Oglethorpe University has been educating so long, it had to be closed in observance of the Civil War, but it survived to continue its mission of creating a community of “characterized by civility, caring, inquiry, and tolerance”. Established in 1835 near the capital of Georgia (Milledgeville at the time), it was moved along with the capital to Atlanta, going through a turbulent period for many years including another closing (financial reasons), a re-chartering, a drop to college status, a re-rise to full university designation, and dropping ties with the Presbyterian church it was founded by. However, Oglethorpe today stands as a monument to education, routinely ranked as one of the top Southeastern schools by the Princeton Review and bringing in students from 34 states and 36 countries.
With a student population of over 1000 seeking liberal arts backed degrees from a large urban city school, but with a small college feel, Oglethorpe students are exposed to the best of both college worlds. With an emphasis on “intellectual curiosity, individual attention… and active learning in relevant field experience”, the university looks to provide a solid academic base to create “energetic and intelligent contributors in a rapidly changing world”. With a faculty ranked 15th in the nation and noted for working closely with students (both in class and in research, as Atlanta offers many opportunities), Oglethorpe gives guidance and hands on experience to Bachelor seekers, as well as to their evening adult programs and even a Master’s course of study.
The university currently offers traditional undergraduate programs in 29 different majors, primarily in the areas of teacher education, business administration, and biology. There is no online learning offered at Oglethorpe, so degree seekers are largely residential, but those seeking a B.A. or B.S. often come from all around to this southern gem. Programs like Fresh Focus, that utilizes upper classmen and faculty to provide a humanities credit course for incoming freshman as a type of orientation, and tutoring/mentoring through the Academic Resource Center make all students feel at home right away.
For adults, there is a Master program offered at Oglethorpe, with a Master of Art in Teaching – Early Childhood Education course that allows traditional (again, no online degrees) learning for career advancement in education. There is also an evening degree program offered in six different majors of study, with Bachelors offered to working adults looking to increase their education. Sessions begin every 8 weeks and utilize evenings and weekends to bring in as many adult learners as possible. Courses of study include a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and even include a 6 ½ week programs over the summer.
Summer at Oglethorpe is also big, not only for students, but for the community. The university houses Georgia’s Shakespeare at their Conant Performing Arts Center, offers open courses to the community free of charge (yoga to ballroom dancing), offers creditable courses to students (both those attending Oglethorpe and others just seeking college credit while on break), and offers four different summer sessions to students looking for a “jump start on course before Fall”.
Surviving all these years through a commitment to education, Oglethorpe University continues to turn out the “intellectually curious” leaders of tomorrow.