello" is a tradition. For two years, we have activily taught it to incoming freshmen, and it was given to us by the senior and junior sophisters during our freshman year. It is the tradition that has a natural extension into the idea of restricting cell phone usage in public.

On slightly different note, I was recently viewing the Vanderbilt University wikipedia article. It seems a bit shameful that the Sewanee article is so poorly developed. But I would love to colaborate and add some traditions to start. I think it would be helpful to begin by putting the traditions section up with basic definitions of the traditions that could be added to by providing modern and historical info about them. Some other ideas that I had are: Greek Life. Drinking Societies. Athletics. Buildings of the Campus. Let me know or just get busy developing. I can also gather some copyright free pictures by taking them myself to spruce up the article. -- yeasewaneesright (talk | contribs) 20:37, 1 September 2006 (Oxford)

Wonderful! As a clarification, I didn't remove the traditions section - I keep a watch on this page, so I noticed it had been done. I'm not entirely sure the reason for taking it out - I felt the link was adequate, but I'd have to look to see what Wikipedia's copyright policy is.
I haven't collaborated on a new section before - all my edits up until now have been just editing current content. But to get started, I've added a sub-page to my account. Feel free to add/edit/delete content there and let's see what we can develop. As we reach a point where the content is good enough to put on the page, we can move it there.
As for "Passing Hello," I guess my feeling is a) it seems like a cultural practice more than a "tradition," and b) (not to sound like a curmudgeon, but...) they didn't call that a tradition in my day at Sewanee :) -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 21:25, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Oh! And let me add that it would be great to take some pictures! The page seems so bare without any. And Sewanee's so picturesque! SatyrTN (talk | contribs)

For anyone that's interested in helping, yeasewaneesright and I have started writing this section at Sewanee Traditions. -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 06:16, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Let's also clarify the Oxford connection, or the mythical Oxford connection. I have heard people say that Sewanee was "founded by Oxford" or by people from Oxford (University, in England). This is one reason given for the gown tradition (although the gowns are obviously based only loosely on Oxford: not everyone at Sewanee wears them). But elsewhere I have read that an Oxford college or individuals there only sent over some books after Sewanee's founding. I'm curious to learn whether any of these are correct. --Editing 17:21, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

The role of those institutions is certainly not mythical. According to the institution's website, the first Board of Trustees was named on July 4, 1857. The first cornerstone was laid on October 10, 1960 and the first Convocation held on September 18, 1868. According to an article entitled "Sewanee's Libraries" written by Annie Armour, Head of Archives and Special Collections, and published in the Spring 2005 issue of Sewanee Magazine, Bishop Quintard solicited materials during a fund-raising trip to England in 1867 and 1868. The article states that "...this original [library] collection carried bookplates reading, 'Presented by the University of Cambridge to the Library of the University of the Southern States of America 26 March, 1868.'" I don't have any documents on hand but I also recall that Oxford donated books at about the same time.
That's the primary connection to Oxford and Cambridge of which I am aware. There are of course many other influences (architecture, organization, residential character, etc.) but the actual donated, physical books seems to be the connection most often cited. I don't know of a direct connection with Oxford or Cambridge in the faculty or administration during its founding as it is most often documented as motivated, funded, and directed by the owning dioceses and a few major players in the region such as Quintard and Polk. --ElKevbo 17:45, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

What about the tradition of reciting faculty titles, such as "Dr. Smith"? The schools I'm familiar with call professors "Professor Smith" and administrators, including presidents, "Bob Smith," even if they have doctorates. Are there faculty at Sewanee who don't have PhDs, or is this tradition based on something else, perhaps religious? --Editing 18:49, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

In my experience and education, undergrads calling professors "Dr. __" if the professor has a doctorate is not at all unusual. It wasn't until I was a senior and then a grad student that most professors encouraged or allowed me to call them by their first name. As an undergrad institution (ignoring the School of Theology for a moment as they're obviously very different), I don't think Sewanee is at all unusual if undergrads address professors by their title. And, to the best of my knowledge, there are very few (if any) professors at Sewanee that do not have a terminal degree. --ElKevbo 19:26, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Relevance of Info[edit]

I'm a bit concerned about the information on this page - and its ordering. I mean, there's the intro info, then quotes about the school and the name change "controversy". Then we get to the hymn and prayer, the School of Theology, and notable alumns.

The article is woefully lacking in material actually about the school. The traditions section will be a good addition, but can't we find more information to put in here? I mean, Yale has sections on architecture, student life, organizations, etc. Surely we can do at least as good as that! -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 15:16, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree - much material could be added and the article rewritten and reorganized. I'm afraid that I don't have the time to commit to helping in any substantive way but I'd be happy to help as I can. There's plenty of material that could be used to write a very good, detailed article, particularly if one is near or on the campus and has time to go through the archival and historical material in duPont Library and Archives. --ElKevbo 17:01, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Dress code, Order of Gownsmen, relatively late retention of Saturday classes[edit]

All of these unusual features should be mentioned in the article, but I'm sure there are people more familiar with Sewanee than I who could do a better job of writing about these traditions. The Sewanee hillside cross, while somewhat peripheral to the university, may deserve a mention as well. ProhibitOnions (T) 11:04, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Name Change: WP:UNDUE[edit]

Isn't the whole "name change" section WP:UNDUE? I mean, I graduated from Sewanee, and while there's often some confusion about the name, it's not exactly the main thing the University is known for - or even the main reason the university is in the news! I'd like to remove or at least trim that down to something more appropriate... -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 16:48, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

It could stand to be trimmed. But I think that something definitely needs to be said about (a) the controversy and (b) the confusion between "Sewanee" and "The University of the South". --ElKevbo 12:05, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

I think the section title gives undue weight to "name change" as the focus of controversy. However, overall it seems to me that the topic of conflict between (1) tradition and heritage (which are a much bigger deal at Sewanee than at almost any other school I can think of) and (2) image in the modern world is a significant one for this article. The section would work better for me if it talked about the fact that Sewanee has received rather extensive media attention in connection with this conflict, rather than emphasizing "controversy" and building it up with weasel-worded statements such as "some have criticised this move" and "critics also protest". --Orlady 18:57, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I tried to clean up that section some time ago but it could probably stand more work and sourcing. I think that refactoring it as "Tradition and heritage" would be excellent if other sourced material could be located. I'm pretty sure that there has been enough written about the tradition of the gown and how it has lingered but is always in danger of fading to include something. --ElKevbo 12:05, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

External links[edit]

ElKevbo asked me (in an edit summary) to explain the links that were deleted/restored/deleted, so I've listed them here:

I'm replacing the links for the Museum and the Writer's Conference. Please comment here before deleting. Thanks! -- SatyrTN (talk | contribs) 07:02, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

I think that one can make a decent argument for the so-called "Sewanee Museum". I hate to encourage the person who created and owns the site and I don't buy his blanket claims of "fair use" but they're not points I'm willing to extensively argue. The link to the Writer's Conference, however, doesn't seem to add anything to this article. I don't deny the connection or the importance of the conference but adding the link only seems to advertise the conference without providing any information that couldn't be provided in the article itself using the website as a reference. --ElKevbo 12:11, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Not a sentence[edit]

"In addition to the University, the Community of St. Mary (a convent) and St. Mary's Non-Denominational Retreat Center (which uses the buildings formerly occupied by St. Mary's School)." This phrase lacks a verb, yet it ends in a period. Since I have no knowledge of what verb might be correct, I can't complete the sentence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:51, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Orgill Trophy[edit]

Would some Sewaneephile write an article on the Orgill Trophy and the oldest continuously played college football rivalry in the South? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:13, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Rhodes scholar stat wrong[edit]

This statistic doesn't seem right. Swarthmore, according to its entry, has a higher per capita Rhodes rate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Mace (again)[edit]

Regarding the section "Institutional traditions", the last two paragraphs: Is all this really necessary? I recognize it got mention in the New York Times, but it's sort of a one-off situation. It doesn't really describe the school, but rather a piece of the school and the student/alumni reactions. I'm tempted to just remove those two paragraphs. Thoughts? -- SatyrTN (talk / contribs) 06:00, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I removed this section. It isn't helpful to the overall shape of the article. If we tried to catalog every controversy and every negative connotation that has been perpetrated by and associated with the school, as many have tried to do in the article already, we would be here forever and the article would do an even worse job of describing the school. Tcrichards (talk) 00:04, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Article name changes[edit]

Changing the name of this article should only be done through consensus on the talk page. Changes without consensus wreak havoc on the article and it is hard to repair the damage done. IMHO, referring to the university as Sewanee has long been a common practice both for alumni and for the general public. clariosophic (talk) 04:23, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Requested move (September 2008)[edit]

An editor has pointed out, correctly, that there should be a space after the colon in the article title. I can't move this article as there is already an article in the way. This should be completely uncontroversial and I'd appreciate an admin helping us out. --ElKevbo (talk) 06:14, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Inaccurate Link[edit]

Under the 'Noted Alumni' section, the Honorable Robert L. Brown is listed, referring to Robert Laidlaw Brown of the Arkansas Supreme Court. There is no wikipedia entry for Robert Laidlaw Brown. The link leads to an entry about Robert Latham Brown who is not a graduate of Sewanee. Someone should correct this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:42, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus to move at this time. Regards, Arbitrarily0 (talk) 19:13, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Sewanee: The University of the SouthUniversity of the South — Relisted. In looking at the source provided below, this may simply be a difference between the correct name and the logo for the school. The style guide shows uses of the logo but when it comes down to the proper name on the correspondence to the school, then the 'Sewanee:' is dropped. So unless there is something that shows this really is the name as opposed to the stylized logo, I will move the page as proposed. Vegaswikian (talk) 07:01, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

"Proper name"??? ElKevbo (talk) 12:41, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

The name of the school, formally, is "The University of the South". It is referred to as "Sewanee" as a nickname to the point where the school has little choice but to acknowledge this, but seeing as how we've even had a request from a trustee to use the real name, I don't think we should be using a made-up name abstracted from one line on the school website. They are referred to either as "The University of the South" (formally) or as "Sewanee" (informally), but conjunction of the two is a wikipedia-ism. Mangoe (talk) 14:16, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

No, it's not a "wikipedia-ism" but the preferred name as defined by the institution itself. See Section 5.1 of the university's style guide. And you'll also notice there that "The" is part of the institution's legal and official name.
(With respect to messages from trustees: be aware that this remains a controversial issue with strong feelings on both sides, including trustees and alumni. It's ridiculously political and historical and...well, ridiculous. But don't think that it's simple or easy. :) And that's why we should continue (a) summarizing the debate but (b) sticking with the official name as defined by the institution itself.). ElKevbo (talk) 17:24, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Support now it's not a standard title. Could be better to move just into Sewanee University. --Theirrulez (talk) 17:29, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
"Sewanee" is a nickname, just as "Pitt" means University of Pittsburgh. Mangoe (talk) 17:34, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
It's a bit more than just a nickname. It was often used as the name of the institution, even appearing on diplomas. And it's certainly the name of the location. ElKevbo (talk) 17:37, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
And exactly where is the phrase "Sewanee University" used and by whom??? That is a "wikipedia-ism." :) ElKevbo (talk) 17:37, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with ElKevbo: I have never heard this school called "Sewanee University." --Orlady (talk) 19:16, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is a complicated political and cultural issue so NPOV demands that we stick with what the institution itself uses rather than take sides. ElKevbo (talk) 17:37, 17 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The current title is consistent with the institution's own style guide and it includes both the legal name ("The University of the South") and the name by which the school is best known ("Sewanee"). I believe that the trustee's request (made in 2006) occurred before the institution finally settled in its decision to accede to common usage and start using "Sewanee" as part of its name. Keep the current article title. --Orlady (talk) 19:11, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.