About Freed-Hardeman University
One of the best qualities of a Freed-Hardeman education is the small class size. Find out more about what sets us apart.
The architectural centerpiece of campus, Old Main was designed by famous local architect Hubert McGee, and is home to the University's famous Bell Tower.
During a 1939 women's Bible class, Presidents W. Claude Hall and N. B. Hardeman sit in a rare relaxed pose. Hall achieved national recognition for Freed-Hardeman by aligning our curriculum with national collegiate standards. Hardeman visited congregations to build church support and increased the school's emphasis on Bible teaching. As students look on admiringly, both men are captured in their element: teaching the Bible.
Freed-Hardeman University is a private institution, associated with churches of Christ, dedicated to moral and spiritual values, academic excellence, and service in a friendly, supportive environment. The purpose of the university is to provide every student an undergraduate or graduate education permeated with these Christian values.
In accomplishing its purpose, the university pursues the following three aims:
Freed-Hardeman provides higher education with a Christian perspective:
• by recognizing the Bible as the inspired and authoritative Word of God
• by presenting Jesus, the Christ, as the model for personal behavior,
• by viewing each person as a special creation of God, possessing an everlasting soul, with ultimate accountability to God,
• by promoting racial harmony, religious unity, and respect for individual differences through Christian love and biblical teaching, and
• by offering programs, activities, and worship opportunities that strengthen the university community.
Freed-Hardeman provides educational opportunities through excellent undergraduate and graduate programs:
• by employing a qualified, caring Christian faculty,
• by teaching students to be critical thinkers who communicate effectively,
• by offering a balanced education in the liberal arts and sciences as well as specialization in a chosen discipline,
• by offering academic enrichment opportunities to strengthen individual students,
• by equipping students for advanced study and career challenges, and
• by instilling in students a lasting desire for learning.
Freed-Hardeman provides service to the individual, home, church, community, and world:
• by facilitating spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical growth,
• by recognizing the home as the basic unit of society and helping students develop skills for healthy Christian families,
• by encouraging students to love the church and preparing them for active service in a local congregation,
• by offering programs to strengthen and encourage growth of the church, and
• by teaching students to become effective citizens of the local and world communities.
Freed-Hardeman University traces its origin to the 1869 charter of a private high school and college for Henderson. The first recorded school in Henderson was taught in the latter half of the 1860s in a frame house located on the property where Hall-Roland Hall and the Old Main Administration Building now stand. It was last headed by A. S. Sayle. The Tennessee legislature, on November 30, 1869, incorporated the Henderson Male and Female Institute in an act which authorized the institute to offer high school and college courses of study and to confer degrees. In 1870, the school opened in a two-story frame building on what is now known as the Milan-Sitka property, where it operated for 15 years. In March of 1877, the legislature changed the name to the Henderson Masonic Male and Female Institute, the nominal term Masonic having come into use earlier. Beginning in 1871, Prof. George M. Savage managed the school, and John Bunyan Inman taught and served as principal for ten years. H. G. Savage was chairman of the faculty while his son, George M. Savage, was away during part of this era.
In August of 1885, the charter of the institute was amended to change the name to West Tennessee Christian College and to change somewhat the membership of the board of trustees. On the first Monday in October, the college opened with J. B. Inman as its president. President Inman died in 1889, and G. A. Lewellen was elected president. Lewellen resigned in 1893, and C. H. Duncan was elected to succeed him. In 1895, Arvy Glenn Freed, an alumnus of Valparaiso University in Indiana who had become, in 1889, the first president of Southern Tennessee Normal College at Essary Springs, Tennessee, became president of West Tennessee Christian College. The name of the college was changed to Georgie Robertson Christian College in 1897. In 1902, Ernest C. McDougle became co-president with Freed, and when Freed resigned in 1905, McDougle continued as president until the college closed at the end of the spring term in 1907.
On May 21, 1907, the National Teachers’ Normal and Business College was incorporated. Construction of the Administration Building began that fall, and the college opened in the fall of 1908 with A.G. Freed as president and N. B. Hardeman, who had studied and taught at Georgie Robertson Christian College, as vice president. The college was renamed for them in 1919. In February of 1990, it became Freed-Hardeman University.