Tennessee Wesleyan University

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Tennessee Wesleyan University
Motto Lux et Veritas
Motto in English
Light and Truth
Type Private liberal arts college
Established 1857
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
President Harley Knowles
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1,116
Location Athens, Tennessee, United States
Campus Small city
Colors Blue, gold, and white
Athletics NAIAAAC
Sports 17 varsity teams
Nickname Bulldogs
Affiliations NAICU[1]
Website www.tnwesleyan.edu

Tennessee Wesleyan University (TWU) is a small university founded in 1857, located in the city of Athens in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. Current enrollment is over 1,100 students, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 12:1. In February 2016, the school announced that they would change their name to Tennessee Wesleyan University, effective July 1, 2016.

The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate and master's degrees of business, fine arts, humanities, natural and social sciences as well as nursing, other career-related areas, and teacher certification. Through these several academic offerings, the college has developed a close relationship with its region and produces a large number of local teachers, police officers, lawyers and local government officials.

Tennessee Wesleyan also maintains a branch campus in Knoxville, where it offers evening programs in business administration. It also conducts its nursing classes in Knoxville.

Tennessee Wesleyan offers ten varsity sports. The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs compete in the Appalachian Athletic Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in baseball, basketball, soccer, cross country, tennis, volleyball, cheerleading, softball, and lacrosse. Athletics are a very important part of the school, and a very large portion of the student population play on one of the school's teams.


Old College

Tennessee Wesleyan was founded in 1857 as Athens Female College. It consisted solely of one building (now Old College). In 1866 the name was altered to East Tennessee Wesleyan College, and in 1867 it became East Tennessee Wesleyan University. At that time, the college was one of only a handful of coeducational colleges in the Southern United States.

In 1886, college president John F. Spence changed the name to Grant Memorial University[2] in an attempt to receive financial support from Northern benefactors.[3] In 1889, it merged with Chattanooga University to form U.S. Grant Memorial University[4] (U.S. Grant University; U.S. being Grant's given names), becoming the consolidated university's Athens branch campus. Seventeen years later (1906), it was renamed the Athens School of the University of Chattanooga.

In 1925, the college split from Chattanooga to become Tennessee Wesleyan College and served as a junior college. Tennessee Wesleyan became a liberal arts college in 1957 when it began awarding bachelor's degrees.

In February 2016, the school announced that they would change their name to Tennessee Wesleyan University, effective July 1, 2016. The decision would be the first name change for the school in 91 years.


Articulation agreements[edit]

Tennessee Wesleyan University has articulation agreements with Chattanooga State Community College, Cleveland State Community College, Motlow State Community College, Pellissippi State Community College, Roane State Community College, and Walters State Community College.


Tennessee Wesleyan University offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Behavioral Science, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Criminal Justice, Early Human Development and Learning, Education, English, Exercise Science, Fine Art (Visual Art and Theatre), Music, individualized majors, History, Human Services, International Studies, Mathematics, Nursing, Psychology, Church Vocations, Pre-Seminary, Sociology, and Special Education.

Admissions and rankings[edit]

University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[5] 41 (Regional colleges South)

Tennessee Wesleyan University accepts 83.7% of all applicants and is considered "selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[6]


Tennessee Wesleyan athletic teams, nicknamed athletically as the Bulldogs, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ NAICU – Member Directory
  2. ^ Martin, LeRoy A. (1957). A History of Tennessee Wesleyan College. TWC. p. 39. It was during [Spence's] administration that the name of the school was changed first to Grant Memorial University, and then three years later to U. S. Grant University at the time of its consolidation with Chattanooga University. 
  3. ^ "Introduction brochure" (PDF). TWC. 2010. In an effort to secure financial support for the deeply indebted Southern college from Northern states and benefactors, the institution’s president in 1886, John F. Spence, changed the name to Grant Memorial University and then to U.S. Grant Memorial University in 1889. 
  4. ^ "Mission & History". TWC. [Pre-merger name:] Grant Memorial University (1886-1889); [post-merger:] U.S. Grant Memorial University (1889-1906) 
  5. ^ "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Tennessee Wesleyan College | Best College | US News". Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 

External links[edit]