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Mission & History

Tennessee Wesleyan University serves a comprehensive student body comprised of traditional and non-traditional students, non-degree-seeking adult learners and international students.

Mission Statement

In keeping with the spirit of the liberal arts, Tennessee Wesleyan University seeks within the framework of the Judeo-Christian tradition to provide for students the highest quality educational experience; to promote personal responsibility, integrity, and purpose; and to prepare students for a life of leadership and service in an ever-changing global community.

Statement of Purpose

Tennessee Wesleyan takes pride in its role as a comprehensive church-related college and accepts the challenge of advancing a community of learning on the main campus in Athens as well as the Knoxville site that serves nursing and evening students. The university serves a student body comprised of traditional and non-traditional students, non-degree-seeking adult learners and international students. Highly qualified faculty and staff are committed to assisting students in the realization of their full potential by providing appropriate career, pre-professional and professional education and/or requisite preparation for continued study in graduate school. The university offers baccalaureate programs in fine arts, humanities, natural and social sciences as well as business, nursing, other career-related areas and teacher certification. In addition to its undergraduate programs, Tennessee Wesleyan also offers an online Masters in Business Administration. The university's curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to be knowledgeable, to think critically and creatively, and to develop a basis for effective judgment.

History of Tennessee Wesleyan University

Founded in 1857 as Athens Female College, Tennessee Wesleyan has evolved into a four-year liberal arts institution, offering the first baccalaureate degrees on its centennial anniversary. Throughout its history, the university has enjoyed a relationship with the Methodist Church, which has prompted several growths for the university over the years. More than 150 years after its founding, Tennessee Wesleyan has never lost its identity as an important center of learning in Southeast Tennessee.

With over 30 undergraduate majors and a graduate program, TWU provides a wide range of studies to help each student achieve his or her individual dream. Faculty, staff and students combine to form a community of learning, dedicated to the advancement of the university and all of our students. Through strong academic programs, service-learning opportunities, student organizations and athletics, TWU helps students become enlightened servant leaders who believe in serving others, pursuing knowledge and leading by example. TWU’s main campus in Athens provides a park-like setting, with easy access to downtown Athens and the surrounding area, while the satellite locations in Knoxville and Cleveland provide convenience to students in our nursing program and Management Excellence degree completion program. At all three instructional sites, TWU provides individualized attention and support for every student, helping each one to be more.

  • Athens Female College (1857-1866)
  • East Tennessee Wesleyan College (1866-1867)
  • East Tennessee Wesleyan University (1867-1886)
  • Grant Memorial University (1886-1889)
  • S. Grant Memorial University (1889-1906)
  • Athens School of the University of Chattanooga (1906-1925)
  • Tennessee Wesleyan Junior College (1925-1954)
  • Tennessee Wesleyan College (1954-2016)
  • Tennessee Wesleyan University (2016 - present)