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.
Southeastern University
Seal of Southeastern University
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)
Motto Transforming Minds. Engaging Culture
Established 1935
Type Private
Affiliation Assemblies of God USA
President Kent Ingle
Students 3,800
Location Lakeland, Florida, USA
Campus 88 acres (360,000 m2)
Colors Black and Red          
Nickname Fire
Mascot Maniac

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 and Sciences houses the Department of Communication, Department of English and Foreign Languages, Department of Music, and Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The other four colleges are the College of Business and Legal Studies, the College of Education, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and the College of Christian Ministries and 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 10 master's degrees. The school is the largest Assemblies of God educational institution of higher learning in the United States.[citation needed]

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 seven men's and seven women's sports, after the addition of football in the 2014-15 academic year. The addition of men's wrestling, the first collegiate program in the state, is planned for the 2015-16 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 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