Shorter College ready to become Rome’s first university
May 27, 2010 - In less than 5 days, Shorter College will become Rome and Floyd County’s first university. At 10 a.m. on June 1, Shorter College will officially change its name to Shorter University and will kick off a full day of events designed to celebrate a new chapter of the institution’s history.
Activities on June 1
An official sign unveiling ceremony and dedication will take place at 10 a.m. at the college’s main entrance, and open houses for the college’s new Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business and School of Nursing will take place from 1:30 until 3 p.m. The Ledbetter College of Business is located in the MidTown Crossing Shopping Center and the School of Nursing is located at 20 Riverbend Drive. These events are open to the public.
The afternoon of activity will be capped off with two additional events. Shorter College will host a 6 p.m. concert featuring Christian recording artists Rebecca St. James and Jonny Diaz. Concert tickets can be purchased by calling the Shorter College Box Office at 706-233-7288.
A 7 p.m. first-pitch thrown by Shorter President Dr. Harold E. Newman will mark the beginning of Shorter University Night at the Rome Braves game. Advance ticket prices are $5 for students and $8 for adults and $10 at the door. Tickets to Shorter University Rome Braves Night can be purchased by calling 706-378-5144.
Why the change?
In November 2008, Shorter College announced its intent to change its legal designation to Shorter University. The transition builds on the college’s reputation for providing excellent academic experience s within a caring, Christian environment, according to Dr. Newman.
“Our aim is to create a Christian university where students will receive a top quality education in an environment that enables spiritual growth and helps develop future Christian leaders,” he said. “University status reflects what Shorter has become through the extraordinary growth and success of recent years. Achieving recognition as a regional teaching university and as a Christ-centered community are central pillars of our plans for the future growth and development of Shorter.” Dr. Newman added, “Several years ago, the college’s leadership team and I identified university status as a centerpiece of Shorter’s strategic plan, and we believe that Shorter fits nicely into the definition of a regional teaching university.
Dr. Nelson Price, chairman of the Shorter College Board of Trustees, echoed Dr. Newman’s enthusiasm for the transition. “From the inception of my working with Shorter, we have had the bold ambition to see it excel, and we feel the title of university will enhance the understanding of the level of academic excellence offered at Shorter. We also desire to see the academic success enhanced by the infusion of the Christian faith.”
The status change will enable Shorter to better respond to market forces within the state of Georgia and within the higher education community at large, Dr. Newman said. “Becoming Shorter University positions us for future growth. It does not, however, change the nature of Shorter. We remain committed to providing a high quality educational experience that features personal interactions with faculty, a strong focus on students, and excellence in all areas.” Dr. Newman added that the change will require little internal restructuring since the college has followed a university-style structure for several years. “For much of the past decade, we have operated under a university model in that we have had separate schools headed by deans and have offered graduate programs,” he said. “This change in designation solidifies that reputation.”
Shorter, recognized as Rome’s oldest institution of higher learning, was founded in 1873. Luther Rice Gwaltney, pastor of the Rome Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church), led members of his congregation in the establishment of an institution to educate “the daughters of the Cherokee area.” The Cherokee Baptist Female College, as it was then known, enrolled 124 students in its first year. The college was situated on Shelton Hill, three acres in the heart of downtown Rome which had been purchased for $7,500. Among the influential leaders of the church who were also advocates for the college were Alfred and Martha Shorter. In 1877, the Shorters made a generous donation of approximately $20,000 to the college and were honored by having the institution named in their honor.
By 1910, Shorter had outgrown its downtown location and was moved to its current location at 315 Shorter Avenue.
Today, Shorter enrolls more than 3,000 students who study on four campuses in Rome, North Atlanta, Gwinnett and Riverdale. In addition to traditional programs, the college offers undergraduate degree programs for working adults, master’s level education, as well as online classes. Beginning in the fall of 2010, Shorter will officially open its School of Nursing which offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Academic-related international study opportunities are a top priority at Shorter, which has partnerships with dozens of institutions on six continents. A total of 20.8 percent of May 2009 traditional student graduates had studied abroad during their time at Shorter.
Shorter also offers opportunities for involvement through campus life and intercollegiate athletic programs. Shorter’s student-athletes compete in 20 intercollegiate sports, including men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s wrestling as its newest additions, and have claimed five national championships and numerous conference championships in recent years.