King University

King University (formerly King College) is a private Presbyterian university in Bristol, Tennessee. Founded in 1867, King is independently governed with covenant affiliations to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).

King University
Ecclesiae et Litteris
Motto in English
For the Church and For Learning
Religious affiliation
Endowment$37 million[1]
PresidentAlexander W. Whitaker IV
Students2,920 (2015-16 Academic Year)
Location, ,
United States

36°35′13″N 82°09′32″W / 36.587°N 82.159°W / 36.587; -82.159Coordinates: 36°35′13″N 82°09′32″W / 36.587°N 82.159°W / 36.587; -82.159
Campus135 wooded acres (0.55 km2 (0.21 sq mi))
ColorsBlue and Red
NicknameThe Tornado
AffiliationsNCAA Division II, Conference Carolinas
MascotTwister the Lion


In April 1866, the Holston Presbytery assembled at the old Pleasant Grove Church in Bristol, Tenn., to establish a Christian college. The College was built on 25 acres (100,000 m2) of land in Bristol that had been donated by Reverend James King, in whose honor it is named.[2] The first classes were offered in August 1867.[3]

When the college outgrew its small campus, King's grandson Isaac Anderson donated land on a hillside east of Bristol and in 1917 the college moved to its present location.[3]

In January 2013, King College announced that it would change its name to King University.[4] The name change reflects the master's-level, comprehensive benchmark that King has reached in recent years. Becoming a university was the natural unfolding of King's strategic plan, unveiled in 1998, to create an even broader mix of programs based on a university model. On June 1, 2013, King College officially became King University.

In December 2013, King University was granted a Level V designation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), after a two-year application and review process. As a result, King University began its first doctoral program, a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, in Fall 2014.[5]


The King University campus is located on 135 acres (55 ha) approximately 1.7 miles (2.7 km) from downtown Bristol, Tennessee. All main buildings on campus are brick and of Georgian-style architecture.[3] King University also has three additional Tennessee campuses located in Kingsport and Knoxville. There are 10 additional instructional locations across Southwest Virginia and Tennessee.[6]

View of the King University campus from a nearby road
The new Student Center at King University

Accreditation and membershipsEdit

King University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)[7]

King is a member of numerous associations, including the Appalachian College Association (ACA), the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).[8]


King University offers more than 80 undergraduate majors, minors and pre-professional programs. Several professional studies programs are offered for working professionals and most programs are available in face-to-face and online formats. King also offers four graduate programs: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Master of Education (MEd), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).


King University is organized into six schools:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Peeke School of Christian Mission
  • School of Health and Professional Sciences
  • School of Business, Economics and Technology
  • School of Education
  • School of Nursing


  • E.W. King Library (main campus): The E.W. King library contains a collection of over 140,000 items and is located on the north side of the campus Oval.[9]
  • Kingsport Information Resource Center: This center serves the College's students who attend classes in Kingsport, TN, and the surrounding area.[10]
  • Knoxville Learning Center: This center serves the College's Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS) students who attend classes in Knoxville, TN, and the surrounding area.[10]


King employs more than 80 full-time faculty members and has a student:faculty ratio of 13:1.[11]


The Core Curriculum of King University underwent its last major revision by the faculty during Spring, 2009. The Core is composed of a Common Experience, four semester hours of courses that all tradition undergraduates must take at the college, and General Education, thirty-eight hours of courses that span the traditional liberal arts.[12]

Experience DCEdit

As part of the University's First Year Experience Program, each year the entire freshman class travels to Washington, D.C. for an experiential learning trip known as Experience DC. During the trip, students visit offices of legislators, national museums, international organizations, art galleries and various public venues. Participants are challenged to explore their views on the arts, religion, varying cultures and issues facing humankind. The trip also helps students examine career options.[13]

Student lifeEdit

Student governmentEdit

The Student Government Association is the formal representative entity for the student body, consisting of elected executive officers (President and Vice President) and a Senate representing each class (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior). The SGA serves as the voice of the students to the board of trustees, administration, faculty, and staff. The SGA also charters, funds, and oversees other student organizations.

Student organizationsEdit

Academic organizations include: STEA-KE (Education), History & Political Science Society, Psy Chi Honors Society, Forensic Science Club, Marketing Club, Finance Club, ENACTUS (formerly SIFE), and a collegiate chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Performing arts-related organizations include: Collegium Musicum (Chamber Choir), Symphonic Choir, Men's Ensemble (All the King's Men), Women's Ensemble (Queen's of King), Jazz/Gospel Choir, Symphonic Band, 250 Jazz (Combo Jazz Ensemble - plays at basketball games occasionally), Chapel Band, and The King University Players (K.U.P.)

General interest organizations include: Alpha Phi Omega, the Newman Club, a collegiate chapter of the International Justice Mission, the International Student Organization, College Republicans, College Democrats, TISL, and a computer/video gaming club.

Student Ministry Teams include: The Refreshment Company (a music-based ministry), The Dawn Treaders (a theatrical ministry), and Corps for Christ (a dance ministry).

Student publicationsEdit

Students have the opportunity to work in journalism and publishing. The Kayseean is the student newspaper. The Kayseean transitioned to an online format in 2019. The school's yearbook is The Tornado.

Student activitiesEdit

The Student Life Activities Committee at King (SLACK) is a student group responsible for organizing and executing student activities, under the direction of the Director of Student Life. Events in the past have included: concerts, dances, movies, outdoor adventures (canoeing, caving, ropes courses), overnight trips, International Fair, Oktoberfest, a late night exam breakfast, an end-of-the-year luau, Safe Spring Break promotion, and bingo nights.

A program of intramural sports, called SLACK Sports, is offered to students. Typical sports include: indoor soccer, flag football, volleyball, dodgeball, bowling, and ultimate frisbee. In addition, intramural video game tournaments, Texas Hold'em poker tournaments, chess tournaments, and board game nights are also held throughout the year.

Residence hallsEdit

King's campus offers separate men's and women's residence halls. High-speed internet and cable television are available in the residence halls.

  • Parks Hall: Parks Hall houses women and features a formal parlor, a casual lobby with big screen television as well as kitchenettes, laundry facilities, and a guest room. Parks is the only residence hall that does not have air conditioning.
  • Liston Hall: Liston Hall is a five-story residence hall. The top three floors are generally referred to as Liston Hall. The first subfloor houses women and is referred to as Lower Liston Hall. The second subfloor houses men and is known as the Liston Honors Suites. Liston contains laundry facilities, a guest room, and a central lobby on the main floor. All rooms are air conditioned.
  • Lower Liston Hall: Lower Liston Hall houses women and is located on the first subfloor of Liston Hall. Lower Liston is separated from the men's halls by a series of doors, which are closed at all times, and only accessible in case of emergency. Lower Liston Hall features free laundry facilities, kitchen, and a television lounge. All rooms are air conditioned.
  • Liston Honors Suites: Liston Honors Suites houses men and is located on the lowest level of Liston Hall. Those living in Liston Honors Suites are selected based on GPA, class standing, and personal commitment to upholding college policies. Liston Honors Suites contains free laundry facilities, a common area, and suite style-rooms with semi-private bathrooms. All rooms are air conditioned.
  • Mitchell Hall: Mitchell Hall is a townhouse-style residence hall for students located on the west part of campus. Each of the five units can house either men or women. Mitchell has generally housed women but one or more units housing men have been more common in recent years. Each Mitchell Hall unit has free laundry facilities and a television lounge. All rooms are air conditioned.
  • Hyde Honors Hall: Hyde Hall houses women and offers semi-private bathrooms shared by four suite mates. It contains free laundry facilities, a television lounge, fully equipped kitchen, and a formal lobby. Those living in Hyde are selected based on GPA, class standing, and personal commitment to upholding university policies.


Men's intercollegiate teams compete in baseball, basketball, cross-country, cycling, golf, soccer, track and field, swimming/diving, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.

Women's intercollegiate teams compete in acrobatics/tumbling, basketball, cheerleading/dance, cross-country, cycling, golf, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.

The university is a member of NCAA-Division II and Conference Carolinas.[14]

The university was, at one time a member of the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) and was previously a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference of the NAIA.

University nicknameEdit

The university nickname, the Tornado, was adopted in 1922 following a 206-0 football win over North Carolina rival Lenoir College (now Lenoir-Rhyne).[15] The local newspaper covering the event wrote the headline "King College's Victory Was 'Tornado' Of Week's Games" and began referring to the football team as the "Tornado".[16] This is a record score which stands in the annals of collegiate football as one of the highest ever won on the gridiron.[17]

University mascotEdit

Twister, a lion, was unveiled as the University's new mascot on September 2, 2011. Twister is a fearless lion that represents the determination and courage reflected in King's adventure as a NCAA Division II institution. Equipped with his King colors of navy blue and scarlet red, Twister dons the number 11 on his back while rallying those in Tornado Athletics and the King University community.[18]

Spiritual lifeEdit

Students have many opportunities to explore Christian beliefs and spiritual traditions. Opportunities abound with chapel, the King Institute for Faith and Culture, Christian ministry groups, and service projects. Each year, student teams also travel nationally and internationally for a range of mission and study abroad trips.

All traditional King students are required to obtain fourteen chapel, convocation, or community service credit hours per semester.


Chapel is held every Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. and led by the Chaplain.[19]

The King University Institute for Faith and CultureEdit

Inaugurated in 2008 and dedicated to the work and example of Frederick Buechner, the Buechner Institute at King University explored the relationship between faith and culture. In 2015, after the death of Dr. Dale Brown, founding director, and at the request of the Buechner Literary Assets, LLC, the Buechner Institute became the King Institute for Faith and Culture.[20] The King Institute for Faith and Culture is a continuation of conversations between faith, art, and culture started by the Buechner Institute.

The King Institute for Faith and Culture sponsors on-campus convocations (generally on Mondays at 9:15 a.m.) as well as evening lectures either on campus or in community venues, that feature speakers from a variety of backgrounds to examine the ways in which faith informs art and public life and cultivate conversation about what faith has to do with books, politics, social discourse, music, visual arts, and more.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-14. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Page 243 in Higher education in Tennessee, by Lucius Salisbury Merriam, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1893.
  3. ^ a b c "King College: History of King College". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  4. ^ COURIER |, ROGER BROWN | BRISTOL HERALD. "King College to become King University". maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-02. Retrieved 2015-02-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "King University: Education Centers". Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  7. ^ "Commission on Colleges".
  8. ^ "Council for Christian Colleges & Universities". CCCU. May 9, 2019.
  9. ^ "Library: About the Library". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  10. ^ a b "Library: Knoxville Library". 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  11. ^ "King University: Fast Facts". King University. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  12. ^ "King College: Core Curriculum". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  13. ^ "Discover King: Experience D.C". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ Bristol Herald Courier: Sunday, October 22, 1922
  16. ^ Bristol Herald Courier: Monday, October 23, 1922
  17. ^ "Why Tornado?". King University.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2012-08-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Discover King: Chapel & Convocation". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  20. ^ "King's Buechner Institute changes name". Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  21. ^ "Patricia Cornwell – novelist, forensics expert, heart of gold".
  22. ^ "Salem Press". Salem Press. Archived from the original on 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  23. ^ "Cylk Cozart - Biography". IMDb. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Meet the N.A.I.A.'s - Mike Helton - NAIA OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  25. ^ "Chad Keen for Bristol, TN City Council". Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  26. ^ "LAIRD, William Ramsey, III - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  27. ^ "Representatives - TN General Assembly". 1984-02-21. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  28. ^ Angled Vector. "Katherine Paterson - About the Author". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  29. ^ [2]
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit