Tusculum University has a combined campus and off-campus enrollment of about 1,800 students with a student-faculty ratio of 17 to 1. The University believes that learning is an intimate process best supported on a personal basis between teacher and student and that no environment nurtures this process more completely than a small University community.
Tusculum is located east of Greeneville, Tennessee, a growing community of 15,035. The population of Greene County, including the City of Greeneville, is around 68,335. The main campus is situated in picturesque Northeast Tennessee. The University maintains a regional center for Adult and Online Studies in Knoxville and a site in Morristown.
Located between Knoxville and the Tri-Cities area of Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, Tusculum is easily accessible by automobile, interstate bus lines and airlines. Interstate Highway 81 is 10 miles from campus and Interstate 26 is about 25 miles from the University. Major airlines serve each of these airports: the Tri-Cities Regional Airport (40 miles), the Knoxville McGhee-Tyson Airport (80 miles) and the Asheville, North Carolina Regional Airport (70 miles).
Tusculum is an institutional member of the Association of American Universities and Universities, The Council of Independent Universities, the National Council of Educational Opportunities, the National Commission on Accrediting, the Commission on Christian Higher Education, the Presbyterian University Union, the Tennessee University Association and the Tennessee State Board of Education. The University is also on the approved list of the American Medical Association, the New York State Board of Regents and the American Association of University Women. Tusculum is an institutional member of the Appalachian University Association and the Tennessee Independent Universities and Universities Association.
The Tusculum campus consists of 160 acres. The University has occupied this rolling, wooded site since 1818, and the campus is a striking combination of modern structures and historic red brick buildings clustered in the shade of sheltering oaks.
At the heart of campus, the Thomas J. Garland Library provides students with access to both print and digital materials. The library website provides twenty-four hour/seven-day access to e-books, journal articles through data bases, subject guides and online reference assistance. In addition to computer stations at both Greeneville and Knoxville, the library also has laptops available to loan for in-house use on the Greeneville campus. All digital resources can be accessed from the Library’s Web Page.
Virginia Hall, originally designed by noted architect Louis Sullivan, is the central arrival point for new and prospective students on campus. The building is home to the Registrar, Admissions, and Financial Aid. Virginia Hall also offers a computer lab, several classrooms, and faculty offices.
Across the street from Virginia Hall is the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building, the site of many community activities. The building contains a 700-seat auditorium, used for theater productions, musical performances, and University assemblies, as well as the 200-seat Behan Arena. The University Chapel is also located in AHB.
The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library, the oldest academic building on campus, houses the collection of the seventeenth president’s private and family papers and artifacts. The facility also holds the original College library, which is the largest extant library dating before 1807 in the Southeast.
The newest academic facility on campus is the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math. The approximately 100,000-square-foot building includes dedicated spaces for biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, environmental science, nursing, and optometry. The Meen Center also features cutting edge technology, including spaces equipped for interactive distance learning, a large lecture hall, and lab space and research areas for both students and faculty.
The Herbert L. Shulman Center is built in a distinctive circular design. Studios and offices for the Art and Design programs are located in the building as well as the Allison Art Gallery, which features exhibits of student work and guest artists throughout the year. Other academic facilities include the Charles Oliver Gray Complex.
A major hub of student activity on campus is the Niswonger Commons building, which houses a full-service post office, bookstore, a 24-hour computer lab, dining hall and a Chick-Fil-A, complete with indoor and outdoor seating. The campus information services center, a campus living room, the Academic Resource Center, Center for Civic Advancement-Global and Mission Studies, Student Support Services, Student Affairs, Career Services, Campus Safety, classroom and faculty offices are located in the Niswonger Commons.
Tusculum’s athletic and recreation facilities are among the best among East Tennessee institutions of higher learning. Inside the Niswonger Commons are a gymnasium-swimming pool complex that incorporates the 2,000-seat Pioneer Arena, a weight room/fitness center as well as the Student Activity Center housing the Recreational Sports and Campus Activities programs.
Through the generous support of business and community leader Scott M. Niswonger ‘87 H’06, an alumnus who is a member of Tusculum’s Board of Trustees, a modern athletics complex enhances campus. Named in Niswonger’s honor, it includes an indoor sports complex, Pioneer Field and Pioneer Park. The indoor sports complex includes a field house that features an indoor practice and soccer space with a special high-quality, realistic turf.
Pioneer Field’s seating capacity is 3,500. A modern press box facility, built to blend with the architectural style of the campus’s most historic facilities, is adjacent to the field, on which Tusculum’s football, soccer and lacrosse teams play.
The baseball stadium, Pioneer Park, is used by both the Tusculum Pioneers baseball team and the Greeneville Reds minor league team. The stadium has a seating capacity of 2,500 and features a covered seating area, locker facilities offices and a museum of Tusculum and local baseball memorabilia.
Residence halls include historic Haynes and Welty-Craig halls and Katherine Hall, as well as Mastrapasqua Hall and five other buildings featuring apartment-style housing and three residence halls in the Charles Oliver Gray Complex.
More than a decade ago, Tusculum built the Knoxville Regional Center near the intersection of Pellissippi Parkway and Lovell Road to house the Adult and Online Studies program in that city and serve as the headquarters of the program in southeast Tennessee.
The Morristown Center, 35 miles away in nearby Morristown, TN, houses classroom space, meeting space, faculty/staff offices, student lounge, and a computer lab.
Nine buildings and the Arch are on the National Register of Historic Places and form the Historical District on campus: Doak House (1830s), Old University (1841), McCormick Hall (1887), Welty-Craig Hall (1891), Virginia Hall (1901), The Thomas J. Garland Library (1910), Haynes Hall (1914), The Arch (1917), Rankin Hall (1923) and Tredway Hall (1930).
A Brief History of Tusculum
The roots of Tusculum are buried deep in early American frontier history.
In 1794, George Washington was president of a young country and the State of Tennessee was still two years away from becoming a reality. In what is now East Tennessee, Hezekiah Balch and Samuel Doak, Presbyterian ministers educated at the University of New Jersey (now Princeton University), were ministering to the pioneers of what was the southwestern frontier of the United States. They also desired to meet the educational needs of these Scots-Irish settlers. Doak and Balch, although they did not always see eye-to-eye, were visionaries ultimately seeking the same goals through the rival Universities they established: they wanted to educate settlers of the American frontier so that they would become better Presbyterians, and therefore, in their vision, better citizens.
Today’s Tusculum University descends from two schools. The first, Greeneville University, was chartered in September 1794 by the General Assembly of the Territory of the United States South of the Ohio River, and established by Hezekiah Balch. The second was founded as Tusculum Academy in 1818 by Samuel Doak and his son, Samuel Witherspoon Doak.
Tusculum was named by the elder Rev. Doak to recognize the home of the president of the University of New Jersey, the Rev. John Witherspoon-a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The name Tusculum comes from a community near Rome, Italy, that was the home of the Roman educator and philosopher Cicero, who along with others, identified the civic virtues that form the bases of the civic republican tradition, which emphasizes citizens working together to form good societies that in turn nurture individuals of good character. That civic republican tradition continues to be reflected in Tusculum’s civic arts emphasis.
Tusculum Academy operated in a log cabin adjacent to the present site of Tusculum University. When the academy became Tusculum University in 1844, Andrew Johnson, who was to become 17th President of the United States, was one of its trustees. Johnson often walked the five miles to and from Greeneville to participate in the debating activities at Tusculum.
A merger in 1868 formed Greeneville and Tusculum College. In 1908, Greeneville and Tusculum College merged with Washington College Academy, creating Washington and Tusculum College. This union dissolved in 1912, and thus evolved modern-day Tusculum College. Tusculum received formal accreditation fourteen years later in 1926.
From the outset, the flux of early American culture was reflected in the life of the institution. As the pioneer settlers thrived, so did Tusculum. As the area was torn apart during the Civil War, so were the two institutions that are the College’s twin roots. Campus buildings served as barracks for soldiers, scientific apparatus was destroyed and library holdings were scattered or stolen.
Ultimately, Tusculum survived it all. It endured the Civil War through the merger of the two institutions. It made it through financial difficulty and near-disastrous enrollment droughts during World War I and World War II. The College survived these devastating events only to rebound into a stronger institution.
There are many people who played important roles in the development of the institution. It is difficult to guess what Tusculum would be like today without the early influences of Charles Coffin, Cyrus and Nettie McCormick, Charles Oliver Gray, Landon Carter “Daddy” Haynes and a host of others. Of all of these people, Nettie Fowler McCormick undoubtedly had the largest and most visible impact on the College. She was the widow of Cyrus Hall McCormick, the inventor of the famous mechanized reaper. Through McCormick philanthropy, five major buildings were added on campus. McCormick Hall, built in 1887, remains the central landmark on the campus and is a living memorial to this notable family.
Tusculum is the first college in Tennessee, the 28th oldest in the nation and the 28h oldest operating college in the country. Tusculum is also the oldest coeducational institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and an early national pioneer in the admission of women. The College accepted women students early in its history, and it is notable that by the turn of the century more than half of its students were women. Tusculum was also the first institution in Tennessee to educate an African-American, an emancipated slave, John Gloucester, who later became a Presbyterian minister.
In 1984, Tusculum became the first college in the region to make a major commitment to serve another type of student, working adults, in extended campus locations through its Adult and Online Studies Programs.
On July 1, 2018, the College transitioned to University and officially became Tusculum University.
Tusculum University takes seriously its heritage as a daughter of the Presbyterian Church.
Tusculum University is committed to strengthening its relationship with the Presbyterian Church so that the University can bring its services to the Church, and the Churches can learn of and benefit from the distinctive mission and education offered by Tusculum University.
Currently, the University has a covenant with:
- The Presbytery of East Tennessee, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- The Holston Presbytery, Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- The Synod of Living Waters, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
For more information about the covenants, please contact the Office of the President.
Regarding the Civic Arts
What is meant by “civic arts?”
The term “liberal arts” is used so often in so many different ways that its meaning has tended to become lost or ambiguous. Some use the term in reference to almost any small private University. Others use it to refer to a curriculum that includes a range of courses in a variety of subjects. At Tusculum we have developed the term “civic arts” to recapture the original meaning of the phrase “liberal arts” as it was first used by Cicero, the Roman orator, philosopher, statesman and educator from whose villa our University takes its name. This original meaning referred to those skills, attitudes and abilities appropriate to citizenship in a democratic society.
We draw strength for implementing the mission of the University from two traditions that have undergirded the institution throughout its 224-year history and have provided its guiding virtues. On one hand, the Judeo- Christian heritage was uppermost in the minds of our Presbyterian founders and continues to figure in our ongoing connection to the church. This tradition, in addition to its richness of spiritual insight, has a special role in promoting the virtue of compassion.
On the other hand, the civic republican tradition, espoused by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Cato and others leading right up to the present time, emphasizes citizens working together to form good societies, that in turn nurture individuals of good character. Such virtues as courage (moral and physical), self-control (moderation, responsibility and self-discipline) and justice (fairness) are all prominent in the civic republican tradition.
Particular emphasis is placed on practical wisdom. Within the tradition, this term carries a special meaning. It indicates careful thinking with other citizens, guided by the virtues listed above, in order to determine a course of action that will enhance the good of the community.
Drawing on these two traditions then, the civic arts embrace such things as the ability to present one’s thoughts clearly in speaking or writing, the ability to analyze situations carefully and solve problems creatively and to identify information needs and to locate and evaluate information sources in traditional and electronic forms.
How do Tusculum’s distinctive programs affect me as a student at the University?
Students enrolling in Tusculum should be prepared to spend a significant portion of each day in diligent study. In an academic community such as Tusculum, academic rigor is valued; professors will expect much of you, while also providing the support you need to be successful. Your effort will not only reap individual dividends of academic success but is also important in maintaining an intellectual atmosphere conducive to learning.
While much can be learned from the well-qualified faculty, it is also true that much is learned from interactions with fellow students. The better prepared each student is, the richer is the academic climate for all. There are numerous opportunities to become involved in campus organizations, clubs, volunteer service in the community, University governance, intramurals and intercollegiate athletics. All of these provide experiences that are enjoyable in their own right while also developing the skills of working with others toward a common goal, even when it is necessary to work through disagreements. Such experiences and skills are invaluable for civic life.
How do Tusculum’s distinctive programs affect graduates?
Your time spent pursuing a degree at Tusculum is probably the most important investment you can make. The University has had a long history of success from graduates in its various major programs of study.
Tusculum’s mission and an active, engaged learning environment work together in an integrated way to prepare citizens for effective participation in professional, public and personal life. The bold initiatives of the institution are gaining increasing national recognition, further enhancing the value of your degree from Tusculum.
The historic Thomas J. Garland Library on the Greeneville campus, along with the smaller Knoxville Regional Center Library, play a creative and dynamic role in meeting the academic mission of the University. The education of Tusculum students is enhanced through an intellectually stimulating library environment, active collaboration between librarians and faculty, programs of information literacy and student outreach, and a diverse offering of online resources.
An introduction to Tusculum University Library services begins with new student orientation, and continued information literacy instruction is provided by qualified staff throughout a student’s course of study. Library personnel actively work to improve the quality of student research by providing reference and research assistance in person, online, and by telephone. Students are encouraged to seek assistance as needed.
Tusculum University libraries support students at all locations including Greeneville, Knoxville, Morristown, and online platforms. Whether print books or journals are located in Greeneville or Knoxville, all students have access to these resources via an efficient intra-library loan procedure. Additionally, interlibrary loan services provide access to materials from other locations outside the library’s collection ensuring students have the research materials they need.
The library website provides 24-hour/7-day access to eBooks, database journal articles, and subject guides. Internet access is available in both libraries in addition to computer work stations. The campus in Greeneville also has laptops available for in-house use.
The library staff values engagement with students and strives to provide a friendly, welcoming place conducive to study. Outreach events are designed to promote critical thinking and engage students and the Tusculum community.
The library’s partnership with the Tusculum University Tutoring Center, located on the top floor of the Thomas J. Garland Library in Greeneville, provides students a space to meet with degreed and peer tutors and have ready access to research materials.
The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library
Opened in the fall of 1993, The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library houses the Tusculum’s special collections: the Charles Coffin Collection, the Andrew Johnson Library and the University Archives. The 2,000 volumes of the Charles Coffin Collection are from the original University library of 1794-1827. As a sizeable collection from a post-Revolutionary frontier University, this collection is a unique resource for scholars of 18th century history. The Coffin collection includes 16th, 17th and 18th century imprints from renowned European publishing houses and from the early American colonial press.
The Andrew Johnson Library includes books, papers and memorabilia of the 17th President of the United States. This collection was presented to Tusculum by Mrs. Margaret Johnson Patterson Bartlett, great-granddaughter of President Andrew Johnson and a 1924 Tusculum graduate. The University Archives contain documents and artifacts relating to the history of Tusculum since its founding in 1794. Tusculum’s special collections, including its Archives, are available by arrangement to students and to the public for scholarly research.
The Instructional Materials Center
Located with the Education program in the Charles Oliver Gray building, the IMC contains a wide variety of professional and child-use materials, some specifically designed for use in special education. Materials may be circulated and are employed by education personnel throughout the Greene County area and by Tusculum students preparing for teaching careers.