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Tennessee Wesleyan University
MottoLux et Veritas
Motto in English
Light and Truth
TypePrivate university
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
PresidentHarley Knowles
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

35°26′43″N 84°35′40″W / 35.4453°N 84.5944°W / 35.4453; -84.5944Coordinates: 35°26′43″N 84°35′40″W / 35.4453°N 84.5944°W / 35.4453; -84.5944
CampusSmall city
Colors    Blue and white
Sports20 varsity teams

Tennessee Wesleyan University (TWU) is a private Methodist university in Athens, Tennessee. It was founded in 1857 and is affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. It 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.


Old College
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

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, Communication, 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

Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[5] 16 (Regional colleges South)

Tennessee Wesleyan University accepts 62% of all applicants and is considered "selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[6]


Main article: Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs

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


  1. ^ "NAICU – Member Directory". Archived from the original on November 9, 2015.
  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. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 4, 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. Archived from the original on March 16, 2015. [Pre-merger name:] Grant Memorial University (1886-1889); [post-merger:] U.S. Grant Memorial University (1889-1906)
  5. ^ "2021 Best National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)