Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sewanee, The University of the South
The University of the South is located in Sewanee, Tennessee, and is a private, coeducational liberal arts college. It is owned by several Southern dioceses of the Episcopal Church, USA and its School of Theology is an official seminary of the denomination. Often known as simply "Sewanee," the school enjoys an excellent academic reputation and is well-ranked on the annual US News & World Report list of the best American liberal arts colleges. The campus (officially called the "University Domain") consists of 10,000 acres (40 km²) of scenic mountain property atop the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Tennessee. Enrollment is currently about 1500 students.
In 1857, the southern Episcopal dioceses agreed to found a denominational college for the region, and the cornerstone was laid in 1860. Several figures later prominent in the Confederacy, notably Bishop Leonidas Polk, were involved in the founding. Due to the damage and disruptions of the Civil War, however, progress came to a halt. In 1866 the process was resumed, and this date is usually given as the re-founding of the University and the point from which it has maintained continuous operations.
In its early years schools of dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing existed, and a secondary school was part of the institution well into the second half of the twentieth century. However, for financial reasons, it was eventually concluded to focus on the two schools which exist today, liberal arts and theology.
The school has long been known for its literary associations. The Sewanee Review , founded in 1892, is thought to be the longest-running literary magazine in the country and has published and been praised by many distinguished authors. Its success has helped launch the well-regarded Sewanee Writer's Conference, held each summer.
In 1983, Tennessee Williams, playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner, left his literary rights to the University of the South. Royalties have helped build the Tennessee Williams Center, a performance venue and teaching facility, and to create the Tennessee Williams teaching fellowships, which bring well-known figures in the arts to the campus.
Recently the institution has begun combining its two names and bills itself as "Sewanee: The University of the South." Whether this signals a trend toward the diminution of its traditional Southern heritage has been a matter of debate.
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