Jerry Summers: University Of Nashville

Monday, May 23, 2022 - by Jerry Summers

The family tree of education in the state capitol has many branches but the base is fully entrenched with the establishment of Cumberland College (CC) in 1826 which evolved into the University of Nashville (UN).

An Act of the Tennessee Legislature that year changed the name of the institution from CC to UN.

Educational institutions in existence in the modern era that can trace their origin back to the school include the prestigious Montgomery Bell Academy, the Vanderbilt University Medical School, and Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.

Famous and (infamous) individuals that have been affiliated with at least one of the founding schools include the confederate generals Gideon Pillow, Bushrod Johnson, and E.

Kirby Smith.

A young man by the name of Sam Davis had attended the Western Military Institute that later merged with the University of Nashville.

Davis was later called “the boy hero of the Confederacy,” after being hanged by Union forces as a spy.

Nashville industrialist Montgomery Bell had left the sum of $20,000 upon his death in 1867 to start a boys’ preparatory school in his name.  His namesake educational institution would later take over the Western Military Institute and the University of Nashville school and merged all three into one unit. 

Due to financial necessity several other changes would take place over the years.A medical school would become part of Vanderbilt University in 1874, the George Peabody College for Teachers was created in 1909 and became a part of Vanderbilt University in 1979.

Under the original umbrella of the University of Nashville, the growing metropolitan area of Nashville in Davidson County, Tennessee has grown to include about 20 colleges that include 18 private colleges and universities, 1 public college or university, and 1 two-year community college.

As the population in Middle Tennessee continues to explode further expansion of the above educational institutions are anticipated.

Nashville’s reputation as the Athens of the South was primarily acquired based on its educational instruction to young men (fortunately that privilege has been extended to all other segments of the population.)

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Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)

 


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