University of Tennessee Southern
Former name
Martin Female College (1870–1908)
Martin College (1908–1986)
Martin Methodist College (1986–2021)
MottoCognito, Opportunitas, Veritas
Motto in English
Knowledge, Opportunity, Truth
TypePublic college
Parent institution
University of Tennessee system
EndowmentUS$9.28 million
ChancellorLinda C. Martin (interim)
Academic staff

35°12′01″N 87°02′11″W / 35.2002°N 87.0364°W / 35.2002; -87.0364
CampusRural, 55 acres (220,000 m2)
Red & Orange
Sporting affiliations

The University of Tennessee Southern (UT-Southern, formerly Martin Methodist College) is a public college in Pulaski, Tennessee. Founded in 1870, for over 150 years it was a private institution until joining the University of Tennessee system in 2021. For many years it was a junior college but is now a baccalaureate institution providing more than thirty academic majors. The college also has an MBA program.


UT Southern was originally founded as Martin Methodist College in 1870. The college was named for Thomas Martin (1799–1870), former mayor of Pulaski and an early member of the Ku Klux Klan, who left in his will an endowment of $30,000 to establish a college for the education of the white girls and women of Giles County.[1][2][3] It is sometimes suggested that Martin did so in fulfilment of a promise to his daughter Victoria, who died at the age of twenty.[3][4] In 1938, the college became coeducational.[2] Originally founded as a whites-only institution, in 1966 it became racially integrated.[4] The college was originally named Martin Female College; in 1908, its name was changed to Martin College; in April 1986, its name was changed to its final name as a private institution of Martin Methodist College.[2]

The college joined the University of Tennessee system in 2021.[5][6][7] When it joined the system, it was renamed UT Southern and became the first new primary campus in the University of Tennessee System in over 50 years. The former president of the college, Mark La Branche, remained as chancellor of the campus.[8] The name University of Tennessee-Southern was chosen because the campus serves the 13 counties of southern Middle Tennessee.[9]

Grissom Colonial Hall, May 2014


The Tennessee–Southern (UT Southern) athletic teams are called the FireHawks (previously they were known as the RedHawks before the UT system merger). The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Mid-South Conference (MSC) since the 2020–21 academic year.[10] The FireHawks (back then the Martin Methodist RedHawks) previously competed in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC; formerly known as Georgia–Alabama–Carolina Conference (GACC) until after the 2003–04 school year) from 2013–14 to 2019–20 (to which the school will return in 2023–24); and in the defunct TranSouth Athletic Conference (TranSouth or TSAC) from 1996–97 to 2012–13 (when the conference dissolved); and in the Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference (TCAC) from 1986–87 to 1995–96.

UT Southern competes in 19 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and tennis; while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball. Competitive cheerleading is offered as a co-ed sport. Competitive trap and skeet shooting was added as the department's 15th varsity sport in the fall of 2013.


Some of the sport teams' accomplishments include:


  1. ^ Rose, Laura Martin (1914). The Ku Klux Klan or Invisible empire. New Orleans, La.: L. Graham Co., Ltd. p. 21.
  2. ^ a b c "About". Martin Methodist College. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Rose, Laura Martin (1917). "Mr Thomas Martin: Founder of Martin College, Pulaski, Tenn.". The Martin Box. Vol. 7. Phi Kappa, Philosophian and Sigma Rho Literary Societies of Martin College, Pulaski, Tennessee. pp. 17–18.
  4. ^ a b Medina, Daniella. "UT System and Martin Methodist College: History, timeline of events leading up to vote". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  5. ^ Kast, Monica. "University of Tennessee System votes to add Martin Methodist College to its ranks". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  6. ^ "Get Access". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  7. ^ "Tennessee General Assembly passes FY21-22 budget, includes key investments for UT - The University of Tennessee Southern". April 29, 2021.
  8. ^ The Tennessean, June 27, 2021, pp. 1A, 21A
  9. ^ "University Of Tennessee Establishes New Campus: UT Southern". radio NWTN. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  10. ^ Willis, Tee. "Blazing a path: UT Southern unveils new mascot, branding as it joins UT System". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  11. ^ "NAIA Honors Database". Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "2005 NAIA Top-Seeded Martin Methodist Captures First Women's Soccer National Championship". NAIA. November 22, 2005. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Martin Methodist (Tenn.) Takes Home National Crown". NAIA. November 21, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2013.