Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The University strives to give students a foundation for a more productive life by upholding the principles of Abraham Lincoln's life: a dedication to individual liberty, responsibility, and improvement; a respect for citizenship; recognition of the intrinsic value of high moral and ethical standards; and a belief in a personal God. The University is committed to teaching, research, and service. The University's curriculum and commitment to quality instruction at every level are based on the beliefs that graduates must be able to communicate clearly and effectively in an era of rapidly and continuously expanding communication technology, must have an appreciable depth of learning in a field of knowledge, must appreciate and understand the various ways by which we come to know ourselves and the world around us, and must
In the 1880s, an energetic entrepreneur named Alexander Arthur (1846ï¿½1912) and several associates established a firm called American Association, Ltd., the primary purpose of which was to develop the iron ore and coal resources of the Cumberland Gap area. Arthur founded Middlesboro, Kentucky for the company's employees and furnaces, and constructed a railroad line connecting Middlesboro with Knoxville, Tennessee. Arthur believed Middlesboro would grow into a large industrial city, the so-called "Pittsburgh of the South." In 1888, he founded the city of Harrogate, which he envisioned would someday be a suburb for Middlesboro's elite. Arthur and American Association spent some two million dollars developing Harrogate, the jewel of which was the Four Seasons Hotel, a 700-room structure believed to have been the largest hotel in the U.S. at the time. The hotel included a lavish dining hall, a casino, and a separate sanitarium. The economic panic of the early 1890s and the subsequent collapse of Arthur's London financial backers doomed American Associates, however, and the Four Seasons was sold and dismantled. In 1896, General Oliver O. Howard, a former Union officer who had helped establish Howard University (named for him), embarked on a lecture tour. Howard's agent, Cyrus Kehr, suggested Howard establish a university as a living memorial to President Abraham Lincoln. On June 18, 1896, Howard spoke at the Harrow School, an elementary school at Cumberland Gap founded a few years earlier by Reverend A. A. Myers. After the lecture, Myers asked Howard for assistance in establishing a college for the Cumberland Gap region. Howard related to Myers a conversation he had with Lincoln in 1863 in which the president expressed a desire to do something to help the people of East Tennessee, a majority of whom remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War in spite of the greater state's secession, and, remembering Kehr's suggestion, agreed to help Myers establish a university in Lincoln's honor. Lincoln Memorial University, circa 1915 With the help of Howard and Kehr, Myers purchased the Four Seasons property, although the sanitarium building was all that remained of the once lavish hotel. Lincoln Memorial University was chartered on February 12, 1897ï¿½ Lincoln's 88th birthdayï¿½ with Cyrus Kehr as its first president. Howard joined the university as its managing director in 1898, and under his leadership the university expanded, acquiring among other places Alexander Arthur's house, which the university used as a conservatory.Howard mentioned the university and its purpose in a speech at Carnegie Hall in 1901, which helped raise money and allowed the university to pay off its debts. In 1902, the sanitarium building burned, and its surviving blocks were used to build Grant-Lee Hall, which has since been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.Arthur's house also burned, but its tower, now called "Conservatory Tower," still stands. In April 1917, British folklorist Cecil Sharp spent several days at Lincoln Memorial University, where he collected 22 local versions of "old world" ballads such as "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor," "The Daemon Lover," and "Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight."
Autry O.V. Pete DeBusk, Founder and owner of DeRoyal Industries John Rice Irwin, historian, founder of the Museum of Appalachia Nelson Pizarro, 2007 All American, Major League Soccer player Scot Shields, Major League Baseball pitcher Ralph Stanley, American bluegrass artist (awarded the honorary doctorate of music in 1976) James Still, Appalachian poet, novelist and folklorist Jesse Stuart, author David M. Walker, former United States Comptroller General (awarded the honorary doctorate of public service) Don West, writer, civil-rights activist