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Oxford College of Emory University

Oxford College
Oxford College logo
Former names
Emory College
Emory University Academy
Emory at Oxford
Motto Cor prudentis possidebit scientiam[1]
Motto in English
The wise heart seeks knowledge [Proverbs 18:15]
Established 1836
Type Private
Parent institution
Emory University
Religious affiliation
Dean Stephen Bowen[2]
Undergraduates 947
Location US
Campus Small Town
Colors Blue and gold
Mascot Screech the Eagle

Oxford College of Emory University, also called Oxford College and originally founded as Emory College, is an American two-year Druid Hills, which is adjacent to Atlanta. During those years, Oxford spent time as a college preparatory school, junior college, four-year college, and finally the two-year Emory liberal arts program known today as Oxford College.

Oxford College has a total enrollment of 947 freshman and sophomore students from a wide variety of religious, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds, including 34 NJCAA Division III sports, with the men's and women's tennis teams winning national championships multiple times.[4]


  • History 1
    • Founding and early history 1.1
      • Literary societies 1.1.1
    • Civil War and Reconstruction 1.2
    • Move to Atlanta 1.3
  • Campus 2
  • Academics 3
    • Faculty 3.1
    • Admissions 3.2
  • Student life 4
    • Residential Life 4.1
    • Activities 4.2
      • Social clubs 4.2.1
      • Student organizations 4.2.2
    • Traditions 4.3
      • Dooley 4.3.1
      • Animals 4.3.2
  • Athletics 5
  • Notable alumni 6
  • In popular culture 7
  • Notes 8
  • Footnotes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Founding and early history

In 1833, the Georgia Methodist Conference began considering establishing a church-sponsored manual labor school where students would combine farm work with a college preparatory curriculum. At the Georgia Methodist Conference in 1834, a preacher known as "Uncle Allen" Turner suggested that Georgia Methodists should develop their own school rather than support Methodist movement, Charles Wesley and John Wesley, had previously attended Oxford University.[10] Because the college and town were built together, many of the town's early residents had contributed to the college's founding and continued to be involved in its daily activities.[11]

On September 17, 1838, two years after its chartering, President Ignatius Few and three faculty members welcomed fifteen freshmen and sophomores into its inaugural class.[5] In order to raise money for maintaining the school, Few began selling lots around the college to local citizens.[8] The founders envisaged a curriculum that would rest squarely on the classics and mathematics, with four years' study of Greek, Latin, and mathematics, and three years' study of the English Bible and the sciences of geography, astronomy, and chemistry. According to historian Henry M. Bullock, the founders intended Emory to be, "in the fullest sense of the term, a Christian college."[12]

Literary societies

A white, columned structure
Phi Gamma Hall, built in 1851, is the oldest structure at Oxford.

Sometime in 1837, a year before the inaugural class of students were officially enrolled, the new student body founded the Phi Gamma literary society on campus.[10] The society adapted a motto: "Scientia et Religio Libertatis Custodes".[13] In 1851, Phi Gamma Hall was constructed and remains the oldest structure still standing on Oxford's campus.[14] A few years later, Phi Gamma decided it needed a rival society to compete with. Consequently, fourteen members withdrew from Phi Gamma to establish Few society, named after Ignatius Few.[13] The facilities and libraries of each debate society were open to members of the rival society. The two halls oppose each other across the quad, and both buildings are variations of two-story Greek Revival structures with temple form designs and columned porticos.[8] Debate topics included the justifiability of war, women's suffrage, the morality of slavery, and prohibition.[13]

In 1850, members of the two literary societies debated whether or not Georgia should

  • Official website
  • Emory University

External links

  • The Emory Traditions, Legacy, and Lore. Atlanta:  
  • The Emory Campus (1912). Emory College Yearbook. 1912. 
  • Bullock, Henry M. (1936). A History of Emory University. Atlanta: Parthenon Press. 
  • Buck, Polly S. (1986). The Blessed Town: Oxford, Georgia, at the Turn of the Century. Chapel Hill: Algonquin.  
  • Carlton, Wilbur A. (1962). In Memory of Old Emory. Atlanta:  
  • English, Thomas H. (1966). Emory University 1915–1965: A Semicentennial History. Atlanta:  
  • Leete, Frederick D. (1948). Methodist Bishops. Nashville: The Methodist Publishing House. 
  • Moon, Joseph C. (2003). An Uncommon Place: Oxford College of Emory University, 1914–2000. Atlanta: Bookhouse Group. 


  1. ^ a b Hauk, Gary. "A Brief History". Archived from the original on October 3, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Faculty Biography, Stephen Bowen".  
  3. ^ a b c "Fast Facts: Admission Profile".  
  4. ^ a b "Oxford College profile".  
  5. ^ a b English 1966, p. 3
  6. ^ a b "Emory History, A Sesquicentennial Timeline: 1833–1978".  
  7. ^ Moon 2003, p. 8
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Oxford Historic District, Newton County, Georgia".  
  9. ^ Bullock 1936, pp. 59
  10. ^ a b Bullock 1936, pp. 57
  11. ^ Buck 1986, p. 5
  12. ^ Bullock 1936, pp. 64
  13. ^ a b c The Emory Campus 1912, pp. 144
  14. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 19
  15. ^ Traditions 2007, p. 3
  16. ^ Traditions 2007, pp. 23
  17. ^ Bullock 1936, pp. 331
  18. ^ Bullock 1936, pp. 149
  19. ^ English 1966, p. 6–9
  20. ^ a b c Traditions 2007, p. 5
  21. ^ a b "Barkley, Alben W.".  
  22. ^ a b Horsfall 1965
  23. ^ a b "In Honor of Dumas Malone".  
  24. ^ Carlton 1962, p. 1
  25. ^ Bullock 1936, pp. 290
  26. ^ Bullock 1936, pp. 291
  27. ^ Pendergrast 2000, pp. 97
  28. ^ Traditions 2007, pp. 51
  29. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 27–8
  30. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 36
  31. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 40–2
  32. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 85
  33. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 110
  34. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 116
  35. ^ a b c d e "Oxford facts".  
  36. ^ "Emory University: Transport".  
  37. ^ Floyd, Michelle (December 18, 2012). "Construction work continues at Oxford College". Newton Citizen. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  38. ^ a b "Recreation at Oxford".  
  39. ^ Urquhart, Kim (January 17, 2014). "Organic farm becomes a reality at Oxford".  
  40. ^ "History & Traditions: Seney Hall, Oxford". Emory Magazine. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  41. ^ a b "Oxford College map".  
  42. ^ "Built in the 19th century, restored for the 21st".  
  43. ^ "Campus Tour, Card Student Center".  
  44. ^ "Future of Oxford Science Rises on the Quad". Emory Magazine. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Theory-Practice Service Learning".  
  46. ^ a b Wooten, Cathy (October 15, 2014). "Oxford Organic Farm grows crops -- and engaged learners".  
  47. ^ "Oxford College General Education Requirements".  
  48. ^ "Jacob wins prestigious prize for science education".  
  49. ^ Wooten, Cathy (April 5, 2010). "Pierce Program Connects Two Oxfords".  
  50. ^ ""Oxford and Emory".  
  51. ^ Plans and Deadlines "Admission Plans and Deadlines" .  
  52. ^ "Admissions profile 2010–11" (PDF).  
  53. ^ "Residence Hall Information".  
  54. ^ "Murdy and Elizer".  
  55. ^ "Living in Haygood".  
  56. ^ a b "Timeline of Residence Halls".  
  57. ^ "Dining at Emory".  
  58. ^ Carlton 1962, pp. 57
  59. ^ "Why a Social Club?".  
  60. ^ "Shh. . . it's an Emory secret".  
  61. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 153
  62. ^ "Community Service at Oxford".  
  63. ^ "Emory Receives Top Service Recognition".  
  64. ^ a b c d Traditions 2007, pp. 84–5
  65. ^ a b "Dueling Dooleys". Emory Magazine. Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  66. ^ a b Moon 2003, pp. 156
  67. ^ Moon 2003, pp. 90
  68. ^ Bowen, Stephen (April 23, 2008). "Concerning the matter of the zebra".  
  69. ^ Chace, William M. (March 2002). "Athletics and academic values to have to compete at a research university". Emory Edge. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  70. ^ a b Traditions 2007, pp. 78
  71. ^ "The Name Game".  
  72. ^ Pendergrast 2000, pp. 152–53
  73. ^ a b c d "Famous Alumni, Emory University".  
  74. ^ Kim, JeeHo (1999). "John B. Cobb, Jr.".  
  75. ^ Leete 1948
  76. ^ "In Brief". Emory Magazine. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  77. ^ "We Knew Them When". Emory Magazine. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  78. ^ "Biography of Rep. Gordon Lee".  
  79. ^ "Biography of Rep. Rowland".  
  80. ^ Pendergrast 2000, pp. 152
  81. ^ Traditions 2007, pp. 47
  82. ^ Vampire Diaries' films for 4th season"'". Covington News. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  83. ^ "Lights, camera, action! Filming is starting on campus right now for the newest installment in the "National Lampoons Vacation" series.". Oxford College of Emory University. September 30, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  84. ^ "Oxford College of Emory University".  
  85. ^ """Oxford Drama Guild presents "8.  


a Oxford is a two-year program, so the class of 2016 is also part of Emory University's class of 2018.
b One such difference between social clubs and fraternities or sororities is that social clubs can be co-ed.


Oxford College hosted the southern premiere of 8, a verbatim theatre re-enactment by Dustin Lance Black, on March 1, 2012. The play chronicles the district court proceedings of Perry v. Schwarzenegger.[84][85]

Oxford College and its facilities have served as sets for several movies and television shows. Notably, it is featured in the first episode of the television series The Dukes of Hazzard, when General Lee jumped 81 feet in front of Seney Hall. This scene remained in the opening credits for the rest of the series. This stunt was recreated by MTV for its series Your Movie Show in July 2005 on the release of The Dukes of Hazzard movie.[81] In addition, the television show In the Heat of the Night also filmed some scenes on campus and in the town of Oxford. Scenes from the television show The Vampire Diaries were shot in the school's library, quad, and theatre in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Thereafter, the school served as the on-location college set for the show's fictional Whitmore College.[82] Additionally, a yet unreleased installment of the National Lampoon's Vacationseries, titled Vacation, filmed scenes on campus.[83]

In popular culture

Letter to Robert W. Woodruff's father

I do not think it advisable for him to return to college this term ... He has never learned to apply himself, which together with very frequent absences, makes it impossible for him to succeed as a student."

James E. Dickey, President of Emory College[72]

Notable alumni

Today, Oxford's athletic teams are members of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Oxford College sponsors men's and women's soccer, men's basketball, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's golf. The men's tennis team won back-to-back NJCAA III National Championships in 2006 and 2007 and a third in 2009, and the women's tennis team won National Championships in 2011. The women's soccer team reached the ational finals in 2006. [4]

Although President Warren Candler was strongly against intercollegiate sports programs,[69] he started Emory's first intramural sports program in 1897.[70] During the rest of his term, students started intramural football, baseball, and gymnastic teams.[70] However, for most of history, Emory did not have an athletic mascot. In 1960, The Emory Wheel sports editor thought it was time to adopt a mascot, but the student body was not interested. Frustrated, he arbitrarily adopted the eagle as the mascot because "the name [was] simply applicable and [had] obvious decorative advantages." Soon thereafter, Oxford followed and adopted the eagle as the mascot.[71]

A black and white photograph of eighteen male student members dressed in football gear
A yearbook photograph of Emory College's intramural football team in 1911


Students at Oxford historically stole local farm animals and coaxed them into classrooms as pranks.[67] In the 1930s to 1950s, students began bringing larger four-legged farm animals to the upper floors of Seney Hall. The tradition culminated in 2008 when a group of unidentified students led a local zebra to the third floor of Seney and barricaded the windows, doors, and elevator.[68] The zebra was nicknamed "Barcode", and a stuffed zebra overlooks the quad in Seney Hall in memorial of the event.


Dooley was first mentioned in an 1899 article that was printed in the school newspaper, Phoenix, titled "Reflections of a Skeleton". The article was purportedly written by a skeleton in a science lab who complained of his dull and silent existence observing the comings and goings of the students.[20] In 1901, the Dooley mythology resurfaced, this time in a second editorial where he claims to have been the son of a wealthy Virginia planter who fought in the Revolutionary War and later died of alcohol abuse.[64] In 1941, Dooley began appearing physically on campus, starting the tradition known as "Dooley's Week", when he gets free rein to let students out of classes.[64] Today, Dooley makes frequent appearances at social functions and other Oxford events, where he passes a message for a designated student to read to the student body.[66] These messages relate to events on campus, ranging from critical rebukes of misdeeds to praise for individual student accomplishments.[65]

Lord Dooley, also known as the "Lord of Misrule" and the "Spirit of Emory", originated in Oxford and acts as Emory University's unofficial mascot.[64] Dooley, who borrows his first name and middle initial from the first and last name of the sitting president of Emory University, has two manifestations: one at Emory's Atlanta campus, and one at Oxford.[64] At both campuses, Dooley is represented by a student in a skeleton costume with a black cape, top hat, and white gloves, flanked on all sides by similarly dressed students acting as bodyguards. However, Oxford's Dooley differs from his more modern and lively counterpart at the Atlanta campus. Because Oxford was his original home, Dooley's appearances there try to symbolize his advanced age, with characteristics such as a crouched stance, slow walk, and his signature bent crane topped with a brown skull.[65] Additionally, his habit of making public appearances at Oxford by emerging out of a coffin differ from the conventions of his counterpart in the Atlanta campus.[66]

Dooley, Oxford's skeleton mascot, sits on a wrecked car while surrounded by student bodyguards.
Dooley sits on a wrecked car in support of a student "car bash" fundraising event.



As of 2012, there are over 50 registered student organizations which cover a variety of interests, including student government, intramural sports, arts, media and publications, music, political/activist, ethnic/cultural, religion, and others. Many of Oxford's student clubs participate in community service, including specifically volunteer-oriented clubs such as Volunteer Oxford, Bonner Leader Program, Triangle L, and Circle K. Consequently, 92 percent of Oxford students participated in community service in 2012, contributing over 10,000 hours in one academic year.[62] Oxford College hours helped Emory University win the 2008 Presidential Award for General Community Service, an award given to higher education institutions for their commitment to community service, service-learning and civic engagement.[63]

With the exception of the D.V.S. Senior Honor Society, which was founded in 1902 and remains active today,[60] student clubs at Oxford historically did not function reliably for long periods of time because the two-year structure of the school leads to high membership turnover. In order to counter this trend, the Leadership Oxford and ExCEL programs were designed in 1988 to help students enhance their leadership skills.[61]

Student organizations

[59] the functions of fraternities and sororities.[b] system and mimicGreek alphabet Today, social clubs use the [58] Oxford is unique from many colleges in that it does not have traditional

A church
The neighboring Oxford-affiliated United Methodist Church is one of the sources of religious life on campus.

Social clubs


Students have a choice of two dining options for their meals, depending on the time of day: a cafeteria dining hall and a late night grill. The dining hall offers takeout options for students with classes scheduled during lunch.[57] Some of the food that are served at these two locations are sourced from the organic farm on campus.[46] In terms of recreation, Williams Gymnasium houses an indoor hybrid basketball, volleyball, and badminton court, an indoor track, indoor pool, weight room, and aerobic studio. There are also ten tennis courts and a regulation soccer field on campus. In addition, the nearby Fleming Woods hiking trails are commonly utilized by Oxford students.[38]

All students are required to live on campus for the entire duration of their time at Oxford. The administration justifies this policy as an aspect of their mission to encourage students to interact with each other and build a strong community.[53] Both freshmen and sophomores are housed in one of four residential halls scattered throughout campus: Haygood Hall, Jolley Residential Center, Fleming Hall, or Elizer and Murdy. These buildings range in occupancy size from 350 (Elizer and Murdy)[54] to 106 (Haygood).[55] Originally constructed in 1913, Haygood Hall is the oldest residential hall on campus, although it had to be rebuilt after a fire broke out in 1981.[56] All of the residence halls house study spaces, vending machines, kitchens, and laundry rooms.[56]

Residential Life

External photograph of two residence halls
Elizer and Murdy, a student residence hall which opened in 2008, is certified LEED Gold.

Student life

[52] 62 percent of undergraduates received an average financial aid package of $32,901 and a total of 242 students received academic merit scholarships.[3] Oxford College maintains the same application as Emory College on the [3] of whom 38 percent were ultimately accepted.[a] There were 7,425 applicants for the Oxford College class of 2016,

Oxford College enrolled 947 students for the 2013–14 academic year, with an average class size of 21 students and a maximum class size of 50 students. 26 percent of the students enrolled are Asian/Pacific Islanders, 10 percent are African American, and 6 percent are Latino.[35] Students who apply to Emory University may choose to begin study for four semesters at Oxford College before automatically continuing to the School of Arts and Sciences in Atlanta. Oxford graduates may also choose to apply for admission to the Goizueta Business School or the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.[50]


Oxford College has 56 faculty members in teaching positions,[35] including Nitya Jacob, associate professor of biology who is one of fifteen international recipients of Science Magazine's Inquiry-Based-Instruction Prize.[48] Oxford College also has a visiting scholar agreement with Oxford University in England, where a faculty member from each school exchanges places for at least one week and deliver public lectures at their host's location. Visiting professors in the past have included Jane Shaw and Tiffany Stern.[49]


[47] degree upon completing Oxford's curriculum, before continuing their studies in Atlanta.associate of the arts All students receive an [46] Oxford College, as part of Emory's undergraduate bachelor's program, offers introductory and intermediate courses that contribute to undergraduate degrees in eighty-five

An image of Seney Hall and the clocktower
Seney Hall, the iconic center of Oxford College, houses classrooms and the college's executive body.


The other buildings that stand on the quad are Humanities Hall, the Jolley Residential Center, Tarbutton Performance Arts Center (which now adjoins Few Hall), Pierce Hall, and a library containing 85,643 volumes.[41][35] In addition, a new science and laboratory facility is under construction over the site of Branham and East, a former residential hall, and will be the largest structure on campus when completed.[44]

The majority of the school's facilities are situated around the rectangular quadrangle in the center of campus, including two buildings that existed before the school was established: Phi Gamma Hall and a chapel. A nearly identical replica of Phi Gamma, Few Hall, sits opposite of Phi Gamma across the quad. These three buildings are all Ignatius Alphonso Few, sits in the center of the quad. Directly south of the monument is Seney Hall, a five-story Victorian Gothic-style building that is topped by a clock tower and bell that was given to the college by Queen Victoria in 1855.[20] At the end of every academic year, the bell is rung once in honor of each graduating student.[40] Seney Hall is flanked to the west by Hopkins Hall and the Williams Gymnasium, and to the west by Language Hall,[41] which was recently renovated and restored in 2013.[42] Further to the east sits Candler Hall, which was built in the Neoclassical architectural style and served as the school library until 1970. Today it acts as a student center and houses a Barnes & Noble bookstore.[43]

Today, much of the college is organized around a pedestrian-only Oxford Historic District.[8]

Oxford College is located on a 56-acre campus in bus routes provide service from Oxford to the Atlanta campus, Stonecrest Mall, and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority stations.[36]

A hand-drawn map depicting the original plan for the Town of Oxford
Oxford and Emory College in 1837.


The Oxford campus continued to be used after the school's move to Atlanta in 1915. At first, the site was organized into the "Emory University Academy", a four-year junior college.[32] The program combined an accelerated program for the last two years of high school with the first two years of college, but the program ended in 1963 after facing enrollment shortages.[33] In response, Dean Virgil Eady recommended a name change to "Oxford College of Emory University" and advocated the position that Oxford is part of Emory University and not a "quasi-independent college at Oxford". The new college was then set up as a two-year liberal arts program, similar in concept to the original Emory College model.[34]

Soon, the Georgia Methodist Conference began discussing transforming Emory College into a university, with Birmingham and Atlanta both bidding to host the proposed institution.[25] Atlanta was eventually chosen as the home of the new Emory University after Asa Griggs Candler, president of the Coca-Cola Company, deeded the university 65 acres of land six miles from the city's downtown and contributed $1 million to the school's endowment.[26] Candler was originally reluctant to donate money to a project that he called "a crumbling castle", but his brother, Warren Candler, convinced him otherwise.[27] Asa Candler went on to serve as chair of the Emory University Board of Trustees and his brother later served as university president.[28]

"At that time, half-a century ago, Oxford was completely without pavement, plumbing in the homes, and electric lights except for the Williams Gymnasium and the Young J. Allen Memorial Church, which were furnished electricity by a dynamo in the boiler room of the gym. And of course, we obtained water from open wells for drinking as well as for all other purposes ... We had to do our studying by the light of a kerosene lamp. There were scarcely any automobiles and absolutely no co-eds at that particular time although there had been a few previously. There was only one college dormitory, Marvin Hall, which was "outmoded" even for 1910 and which could accommodate only a small part of the student body ... Most of the students lived in boarding houses (or private homes), of which there were several ... Such was our beloved Oxford in 1910."
— Wilbur A. Carlton, In Memory of Old Emory (1962)[24]

Wilbur A. Carlton, a student at Emory College in 1910, described his experiences at the school at the time:

By the turn of the 20th century, Emory College began producing several notable graduates. Alben W. Barkley, who graduated from Emory in 1900, went on to represent Kentucky in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate before becoming — at age 71 in 1949 — the oldest Vice-President of the United States in history.[21] Thomas M. Rivers became one of the nation's premier virologists at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, investigating encephalitis and smallpox and later leading the National Science Foundation's quest for a polio vaccine.[22] Dumas Malone went on to become the head of Harvard University Press, one of the nation's leading academic publishers, and completed a Pulitzer Prize-winning six-volume study of Thomas Jefferson when he was past 90 years of age.[23]

Move to Atlanta

In 1880, the school's fortunes reversed when College President Victorian Gothic-style administrative building in the center of Oxford College that bears his name.[19] The bell in the Seney Hall clocktower is the oldest permanent monument at Emory University today. Cast in 1796, the bell was a gift from Alexander Means, the fourth President of Emory College, who in turn received it from Queen Victoria.[8][20]

A white marble obelisk
The Few Monument in the center of the quad recognizes Ignatius A. Few as one of the founders of Emory College.

Financial tension had reduced the college's income and student body prior to the outbreak of war. So when war broke out in the summer of 1861, the college's administration made the decision to temporarily cease all academic operations. Emory College would remain closed to students for the duration of the fighting.[17] During the war, college facilities were used by both Northern and Southern soldiers as military headquarters and infirmaries. Because of this, many deceased soldiers are buried near campus.[18] The school's library and other archives were damaged and later destroyed due to mishandling by military generals. It was not until the summer of 1866 that the campus was able to return to its academic functions, when it reopened with twenty students and three professors.[6] Emory College continued to struggle with financial hardships after the war, and was only able to continue their operations with the aid of a state G.I. Bill.[1]

Civil War and Reconstruction

[16] broke out, both debate societies temporarily suspended their activities as members left school to fight in the war. Both Phi Gamma and Few Halls were used as infirmaries for wounded soldiers.American Civil War However, when the [15]

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