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University of Tennessee

Blount College and the University of Tennessee

Following is a portion of the act which became a law September 10, 1794, as referred to above: "Whereas, The legislature of this territory are disposed to promote the happiness of the people at large, and especially of the rising generation, by instituting seminaries of education, where youth may be habituated to an amiable, moral and virtuous conduct, and accurately instructed in the various branches of useful science, and in the principles of ancient and modern languages; therefore,

Section I. Be it enacted by the governor, legislative council, and house of representatives of the territory of the United States, south of the River Ohio, That the Rev Samuel Carrick, president, and his Excellency William Blount, the Hon Daniel Smith, secretary of the territory, the Hon David Campbell, the Hon Joseph Anderson, Gen John Sevier, Col James White, Col Alexander Kelley, Col William Cocke, Willie Blount, Joseph Hamilton, Archibald Roane, Francis A Ramsey, Charles McClung, George Roulstone, George McNutt, John Adair, and Robert Houston, Esquires, shall be and they are hereby declared to be a body politic and corporate by the name of the president and trustees of Blount College, in the vicinity of Knoxville. This college was declared open to all denominations in the following language.


" And the trustees shall take effectual care that students of all denominations may and shall be admitted to the equal advantages of a liberal education and to the emoluments and honors of the college and that they shall receive alike fair generous and equal treatment during their residence"

This clause is especially noteworthy because of the fact that it was the first legislation of the kind, establishing as it did a non-sectarian college in the United States. It is also noteworthy because of the fact that such legislation is now almost universally mentioned with commendation, as it tends to develop the minds of youth without bias on subjects connected with religion. Most of the state institutions of learning are now on the same basis. For the use of the trustees of this new college Col James White donated the town square upon which now stand the First Baptist Church and the Mechanics National Bank, and near the northwest corner of this square was erected a two story frame building, the money to pay for which being raised by subscription, and the school was opened as soon as pupils enough could be enrolled. (Source: Standard History of Knoxville, Tennessee: edited by William Rule, George Frederick Mellen, John Wooldridge, Lewis Publishing Company, 1900,p. 345-346, available on Google Books)


In 1807, the school was rechartered as East Tennessee College as a condition of receiving the proceeds from the settlement devised in the Compact of 1806.


When Samuel Carrick, its first president and only faculty member, died in 1809, the school was closed until 1820.

From 1820 until 1825, the Reverend David Sherman, who was the principal of Hamden-Sydney, served as president.

From 1825 to 1827, the college was again without a president and it was during this interval, in 1826 that the trustees obtained permission to change the location of the institution, purchasing of Pleasant M Miller for $600, the present site of the University of Tennessee which site was then known as Barbara Hill, named in honor of Barbara Blount, daughter of Governor Blount. Upon this hill, the trustees proceeded to erect the center college building and three one story dormitories in the rear of the college, all in such positions as to form a square of the campus. (Rule)

In 1840, the college became East Tennessee University.

In 1853, the start of school was delayed due to faculty resignations.

In September of 1854, the start of the September session was delayed due to a cholera outbreak in Knoxville.

The school was closed, yet again, during the Civil War.

On February 28, 1867, Congress passed a special Act making the State of Tennessee eligible to participate in the Morrill Act of 1862 program and nn January 1869, ETU was designated as Tennessee's recipient of the Land-Grant designation and fund.

East Tennessee University became the   in 1879.