Lincoln Memorial University to Celebrate 125 Years in 2022

From Four Seasons to New Seasons

125th SealFebruary 12, 2022, will mark the 125th anniversary of Lincoln Memorial University’s (LMU) charter and founding on February 12, 1897. LMU has planned a year of special programming and events in honor of its quasquicentennial.

Throughout 2022 LMU will celebrate “Four Seasons to New Seasons.” The theme highlights the University’s humble beginnings on the grounds of the then-defunct Four Seasons Hotel which opened with a grand ball in 1892. The luxurious vacation destination in Harrogate, Tennessee, included a 700-room hotel and 200-bed sanitarium. A year later, the enterprise was failing. The property and buildings were sold in 1895 and promptly liquidated.

Reverend A.A. Myers had come to the area to run the Harrow Academy and in 1896 invited Civil War General Oliver Otis Howard to speak at the school’s graduation ceremony. During that visit, Myers shared his vision for an institution of higher education at the site of the old Four Seasons Hotel with Howard, who was influential in the founding of as many as 70 schools and colleges. One such was Howard University, named in his honor, which he also served as president from 1869 to 1874. Howard recalled a conversation he had with President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, where Lincoln observed that the mountain people of East Tennessee were loyal, but often overlooked. Howard recalled Lincoln’s wish to repay the Appalachian people for their loyalty and agreed to assist Myers by building a school that would serve as a living memorial to President Lincoln while providing educational opportunities for underserved populations. Lincoln Memorial University was founded on the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth in 1897, nestled in the Cumberland Gap at the site of the Four Seasons Hotel.

One hundred and twenty-five years later this living memorial to Lincoln can take a student from kindergarten, at the J. Frank White Academy, all the way to a professional degree. The University’s footprint stretches from Corbin, Kentucky, to Tampa, Florida, with online offerings reaching across the country. With an enrollment of over 5,000 students and an economic impact on the region that exceeds $100 million, LMU is fulfilling the mission established by its founders.

The 125th programming will begin in earnest in February. University leaders, alumni and students will join state legislators in Nashville on February 7, for a special proclamation to be read from the House floor. A reception will be held the following day.

Beginning on February 11, the University will host Founders Day of Giving activities, the annual Lincoln Games for students and special Lincoln birthday commemorations at LMU’s Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum (ALLM). The ALLM will offer free admission Friday, February 11 – Sunday, February 13, and will present special programming throughout the weekend and a special behind-the-scenes look at items from the ALLM's vault. The LMU Athletic Department will host a special alumni night for the Lady Railsplitter and Railsplitter basketball games versus Queens on Saturday, February 19. During the games, the LMU Pep Band will debut the new University fight song commissioned to honor the 125th anniversary.

Programming will continue throughout the calendar year with special events, guest lectures, original theatre productions, student poetry contests and a very special Homecoming program. A full calendar of events can be found online.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or email at [email protected].

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