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Oglethorpe University is a private liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgiamarker, United Statesmarker. It was chartered in 1835 and named after James Edward Oglethorpe, the state's founder.


Oglethorpe College was originally chartered in 1835 in Midwaymarker, just south of the city of Milledgevillemarker, then the state capital. The school was built and, at that time, governed by the Presbyterian Church, making it one of the South's earliest denominational institutions. The American Civil War led to the school's closing from 1862 to 1866.

The college followed the relocation of the capital to Atlanta. In 1870, it began holding classes at the present site of Atlanta City Hall. Plagued by financial difficulties, however, the school closed its doors two years later.

Oglethorpe College was re-chartered as a non-denominational institution in 1913. In 1915 the cornerstone to the new campus was laid at its present location on Peachtree Road in Atlanta. The person behind rebuilding Oglethorpe was Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, whose grandfather, Professor Ferdinand Jacobs, had served on the faculty of Old Oglethorpe. Jacobs would serve as president for nearly three decades.

Oglethorpe University became Oglethorpe College in 1965, and reclaimed the designation "university" several years later. Many of Oglethorpe's campus buildings were built in a distinctive Gothic revival architecture style. This area of the campus is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


In December 2007, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) placed the university on Warning for twelve months, pending a report on its financial operations. At its meeting in December 2008, SACS continued the university's Warning status for an additional twelve months.

While a number of the issues flagged in 2007 were resolved, the university has been asked to continue to demonstrate a history of financial strength and submit an additional report in 2009. Oglethorpe's academic programs remain fully accredited.

Oglethorpe University's Coat of Arms

Oglethorpe's collegiate coat-of-arms is emblazoned with three boars' heads and the inscription Nescit Cedere, meaning "He does not know how to give up."

Points of interest

The Conant Performing Arts Center, completed in 1997, serves as the permanent home of Georgia Shakespeare.

Oglethorpe University Museum of Art
The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art on the top floor of historic Lowry Hall also has achieved renown for a series of shows on far eastern art.

In 1994, Lupton Hall, Phoebe Hearst Hall, Lowry Hall and Hermance Stadium were added to the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, a historic district including part or all of the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Oglethorpe University is home to the Crypt of Civilization, the first and most complete time capsule ever created, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Scheduled to be opened in 8113, it is located in the basement of Phoebe Hearst Hall.

Oglethorpe University is home to the International Time Capsule Society, a repository of time capsule projects worldwide.

Greek Life

Chi Phi
Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Alpha Sigma Tau
Chi Omega
Sigma Sigma Sigma

Events and traditions

Oglethorpe Day
Early February. Campus events celebrate the anniversary of James Oglethorpe's founding of the colony of Georgia. The annual "Petrels of Fire" race, an homage to Trinity Collegemarker's Great Court Runmarker portrayed in the movie Chariots of Fire, features students attempting to run the perimeter of the Academic Quad before the Lupton Hall belltower finishes its noon chimes.

Boar's Head
Omicron Delta Kappa initiates during Oglethorpe's Boar's Head Ceremony
First Friday of December. Modeled after the Boar's Head Gaudy of Queen's Collegemarker, Oxfordmarker, Boar's Head is the traditional start to the Christmas season at Oglethorpe. Festivities include a concert featuring the University Singers, other student organizations and performers from the community, as well as the lighting of the University's Christmas tree. Newly initiated members of Omicron Delta Kappa receive recognition and, as a rite of initiation, kiss the ceremonial boar's head.

Battle of Bloody Marsh
The "battle" is a tug-of-war between a student team and a faculty–staff team, organized by the student government's programming board, that takes place in the fall on the Academic Quad. The name refers to the 1742 battle in which the forces of General Oglethorpe defeated the Spanish troops in South Georgia.

Eggs AM Breakfast
Occurs both fall and spring semesters on the Tuesday Dead Day before finals start the next day. Faculty members cook up a delicious breakfast of eggs, pancakes, bacon and hash-browns for the students. The students attend at 9 pm and thoroughly enjoy their faculty-cooked free meal and take a little time off between study sessions.

Carillon Ceremony
In the week before graduation, seniors are invited to climb the Lupton Hall belltower to ring a carillon bell in celebration of their academic achievements in an event sponsored by the alumni office.


Women's Basketball at Oglethorpe
Thornwell Jacobs chose an unusual mascot to represent Oglethorpe's athletic teams. The university's mascot is the Stormy Petrel, a seabird said to have been admired by James Oglethorpe for its hardiness and courage. It is the only bird known to fly into a hurricane; the oil on its wings provides a coating against the harsh winds and rain.

In March 2002, ESPN's David Lloyd named the Stormy Petrel as one of the most memorable college mascot names of all time, second only to the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruzmarker.

The university offers NCAA Division III competition in 14 sports, and competes as a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The school's most successful athletic program is its men's golf team, which is perennially among the nation's best. It finished fourth in Division III in 2006 and actually won the national NCAA title in 2009.

Oglethorpe's historic Hermance Stadium is also used by the St. Pius X baseball team and the Atlanta Blue Jays Baseball Club.


  • Carillon, alumni magazine
  • The Stormy Petrel, student newspaper.
  • Yamacraw, yearbook. Its name comes from Yamacraw Bluff, the landing site of James Oglethorpe's 1733 colonial expedition.
  • The Tower, literary magazine
  • The Oglethorpe Night Cap, evening degree program newsletter

Notable alumni

  • Douglass Alexander, class of 1968; president of the fundraising consulting firm Alexander, Haas, Martin & Partners. Firm lead the fundraising efforts that brought the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta. Has appeared on Georgia Trend's list of most influential Georgians.
  • Luke Appling, member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Famemarker; class of 1932.
  • Bobby Baker, class of 1979; Georgia Public Service Commissioner.
  • Jocelyn Baker, class of 1991; Director of Communications for MARTA.
  • Samuel Earl Blackwell, class of 1929; founder of Celebrity Services, Inc.
  • Jazz musician John G. Blowers, Jr.; former drummer for Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band.
  • Josh Caray, class of 2004; Play by play for South Atlantic League Rome Braves.
  • Sidney Lanier, class of 1860; poet of post-Civil War era.
  • Benjamin M. Palmer, class of 1852; first national moderator of Presbyterian Church, based in New Orleansmarker.
  • Vincent Sherman, class of 1925; acclaimed Hollywood film director with more than 30 movies to his credit, including Mr. Skeffington (1944) and The Young Philadelphians (1959).
  • Susan Soper, class of 1969; executive editor of Atlanta INTown magazine; former features editor, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Charles Longstreet Weltner, class of 1948; former U.S. representative, Georgia Supreme Court Justice and recipient of the Profiles in Courage Award.

References in popular culture

External links



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