1880s - Building a Foundation
In January of 1884, Reinhardt opened its doors for classes in an old cabinet and wood shop with approximately 40 students, ranging from grammar school to high school.
First Graduating Class
The College's curriculum, designed to train teachers and preachers, focused on language, mathematics, science, history and religion. The first class graduated in 1888 with four members: Fredonia Blanton (niece of A.M. Reinhardt), William Alonzo Covington and John J. A. Sharp's niece and nephew Joseph A. and Lucy Sharp. These graduates turned out to be an extremely distinguished class: Blanton spent more than 40 years as a teacher at Reinhardt, Covington became a judge, Joseph Sharp became president of Young Harris College, and Lucy Sharp married Dr. R. M. Moore, a doctor and civic leader for whom the local elementary school is named.
First Board of Trustees
The first Board of Trustees was appointed at Reinhardt in 1889. It consisted of A.M. Reinhardt, John J. A. Sharp, J. M. G. Heard, Joseph M. Sharp, Elias Alexander Fincher and the Reverend Wilbur Fisk Glenn.
Mandatory Military Training
Military companies were established at Reinhardt in 1893 and, in 1897, military training became mandatory for all able-bodied male students except those preparing for the ministry. In the spring, the military companies would stage battles on a field or pasture. One company would hold a fort on the top of the hill while the other companies attacked. Firecrackers and blanks were even sometimes used for realism, and occasionally female students would join the performance, acting as nurses and aiding the "wounded."
Reinhardt Normal College
Reinhardt received a charter in 1891 from the Georgia State Legislature that granted the school the official name of Reinhardt Normal College. At that time, approximately 200 students were enrolled at the College, including elementary- to college-aged children.
Debating societies became an integral part of student activities on campus. The Rev. C. E. Pattillo, president of the College from 1891-94, organized the Henry W. Grady Debating Club in 1891 and, in 1892, it was divided into the Pierce and Haygood Societies, named after two famous Methodist bishops. The Delphian Literary Society was then established for girls and, in 1894, it split into Phi Alpha and Phi Delta. These debating societies were the backbone of student activities until the late 1960s when they were replaced by fraternities and sororities.
By 1910 more than 390 students were enrolled at Reinhardt. On November 28, 1911, the chapel and administration building were destroyed by fire. A "new Reinhardt" emerged from the fire, and the "Normal" was dropped from the institution's name.
Transition to a Co-Educational Junior College
In 1920, a second year of post-secondary education was added to Reinhardt's curriculum to make the institution a full-fledged co-educational junior college. The first college students graduated in 1921 from Reinhardt. As the local public school system developed, the grammar school became administered by the County, though it remained on campus until 1948 when R. M. Moore Elementary School opened. High School students were transferred to Cherokee High School in 1956.
A Working Farm
In the early 1900s additional farmland was purchased by the College to bring its total acreage to approximately 500. The farm furnished employment for students working their way through school and produced a large portion of the food needed in the dining hall. A herd of dairy cattle was obtained in 1929 and, in 1940, a canning plant was installed on campus to preserve summer's surplus of fruits and vegetables for winter.
"Soil Conservation Day"
A major "face-lift" of the College's farm land was completed in 1949, during one of the most memorable days in Reinhardt's history, "Soil Conservation Day." On May 18, 1949, U.S. Vice President Alben Barkley visited the College's campus for the event, and more than $100,000 in improvements were completed in that single day. Among the amazing accomplishments of the volunteers on Soil Conservation Day were the construction of an athletic field, the landscaping of four buildings, the erection of five miles of fencing, the spreading of 200 tons of limestone and 40 tons of fertilizer and the planting of two tons of corn and grass seed.
Intercollegiate Athletics Begin
In 1920, Reinhardt fielded a football team for a short time and although the campus's first gymnasium was constructed in 1931, men's intercollegiate basketball did not begin on campus until 1982 when the James and Sis Brown Physical Education Building was constructed. Women's basketball and softball were then added in 1983, men's soccer in 1991 and women's and men's cross country and tennis in 1999. The beginning of the 21st century included the additions of women's soccer in 2000 and men's baseball and women's fast-pitch softball in 2004. Women's volley ball was added in 2003 and golf in 2007. The College also became a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
Reinhardt began offering its first four-year degree program in business in 1992, and in 1994 the College became accredited as a four-year institution.
In 2000, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097: Telephone number 44-679-4501) accredited Reinhardt to award associate and baccalaureate degrees, and in July 2008, the College's accreditation was reaffirmed to award associate and baccalaureate degrees and a master in business administration degree. The University Senate of the United Methodist Church approved Reinhardt to be listed as a United Methodist-affiliated institution beginning in 2000.
In fall of 2006, Reinhardt welcomed a record breaking number of new students to campus - 373 - up from 313 in 2005.
The Capital Campaign, announced in 2005 with a goal of $15 million, raised its goal in 2006 to $17 million and surpassed that goal in 2007 with almost $22 million, including $3,286,187 in gifts for the Annual Fund and $18,681,664 in gifts for the Capital Campaign.
Expanding Learning Opportunities
Reinhardt added its first graduate program - a master of business administration - in 2007 after formal approval from SACS. The College now offers 38 degree programs - including 37 undergraduate programs, which range from business, communications and education to psychology, music and math.
Celebrating the 125 Year Anniversary
The year 2008 marked the 125 year anniversary of Reinhardt's foundation. The College hosted many events to commemorate this momentous event, including a kick-off celebration dinner in January, which also included the conclusion of an $18.7 million capital campaign, a Trustee, Faculty and Staff picnic in April, and a 125th Anniversary Scholarship presentation on Honors Day.
"The Past Has Been Written, and a New Chapter Begins"
2008 brought much promise to the continued success of Reinhardt University. The College's undergraduate accreditation was reaffirmed by SACS, and, later in the year, Reinhardt was accredited as a level III-graduate institution. New degree programs included: World Languages and Cultures, criminal justice, and professional communication leadership.
Furthering Student Success
In 2009, Reinhardt's success was soaring to new heights. The campus now totals almost 525 acres, of which almost 90 are developed. Students were honored and celebrated during the College's first Convocation of Artists and Scholars, a weeklong celebration of student art, music, research, writing, and leadership. During spring commencement ceremonies, the College honored the first graduates from its MBA program.
To remain competitive, Reinhardt's intercollegiate athletics switched to the Appalachian Athletic Conference in summer 2009. Lacrosse became a new sport offered at Reinhardt, and recruiting efforts produced a talented men's team, which will begin play in early spring 2010. Recruiting for women's lacrosse will begin later in 2010.
For the 2009-10 academic year, the College reached its largest enrollment to date — more than 1,130 students were welcomed to Reinhardt's main campus in Waleska, and three extended sites in Alpharetta, Epworth and Cartersville.
The College announced the creation of two more graduate programs, a Master of Music and Master of Arts in Teaching in Early Education. Associate degrees were added in criminal justice and fire management, and a certificate program in homeland safety management and a Public Safety Institute were created. The College also launched a mathematics secondary education program and approved a theatre program, and selected degree programs were offered in Cartersville and Epworth.
New Name reflects Institution's Growth
Like its founding fathers, Reinhardt continues to respond to the educational needs of North Georgia. On June 1, 2010, Reinhardt College became Reinhardt University, thus beginning a new chapter in the institution's long, proud history.. As a comprehensive university firmly grounded in the liberal arts, Reinhardt University offers instruction to men and women in a Christian environment at its main campus in the city of Waleska, Georgia, and in various other locations in the State of Georgia.