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Our Heritage


Preparing Students for a Lifetime of Success

Newberry College prepares students in the Lutheran liberal arts tradition through our supportive academic community for lifelong intellectual and personal development, meaningful vocation, and engaged citizenship in the global society. 

Intellectual Development

Students will acquire, develop, and demonstrate:

  • knowledge of the arts, sciences, and humanities as ways of understanding the world and our place in it.
  • effective oral and written communication skills.
  • critical thinking and quantitative analytical skills necessary for interpreting information and solving problems in a 21st-century global society.
  • proficiency in information literacy.

Personal Development

Students will acquire, develop, and demonstrate:

  • the ability to work with others as leaders or as members of a team to accomplish common goals in a diverse society.
  • an understanding of the heritage of the Christian faith and its contribution to humane problem-solving in the evolving global community.
  • moral reasoning skills essential for making life choices that balance personal freedoms and societal responsibilities.
  • the knowledge, attitudes, and habits that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Meaningful Vocation

Students will acquire, develop, and demonstrate:

  • knowledge of the history, methods of inquiry, and current intellectual claims of a chosen specific discipline or interdisciplinary area of study.
  • knowledge and skills that foster life-long personal growth and professional development in their vocational pursuits.

Engaged Citizenship in a Global Society

Students will acquire, develop, and demonstrate:

  • the values necessary for effective citizenship.
  • the skills and historical knowledge to think critically about complex national and global issues.
  • the qualities of personal and social responsibility necessary to sustain and deepen democracy.


The Lutheran intellectual tradition creatively engages the dialectic tensions inherent in the dynamic nature of human life. Newberry College will re-affirm itself publicly as aligned with the Lutheran church, and be guided by a set of educational principles that emanates from the Lutheran intellectual traditions. These Lutheran core values include:

Faith and Reason

Truth is the ultimate objective of both Faith and Reason which is best obtained through the integrated pursuit of free inquiry, hypothesis and rigorous scholarship. In keeping with the school’s historic faith, motto and mission, Newberry College leads students to learn and respect the Christian faith, history, traditions and supporting documents in the context of a pluralistic dialogue among the sciences, arts and global religions.

Freedom and Responsibility

Each person has individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well as corporate responsibility for others in an environmental and civil context. Newberry College encourages all members of its community to use the unique freedoms and characteristics of individual personhood as his/her fundamental contribution to citizenship in both local and global community participation.

Diversity and Inclusivity

Community arises when people of widely diverse walks and degrees of faith, cultural backgrounds, genders, races and nations of origin recognize their shared humanity. At Newberry, empathetic knowledge of one-another-modeling civil discourse is fostered as well as respecting each person’s dignity and individuality, and seeking to understand fully self and others as equally valued global citizens.

Personal and Public Vocation

Vocation affirms the sacred nature of the whole person: his or her personal and public relationships, divinely revealed gifts, and contributions to church and society. Newberry College encourages each individual to discover and pursue his or her calling and to exhibit faithful service to God and community in every facet of life.


newberry college at night

Newberry College celebrated its 150th anniversary of service and educational leadership to the Newberry community, state of South Carolina, and the Lutheran Church in 2006.

Newberry's heritage began in 1828 at the annual meeting of the Lutheran Synod in South Carolina and Adjacent States—nearly 30 years before it was chartered as a college by the State of South Carolina. At that 1828 meeting, the Rev. John Bachman, President of the Synod, recommended the establishment of a seminary to train Lutheran ministers. The following year the Synod followed his advice and voted to establish a seminary and classical academy. 

The new seminary-academy opened its doors in February 1831 near Pomaria, SC (about 15 miles from the College's present location); it moved to neighboring Lexington in 1834 and remained there for over 20 years. 

In 1854 the Synod voted to make the institution a degree-granting college, in 1855 to move it to Newberry, and in 1856, just before the granting of the charter, to name it Newberry College. A preparatory department opened in 1858, and the College and Seminary began operation in February 1859. 

It prospered until the Civil War when nearly all the faculty and students were called into military service. At the end of the war, the only college building was occupied by federal troops. In 1868, as a result of the physical condition of the building, the military occupation, and the depletion of the endowment funds, the College faced a severe financial crisis. St. John's Lutheran church in Walhalla, SC, in the northwestern corner of the state, offered the College a new home. In 1877, through the efforts of Newberry residents, the College returned to its original site in Newberry. 

The Synod discontinued operating the Seminary for several years, but in 1884 reopened it again at Newberry where it remained until 1898. That year the Seminary moved to Mt. Pleasant, SC, and in 1911 to its present location in Columbia, SC. 

The College has maintained its association with the Lutheran Church. Today, Newberry is affiliated with the South Carolina, Southeastern, Florida-Bahamas, and Caribbean Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).

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