Sewanee is the University of the South, and it’s located in tiny Sewanee, Tennessee. It’s just west of the borderline between the Central and Eastern time zones, by the way, if you’re planning a visit.
Known for its writing program, Sewanee is a traditional small liberal arts college, and happens also to be very strong in languages for a school its size. The school has a strong connection with Hungary, so every year there are a number of Hungarian students in the cohort.
At the beginning of freshman year, all Sewanee students sign the Honor Code, and these tenets remain in force for the entire time students are here. Tests are not proctored, and students regularly leave backpacks and computers in the library or the dining hall, with no fear they’ll disappear.
We asked the students on our panel about the small size – Sewanee has about 1400 undergraduates. One of them was from a town near Ohio State. One of them went to a very small high school and Sewanee felt large to him, one of them came from a large high school and Sewanee felt tiny to her. But each of them talked about how right Sewanee has been for their college experience.
The Greek system is large here for a school of this size – nearly 2/3 of students are members of sororities and fraternities. Recruitment is second semester, so students have time to get used to their new surroundings and make friends. There’s a very active sports scene here – coaches do recruit for some of the Division 3 sports – but there are no athletic scholarships. Sewanee also has an equestrian program, and students with horses may bring and board them.
Not surprisingly, all of the students with whom we spoke talked about the small and personalized experience. Everyone does research in some way, and students feel a strong sense of community and tradition here. Sewanee is not a CTCL school, but it has the very same liberal arts, homey vibe.
Evelyn, Debbie and Lesa visited Sewanee in fall, 2019. You can scroll through all of the photos from their visit below.