Shorter University

Shorter University
Shorter University
Motto Lux Veritas
Motto in English Light, Truth
Established 1873
Type Private
Religious affiliation Georgia Baptist Convention
Endowment US$ 27 million
President Harold E. Newman
Provost Craig Shull
Academic staff 388
Students 3,500
Undergraduates 3,073
Postgraduates 427
Location Rome, GA, USA
34°15′33″N 85°11′40″W / 34.259203°N 85.194511°W / 34.259203; -85.194511Coordinates: 34°15′33″N 85°11′40″W / 34.259203°N 85.194511°W / 34.259203; -85.194511
Campus Suburban
Former names Shorter College,
Shorter Female College,
Cherokee Baptist Female College
Colors Columbia blue, white and gold
Athletics NAIA (SSAC)
Nickname Hawks
Shorter Univ logo.PNG

Shorter University is a private, coeducational, liberal arts university located in Rome, Georgia, United States. Founded in 1873, it is a Christian university historically affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Shorter offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through seven colleges and schools and has current enrollment of 3,500 traditional and non-traditional students. The 155-acre (0.63 km2) main academic and residential campus is located 72 miles (116 km) northwest of Atlanta, Georgia in Rome. There are adult education and graduate programs at distance learning facilities in Duluth, North Atlanta, and Riverdale. In addition Shorter operates the Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business and the School of Nursing at off-campus facilities in the Rome area.[1]

Fielding athletic teams known as the Shorter Hawks, the university is in the process of transitioning athletics from the NAIA and member of the Southern States Athletic Conference to NCAA Division II, at which time it will join the Gulf South Conference.[2] The official school and athletic colors are blue and white. The majority of Shorter's students are from Georgia, with only 6% of student enrollment coming from out-of-state and an additional 3% as international students. The university offers a large number of extracurricular activities to its students, including athletics, honor societies, clubs and student organizations, as well as fraternities and sororities. Shorter has achieved national opprobrium for requiring its employees to sign a "personal lifestyle statement" rejecting homosexuality.



Founding and early history

Shorter University was founded in 1873 by Luther Rice Gwaltney, pastor of the Rome Baptist Church, as a women's college known as the Cherokee Baptist Female College.[3] The college was renamed in 1877 to Shorter Female College because of the financial contributions of Alfred and Martha Shorter.[3] Shorter was located in Victorian-style buildings on Shelton Hill near downtown Rome and educated young women at primary, preparatory and collegiate levels.[3] Classes were held Tuesdays through Saturdays and early curriculum included science, music, art, drama and literary works.[3] Through additional contributions from the J.L. Bass and J.P. Cooper families, the university was relocated to its current site just outside of Rome in 1910.[3] During the 1920s the college constructed the first indoor swimming pool in the United States and swimming became a physical education graduation requirement.[1] The era also included the first women were selected for the Board of Trustees. During the 1920s Shorter became an accredited member in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, in which the university holds accreditation.[3]

Through the years of the college struggled with financial problems during the 1930s with the Great Depression and World War II in the 1940s, Led by President Paul M. Cousins faculty took cuts in salary in the periods of crisis.[3] Academics were strengthened through membership with the Association of American Universities and the National Association of Schools of Music.[3]

Recent history

In the 1950s, the college became co-educational and the addition of male students created a need for a new male-only residence hall. The university also began intercollegiate athletics program in the NAIA and initiated new clubs organizations and fraternities.[3] Randall Minor became the college's 14th president in 1958.[3] Under Minor, control of the selection process for trustees was given to the Georgia Baptist Convention. The college constructed a new administration building, student center, library, fine arts center and hired additional faculty for the expanding school.[3] The late 1950s also saw the first African-American student graduate. [3]

The political and social climate of the 1960s had a great effect on the college throughout the decade. During the era the student government's power increased and new organizations were created on campus. A number of special events were held on campus, including memorial services for both the John F. Kennedy assassination and Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Earth Day was observed for the first time.[3] In 1973 Shorter College celebrated its 100th anniversary through special activities and traditions.[3]

International programs began in the 1990s and the university expanded MBA programs and adult education programs with the establishment of the School of Professional Programs in the Atlanta area.[3] The university dedicated the Winthrop-King Centre and created the Fitton Student Union when it converted the old gym into the facility. Shorter College constructed the Bass Apartments, the J. Robert Eubanks Welcome Center and the Robert H. Ledbetter baseball field.[3] In 2005, the college attempted to break away from the convention.  The Georgia Supreme Court, however, ruled that Shorter's board didn't have the authority to sever ties with the convention.  The Georgia Baptist Convention continues to pick trustees for the college. On June 1, 2010, Shorter College changed its name to Shorter University to reflect the institution’s growth and expansion.[1][4]


In October 2011, the university's policy against homosexuality attracted attention in newspapers around the world[5] when the university introduced a requirement that its employees must sign a "Personal Lifestyle Statement" in which they agree to adhere to the following principles as a condition of their employment:

  • They will be loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.
  • They will not engage in the use, sale, possession, or production of illegal drugs.
  • They will reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.
  • They will not use alcoholic beverages in the presence of students, and will abstain from serving, from using, and from advocating the use of alcoholic beverages in public (e.g. in locations that are open to use by the general public, including as some examples restaurants, concert venues, stadiums, and sports facilities) and in settings in which students are present or are likely to be present. Neither would they promote or encourage the use of alcohol.

Employees who fail to adhere to the requirements face potential disciplinary action including immediate termination.[6] All new and existing employees are required to sign. Shorter University President Don Dowless explained that those who do not will likely be fired, stating "I think that anybody who adheres to a lifestyle that is outside of what the biblical mandate is and of what the board has passed, including the president, would not be allowed to continue here."[7] He further stated "Anything outside that is not biblical, we do not accept" and "We have a right to hire only Christians."[5] On November 10, 2011, the university was partially evacuated when a bomb threat was received during a student protest on campus regarding the personal lifestyle statement and perceptions that the new policy was anti-gay.[8].


The university is located on a 155-acre campus in Rome. There are satellite campuses in North Atlanta, Duluth, Georgia and Riverdale, Georgia.


In 2005, the college enrolled approximately 1,000 students in its traditional programs with an additional 1,500 individuals enrolled in its professional studies programs. Shorter offers bachelor's degrees in 30 fields of study as well as some master's degrees.

Shorter University claims to have had a graduate school acceptance rate of 80 percent and an 87 percent acceptance rate to medical colleges over the past fifteen years.[9]


Shorter athletic teams are known as the Shorter Hawks. The university currently sponsors 20 varsity sports that compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Shorter is also a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference for most sports except for football, which competes in the Mid-South Conference; Shorter added men's and women's lacrosse in 2011, the men's team competes as an independent program and women's team competes as a charter member of the National Women's Lacrosse League.[10][11] In May 2011, Shorter announced it will apply for membership into the NCAA at the Division II level.[2] It was accepted into the NCAA reclassification process in July 2011 and will join the Gulf South Conference. During the 2011-12 academic year the Hawks will maintain competition in the NAIA, during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years Shorter will compete in the GSC and NCAA Division II but be ineligible for NCAA championships.[12]

Men's sports

Women's sports

Notable persons

Notable alumni include the famous concert organist J. Buxte Max, Bill Foster, head basketball coach in the NCAA and one of only 16 coaches to win 500 or more games in his career, and Phil Jones, a football coach who won the 2008 FCA Grant Teaff Coach of the Year honor and the 2008 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year.[13][14] Anthony O'Garro is a professional soccer player currently playing for AC St. Louis in the USSF Division 2 Professional League. O'Garro finished his Shorter career ranked third on the school's all-time assists list with 13 helpers and his 12 career goals rank fourth on the all-time charts.[15]

Noted faculty members include Martha Shaw, a music professor.[16]

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c Bell, Daniel (June 1, 2010). "Shorter’s wait is over: The college will officially mark its transition to university status on Tuesday". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Staff (May 12, 2010). "Shorter University Announces Plans to Apply for Membership in NCAA Division II". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Taylor-Colbert, Alice. "History of Shorter University". Shorter University. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Shorter University: 'A new name on an old friend'". Shorter University. 
  5. ^ a b "Christian university asks staff to sign form stating they're not gay". Daily Mail Reporter. Daily Mail Reporter. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Personal Life Statement". Shorter University Faith Statement. Shorter University. Retrieved 11/16/2011. 
  7. ^ North, Anna. "Not-Smart University Forces Employees To Sign Anti-Gay Pledge". Jezebel. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Jeffries, Fran. "Bomb threat closes Shorter University campus". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "FastWeb: Shorter College". 
  10. ^ Sugiura, Ken (October 15, 2010). "More schools getting in the game; Athletics enhance college experience, but cost is an issue". Atlanta Journal-Constitution.;%20%20Athletics%20enhance%20college%20experience,%20but%20cost%20is%20an%20issue.. Retrieved December 22, 2010. 
  11. ^ NWLL Creation
  12. ^ Staff (July 12, 2011). "NCAA accepts Shorter's application for NCAA II membership process". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "National Coaching Award for Jones". 
  14. ^ "Regional Coaching Award for Jones". 
  15. ^ Men's soccer places seven on All-SSAC squads
  16. ^ "Shorter Music Faculty: Dr. Martha Shaw". 

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