Tusculum University

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Tusculum University
TusculumUniv Logo.png
MottoSit Lux (Latin)
("Let there be light")
TypePrivate university
Established1794; 227 years ago (1794)
Religious affiliation
Presbyterian Church (USA)
EndowmentUS$15.7 million
PresidentScott Hummel
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States
CampusRural, 140 acres (0.57 km2)
ColorsOrange and Black
AthleticsNCAA Division II
South Atlantic Conference
18 sports teams

Tusculum University is a private Presbyterian university with its main campus in Tusculum, Tennessee. It is Tennessee's first university and the 28th-oldest operating college in the United States.[1]

In addition to its main campus, the institution maintains a regional center for Adult and Online Studies in Knoxville, and Morristown.

The entrance gate to Tusculum University, Tennessee


Before Tennessee became a state in 1796, the east Tennessee area was the southwestern frontier of the United States.[2] Presbyterian ministers Hezekiah Balch and Samuel Doak, both educated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), were there, ministering to early Scots-Irish settlers.

Striving to meet the settlers' educational needs, Doak founded Martin Academy in 1783 and it expanded to become Washington College in 1795. Washington College briefly merged temporarily in the 20th century with Tusculum College. Balch was the first president of Greeneville College in 1794.

In 1806, emancipated slave John Gloucester became the first African-American student to study at Greeneville College. He was the first African-American educated by a college in Tennessee and later helped found the First African Presbyterian Church in 1807, in Philadelphia.[3][4][5]

Samuel Doak and Hezekiah Balch sought the same goals through their separate colleges. They wanted to educate settlers of the American frontier so that they would become better Presbyterians, and therefore, in their thinking, better citizens.[6] To better accomplish the common goals of each institution, Greeneville College and Tusculum College merged in 1868 to become Greeneville & Tusculum College.

Historical sign giving information on the establishment of Tusculum College
Scott Niswonger Student Center on the campus of Tusculum University.

Origin of name[edit]

Samuel Doak left Washington College and founded Tusculum Academy, on the present campus of Tusculum University, in 1818 with his son, Samuel Witherspoon Doak. S.W. Doak was named after Princeton University's then-president Dr. John Witherspoon, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and Tusculum Academy was named after Witherspoon's estate at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). The original Tusculum was a city near Rome, Italy and home to Roman scholar and philosopher Cicero. It was he who, along with others, identified the civic virtues that form the basis of civic republican tradition, which emphasizes citizens working together to form good societies that in turn foster individuals of good character.[7]


  • Greeneville College (1794–1868)
    • Hezekiah Balch, D.D. 1794–1810
    • Charles Coffin, D.D. 1810–27
    • Henry Hoss 1828–36
    • Alfred Hoss 1836–38
    • James McLin, B.A. 1838–40
    • Samuel Matthews 1843–45
    • Charles Van Vlech 1845–46
    • John Fleming 1846–47
    • William B. Rankin, D.D. 1854–58
    • John Lampson 1859–60
  • Tusculum Academy (1818–68)
    • Samuel Doak, D.D. 1818–29
    • Samuel Witherspoon Doak, D.D. 1829–44
  • Tusculum College (1844–68)
    • Samuel Witherspoon Doak, D.D. 1844–64
    • William Stephenson Doak, D.D. 1865–68
  • Greeneville and Tusculum College (G&T) (1868–1908)
    • William Stephenson Doak, D.D. (1868–82)
    • Alexander M. Doak (acting) 1882–83
    • Jeremiah Moore, D.D. 1883–1901
    • Samuel A. Coile, D.D. 1901–07
  • Washington and Tusculum College (W&T) (1908-1912)
    • Charles O. Gray, D.D. 1907–12
  • Tusculum College (1912–2018)
    • Charles O. Gray, D.D. 1912–31
    • Charles A. Anderson, D.D. 1931–42
    • John McSween, D.D. 1942–44
    • Jere A. Moore (acting) 1944–46
    • George K. Davies, Ph.D. 1946–50
    • Leslie K. Patton (acting) 1950–51
    • Raymond C. Rankin, D.D. 1951–65
    • Douglas C. Trout, Ph.D. 1965–68
    • Charles J. Ping (acting) 1968–69
    • Andrew N. Cothran, Ph.D. 1969–72
    • Thomas G. Voss, Ph.D. 1972–78
    • Earl R. Mezoff, Ed.D. 1978–88
    • Robert E. Knott, Ph.D. 1989–2000
    • Thomas J. Garland (interim) 2000
    • Dolphus E. Henry III, Ph.D. 2000–07[notes 1]
    • Russell L. Nichols, Ph.D. (interim) August 2007–April 2009[notes 2]
    • Nancy B. Moody, DSN April 2009 – 2017[notes 3]
    • James L. Hurley, Ed.D 2017–2019
  • Tusculum University (2018–present)
    • James L. Hurley, Ed.D. 2017–2019
    • Greg Nelson, Ph.D. (acting) 2019–2020[8]
    • Scott Hummel, Ph.D. 2020–present


Tusculum is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate and Master degrees.

Annie Hogan Byrd Hall is a performance space used for both university theatre and music events as well as outside arts events.

It also maintains institutional memberships with the American Council on Education, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Council for Opportunity in Education,[9] the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association,[10] the Tennessee State Board of Education, the Appalachian College Association,[11] the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, the American Association of University Women, the American Medical Association, and the New York State Board of Regents.


The tennis courts and athletic buildings on the campus of Tusculum University.

A member of the South Atlantic Conference, Tusculum fields 16 recognized varsity teams in all, 12 of which compete in NCAA Division II in the SAC. Two teams compete as de facto NCAA Division I members. In women's bowling, a sport added in 2019–20 in which the NCAA holds a single championship open to members of all three NCAA divisions, the Pioneers are single-sport members of the East Coast Conference.[12] Also added for 2019–20 was men's volleyball, in which the NCAA holds a combined Division I/II national championship; the Pioneers compete in that sport as an independent.[13] Tusculum also added the non-NCAA sport of men's bowling in 2019–20,[13] and also recognizes its cheerleaders (both male and female) as varsity athletes.

In 2004, Ricardo Colclough, a defensive back and kick returner, became the first Tusculum Pioneers football player to be drafted by the National Football League when he was selected in the second draft round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Colclough, the only Tusculum player to appear in an NFL game, played for the Carolina Panthers. He was dismissed from the team in August 2008.[14]

In 2007, former Tusculum College basketball player, Tyler White, became a member of the Washington Generals, the exhibition team that travels with and plays against the Harlem Globetrotters.

In August 2009, Chris Poore, another former Tusculum College basketball player, also became a member of the Washington Generals.[15]

On September 4, 2014, the Tusculum football team hosted the College of Faith, an online institution in Charlotte, North Carolina. In a 71-0 win, the Pioneers set two NCAA all Division records: fewest total yards allowed (minus-100) and fewest rushing yards allowed (minus-124).[16] Tusculum also had three safeties, which tied a Division II record.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ The Tusculum College board of trustees placed President Dolphus Henry on paid administrative leave on May 22, 2007, following a vote of no confidence by the faculty. (See Tusculum College president on leave, Knoxville News Sentinel, 23 May 2007.) Two trustees with notable experience as university presidents (Drs. Edward J. Kormondy and Angelo Volpe) alternately shared leadership responsibilities until an interim president could take office. (See Trustees Volpe, Kormondy taking on transitional presidential leadership at Tusculum College Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine, Tusculum College press release, May 29, 2007.) Dr. Henry announced his resignation in July 2007. (See Dolphus Henry resigns as president of Tusculum College Archived 2007-08-03 at the Wayback Machine, Tusculum College press release, 19 July 2007.)
  2. ^ Dr. Russell L. Nichols, president emeritus of Hanover College, assumed the duties of interim president on 1 August 2007. (See Dr. Russell L. Nichols coming as interim president of Tusculum College Archived 2007-08-03 at the Wayback Machine, Tusculum College press release, July 19, 2007.)
  3. ^ On February 28, 2009, the Tusculum College board of trustees elected Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Lincoln Memorial University, to be the institution's 27th president. She was scheduled to assume office on April 27, 2009. (See Tusculum College Names Dr. Nancy Moody President, Greeneville Sun, March 2, 2009.)


  1. ^ Rudolph, Frederick (1990). The American College and University: A history. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. (ISBN 0820312843)
  2. ^ Ramsey, J. G. M. (1853). Annals of Tennessee to the end of the eighteenth century (p. 627). Charleston, SC: Walker & James Press.
  3. ^ "Gloucester, John (1776- 1822) - The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed". blackpast.org. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  4. ^ "John Gloucester - 1776-1822 - 1C-84 - Tusculum, TN - Tennessee Historical Markers on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  5. ^ "John Gloucester - Tusculum - TN - US". Historical Marker Project. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  6. ^ Patrick, James (2007). The beginning of collegiate education west of the Appalachians, 1795-1833: The achievement of Dr. Charles Coffin of Greeneville College and East Tennessee College. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen Press. (ISBN 0773454470)
  7. ^ Sexton, Jr., Donal J., & Smith, Jr., Myron J. (1994). Glimpses of Tusculum: A pictorial history of Tusculum College. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing.
  8. ^ "Dr. Greg Nelson returns to Tusculum board, helps ensure a seamless transition to Dr. Scott Hummel :: Tusculum University". TUSCULUM UNIVERSITY NEWS. 2020-02-20. Retrieved 2021-03-21.
  9. ^ "Council for Opportunity in Education". Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Home". Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Appalachian College Association". Appalachian College Association. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Tusculum Joins ECC as Women's Bowling Associate Member" (Press release). East Coast Conference. August 23, 2019. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Tusculum announces addition of three new sports beginning in 2019-2020" (Press release). Tusculum Pioneers. September 20, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  14. ^ Colclough Cut From Panthers Following Drunk Driving Arrest, The Greeneville Sun, 1 September 2008.
  15. ^ http://www.greenevillesun.com/story/303919 Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "The worst game in college football history". Retrieved 23 March 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allen, Ortha B. (1970). The philosophy of the library-college and its applications to Tusculum College (thesis). Johnson City, TN: East Tennessee State University. (OCLC 25212791)
  • Bailey, Gilbert L. (1965). A history of Tusculum College, 1944-1964 (thesis). Johnson City, TN: East Tennessee State University.
  • Hearn, Steven B. (1983). Survival strategies for Tusculum College: An ethnographic evaluation of enrollment, student recruitment, and school image (thesis). Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee – Knoxville. (OCLC 9939082)
  • Patrick, James (2007). The beginning of collegiate education west of the Appalachians, 1795-1833: The achievement of Dr. Charles Coffin of Greeneville College and East Tennessee College. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen Press. (ISBN 0773454470)
  • Ragan, Allen E. (1945). A history of Tusculum College, 1794-1944. Greeneville, TN: The Tusculum Sesquicentennial Committee. (LCC 46018213)
  • Treadway, Cleo C. (1974). Reclassification: The Tusculum way. Greeneville, TN: Tusculum College Press. (OCLC 6922139)

External links[edit]