Truett McConnell University is a four-year Baptist school in the mountains of northeast Georgia. Located in Cleveland, the seat of White County, the university offers a serene environment on 288 acres near the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River.
The school was established in Cleveland on July 23, 1946, and opened its temporary quarters to fifty-five students in September of the following year; the buildings on the present campus were first used in 1956. Georgia Baptists named the school Truett-McConnell College to honor George W. Truett and Fernando C. McConnell. Truett had been pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, for forty-seven years, and McConnell, Truett’s cousin, was pastor of Atlanta’s Druid Hills Baptist Church. Envisioning an excellent Christian education for the youth of north Georgia, Truett established an academy at Hiawassee, where McConnell aided him. The academy is no longer open, but the dream of the two preachers is alive on the campus in Cleveland.
In 2002 Jerry W. Pounds Sr. became president of the college. He served until 2008, when he was succeeded by Emir Caner.
Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the campus includes a Baptist student center, gymnasium, dining hall, chapel, library, biology laboratory, president’s home (which houses the administrative offices), recreational complex, academic enrichment center, education annex, alumni house, and seven residence halls. Students participate in a variety of campus activities, including clubs, organizations, and intercollegiate athletics. They also enjoy brief trips to nearby Helen, with its many sights and activities. (The college also maintained several satellite campuses until 2001, when all were closed.)
In 2015 the school offered fourteen bachelor degree programs of study, including business, Christian studies, early childhood education, and music, as well as a graduate degree in theology. Truett McConnell’s small enrollment, 733 full-time undergraduates in fall 2015, affords students and professors the time and space to form academic relationships.
The school changed its name to Truett McConnell University in May 2016.