Bryan College

Bryan College is a private Christian liberal arts college in Dayton, Tennessee. It was founded in the aftermath of the 1925 Scopes Trial to establish an institution of higher education that would teach from a Christian worldview.

Bryan College
Bryan College Logo (resized).jpg
Bryan College logo
Former names
William Jennings Bryan University (1930–1958), William Jennings Bryan College (1958–1993)
Motto"Christ Above All"
AffiliationChristian, (no denominational affiliation]]
Endowment$6 million
PresidentDouglas F. Mann
Academic staff
204 (48 full-time)
Administrative staff
169 (131 full-time)
Other students
Location, ,
United States

35°29′51″N 84°59′57″W / 35.497574°N 84.999139°W / 35.497574; -84.999139Coordinates: 35°29′51″N 84°59′57″W / 35.497574°N 84.999139°W / 35.497574; -84.999139
CampusSmall town
ColorsRed and gold    
AffiliationsAppalachian College Association, Association of Christian Schools International, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association


During the Scopes Trial in 1925, William Jennings Bryan expressed the wish that a school might be established in Dayton, Tennessee, "to teach truth from a Biblical perspective".[1] On July 26, 1925, he died in his sleep in Dayton, five days after the trial ended.[2] Following his death, a national memorial association was formed to establish such an institution in Bryan's honor.

William Jennings Bryan University was chartered in 1930. Its stated purpose was to provide “for the purpose of establishing, conducting and perpetuating a university for the higher education of men and women under auspices distinctly Christian and spiritual, as a testimony to the supreme glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Divine inspiration and infallibility of the Bible,”[3] In 1958, it was designated William Jennings Bryan College, and the name was shortened to Bryan College in 1993.[4]


  • George E. Guille (1930–1931)
  • Malcolm M. Lockhart (1931–1933)
  • Judson A. Rudd (1933–1955)
  • Theodore C. Mercer (1956–1986)
  • Kenneth G. Hanna (1986–1992)
  • William E. Brown (1993–2003)
  • Stephen D. Livesay (2003–2020)
  • Douglas Mann (2020-)[5]


The Bryan College campus is located in Dayton, Tennessee and sits on a 128 acre hilltop.[6] The campus is within walking distance to downtown Dayton and the historic Rhea County Courthouse.

Bryan College's campus consists of 6 public buildings, 5 resident halls, and 12 townhouses.[7] The newest addition to the campus, The Stophel Welcome Center, opened on October 4, 2019. The Stophel Center is a two-story building that encompasses 18,000 square feet. The building is home to 25 offices including Admissions, Advancement, Marketing and Executive Offices, as well as a banquet facility.[8]

In the fall of 2000, the administration building was greatly damaged by a fire that spread to its third floor, but has since been repaired.[9]

Its association with the Scopes Trial has led to its addition as a stop along the Southeast Tennessee Religious Trail.[10]

As of 2019, Bryan College has an on-campus physical therapy clinic.[11] Omni Rehab is located on the first floor of Mercer Hall.[12]


Bryan offers associate degrees, bachelor's degrees in 20 majors with over 60 distinct options,[13] and three master's degrees: the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Arts in Christian Studies, and the Master of Education.[14] 77% of their professors hold terminal degrees in their fields of study.[15] Bryan College also has over 26 different minors[16] available to students with varying interests. Minors include Biblical Studies, Business Administration, Leadership studies, and Theater.[16]

The Adult and Graduate Studies programs are designed for adult learners to attend school part-time. Students can earn degrees online and onsite, and options include associate degrees, as well as bachelor's and master's degrees.[17]

In February 2018, Bryan College announced the opening of The Vogel School of Engineering, enabling students to obtain an undergraduate degree in mechanical or civil engineering options.[18]

Accreditation and rankingEdit

Bryan has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1969.[19]

Bryan ranks 71st in the U.S. News & World Report for Regional Universities in the South as of the 2019 rankings.[20] In 2015, the college ranked 22nd[21] and was formerly ranked 4th among the "Up and Coming" institutions in its category by the same publisher in 2012.


Bryan College is a member of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA),[22] the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA),[23] the Appalachian College Association (ACA),[24] and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).[25]

Statement of belief and academic freedomEdit

In February 2014, college administrators supplemented the original statement of belief, which is included in the employment contract of professors, with the declaration that Adam and Eve "are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms." Hundreds of students, including the vice president of student government, opposed the change. They petitioned trustees and several professors left the institution.[26]

The same month, the faculty voted 30-2 "no confidence" in the college president, Stephen Livesay.[27]

Two tenured faculty had their contracts terminated after refusing to agree to the revised statement of belief, and filed a lawsuit against the college in May 2014. The college settled out of court in October 2014.[28]

The college cut 20 staff members in May 2014, claiming dwindling enrollment. Two months later, five members of the board of trustees resigned in response to the controversy. The following year, Livesay instituted procedural rules that faculty members claimed made it extremely difficult for them to hold meetings.[27][29]


Bryan College athletic teams, nicknamed athletically as the Lions, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC).[30] Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, fishing, volleyball, and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, fishing, golf, soccer, softball, track & field, and volleyball.

Fine artsEdit

The Music Department [31] offers seven distinct Bachelor of Science Degrees: Church Music, Musical Theatre, Music Education: Instrumental, Music Education: Vocal, Performance, and Piano Pedagogy.


Bryan Life is the college's alumni magazine and is published twice a year.[32] Illumine is a publication of the Bryan Institute for Critical Thought and Practice.[33] E-Lumine is an e-newsletter for alumni and friends of Bryan, and is published each month except July.[34] The Triangle is a bi-weekly student newspaper containing articles and stories written by Bryan College students. It also includes stats and updates on the college's sports teams. It is available in electronically.[35] In 2012, President Stephen Livesay prevented a student news story from being run, which revealed the coverup of the arrest of a faculty member.[36] In 2015, the Vice President of Academics imposed censorship restrictions on the Triangle.[29] Students are required to get approval from the current faculty advisor in order to run any stories.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "College History". Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  2. ^ "Great Commoner Bryan dies in sleep, apoplexy given as cause of death". UPI. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  3. ^ iPad iPhone Android TIME TV Populist The Page (1930-08-18). "Education: Bryan University". TIME. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  4. ^ From the Heart of a Lion: Thoughts from the Spiritual Journey of the Bryan College Family (Dayton, TN: Bryan College Press, 2000) p. 367.
  5. ^ "Bryan College Announces Dr. Douglas Mann as Next President". Bryan College. 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  6. ^ "About Bryan". Bryan College. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  7. ^ "Housing". Bryan College. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  8. ^ "Stophel Center Grand Opening Set for Oct. 4". Bryan College. 2019-09-30. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  9. ^ "Bryan College settles for $11 million, commemorates anniversary of 'The Fire'". The Herald-News. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  10. ^ "Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association". Archived from the original on 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  11. ^ "Omni Rehab". Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  12. ^ "Omni Rehab Opens Bryan College Location". Bryan College. 2019-08-16. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  13. ^ Programs offered at Bryan College Archived June 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Graduate Programs". Archived from the original on 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  15. ^ "Faculty". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  16. ^ a b "Minors". Bryan College. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  17. ^ "Adult and Graduate Studies Programs". Archived from the original on 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  18. ^ "Bryan College Vogel School of Engineering Announced". Bryan College. 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  19. ^ "Commission on Colleges". Retrieved 2019-02-25.
  20. ^ "Bryan College - Profile, Rankings and Data | US News Best Colleges (2019)". Retrieved 2019-02-25.
  21. ^ "Regional College South Rankings | Top Regional Colleges South | US News Best Colleges". Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  22. ^ "TICUA". TICUA. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  23. ^ "Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (2012)". CHEA. 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  24. ^ "Appalachian College Association – Member Institutions". Archived from the original on 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  25. ^ "ACSI". ACSI. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  26. ^ Alan Binder (May 20, 2014). "Bryan College Is Torn: Can Darwin and Eden Coexist?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  27. ^ a b Kendi Anderson (October 11, 2015). "Professors, president clash at Bryan College". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  28. ^ Kendi Anderson (October 8, 2014). "Bryan College, professors settle lawsuit". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  29. ^ a b Scott Jaschik (October 12, 2015). "Bryan College Restricts Faculty Meetings". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  30. ^ Appalachian Athletic Conference
  31. ^ "Music (B.S.)". Bryan College. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
  32. ^ "Bryan Life – Fall 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  33. ^ "Illumine". Archived from the original on 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  34. ^ "e-Lumine Newsletter". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  35. ^ "Triangle". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  36. ^ "Student Press Law Center | After college spikes story on professor's arrest, student editor publishes it himself". Student Press Law Center. 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2020-04-27.

External linksEdit