About Shorter

Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review annually include Shorter on their lists of best Southeastern Colleges. The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, associate’s, and master’s programs.

History of Shorter University

Luther Rice Gwaltney

Cherokee Baptist Female College

Conceived in the mind of educator Luther Rice Gwaltney, the Cherokee Baptist Female College opened for students in 1873. As pastor of Rome Baptist Church, now First Baptist, Gwaltney encouraged the active participation of church members in the establishment of a school for young ladies.

Col. Alfred and Martha Shorter

Renaming to Shorter College

Because of the generous contributions of Alfred and Martha Shorter, in 1877 the college was renamed Shorter College. Originally, the college was housed in Victorian structures located on Shelton Hill, near Clock Tower Hill in downtown Rome.

Original Shorter Campus in Downtown Rome

The Early Years

In its early years, Shorter had three departments–primary, preparatory, and collegiate. Young women in the collegiate department studied the classics, science, music, art, and drama and established the literary magazine The Chimes as well as two societies–Eunomian (now Epsilon Sigma Sorority) and Polymnian (Pi Sigma Sorority).

Construction of new Shorter location in 1910

Relocation to “the Hill”

By 1910 a new vision of a “Greater Shorter,” and contributions from the J. L. Bass family and the J. P. Cooper family made the relocation of the school to its current site a reality. As construction symbolized a new era, President Azor Van Hoose and the trustees looked to the past for inspiration–the first Founder’s Day was instituted.

Students around the May Pole

Celebrating the New Campus

The young women students celebrated the opening of the new campus in dozens of ways in the 1910s, including the first May Day Festival, the writing of “Alma Mater”, and the creation of the Periscope newspaper.

Sheffield-Thompson Building

Men Are Admitted to Shorter

Boys were enrolled at Shorter part-time beginning during the 1948-1949 academic year. The first male graduate was in 1953.

Fountain and sign at front entrance to Shorter

College to University

On June 1, 2010, Shorter officially changed its name to Shorter University in a move designed to recognize the institution’s growth in recent years.

Fans at football game

NCAA Division II Membership

In 2014, the NCAA officially welcomed the Hawks into full NCAA Division II as a member of the Gulf South Conference, signaling a celebratory end to the university’s three-year transition from the NAIA. The Hawks compete in all 14 GSC sponsored sports and are also associate members of the Peach Belt Conference in outdoor track and field.

Shorter University continues to pursue its mission to inspire students to make commitments to lifelong learning, personal spiritual values, responsible citizenship, community and societal leadership and global awareness. The university affirms its commitment to being an intentionally Christian university.

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