2021-2022 Catalog

General Information

Founded in 1842, Cumberland University holds a unique place in American history as one of the oldest liberal art universities in the South. Founded by leaders of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Cumberland established a Law school, the first in Tennessee west of the Appalachian Mountains, a school of Engineering, and a school of Theology during the mid-1800s.

Cumberland was impacted by The Civil War when University Hall was burned to the ground during Union occupancy. After the destruction, a student wrote across a ruined Corinthian column the Latin word Resurgam, which translates to "I will arise". Thus, from the ashes, the mythical phoenix became Cumberland's enduring symbol which inspires the University to rise, endure, prosper, and illuminate the world. In 1892, Cumberland moved to its present location.

In 1946, The Tennessee Baptist Convention assumed control of the University, ending a century of operation under the Presbyterian Church. In 1956, the Board of Trust secured an amendment to the Charter, changed the institution to a private, independent corporation, and reopened the College of Arts and Sciences as a two-year institution, known as Cumberland College of Tennessee.

The Board of Trust expanded the academic programs of the Junior College in 1982. This expansion returned Cumberland to a four-year, degree-granting institution known again as Cumberland University. Its alumni include 14 governors, more than 80 members of the United States Congress, two United States Supreme Court Justices, three United States ambassadors, a United States Secretary of State and founder of the United Nations.

Cumberland University draws on its enduring spirit of excellence to provide students from all backgrounds with a rounded education that is intensely personal, intellectual challenging, future focused and dedicated to preparing every individual for a meaningful career and fulfilling life.

Today, Cumberland continues to evolve to meet the needs of a diverse and expanding community while providing a transformational higher education experience through more than 100 fully-accredited academic programs of study in three distinct schools.