Blount College Founded
Blount College was founded two years before the state of Tennessee in what is now downtown Knoxville on September 10, 1794. The legislature of the Southwest Territory chartered the college during a meeting in the capital. Blount College, named after territorial Governor William Blount, operated in a frame house near the site of the present-day Tennessee Theatre on Gay Street. Although the school had to survive on tuition and fees and conferred only one degree, it was in operation for 13 years. Blount College was the first public university chartered west of the Appalachian Divide, one of the first coeducational colleges in America when five women were admitted in 1804, and may have been the first school in the country open to students of all religions when most colleges were affiliated with Christian denominations. The motivation of the founders is unknown, but a wave of college foundings followed the American Revolution. Nineteen new colleges were founded between 1782 and 1802, including the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina.