Cultural Opportunities

Lecture Series

The duPont Lectures, an endowed lectureship program, brings internationally known speakers to campus. The Student Forum, managed by members of the Order of the Gown, also brings noted lecturers to Sewanee.

Several other lecture series bring authors, historians, theologians, scientists, politicians, social scientists, activists, and others to campus throughout the year.

Sewanee Conference on Women

During the Sewanee Conference on Women, prominent women are brought to campus to talk about their fields of interest and expertise. A student and faculty committee organizes each year’s program. Recent conference speakers have included women in medicine, law and politics, the arts, and environmental and social service agencies. The conference has also featured panel discussions about women and spirituality, dual-career relationships, women and power, and has sponsored concerts, films, and plays. Support for the conference comes from a broad spectrum of generous groups and individuals.

The Ayres Multicultural Center

At the Ayres Multicultural Center members of the community come together for quality programming and activities throughout the year that include concerts, lectures, and forums. One of the most popular is the Coffee House Series featuring jazz and other musical artists. All Coffee House events are free, as are the coffee, tea, and pastries. The Multicultural Center thus offers stimulating and relaxing entertainment for students looking for a break from their studies or a change of pace from academic life.

Performing Arts Series

For five decades the Performing Arts Series has brought Sewanee a wide array of the world’s finest artists. From famous names to new faces, from the classic to the avant-garde, the Series offers Sewanee students and community members a rich sampling of the contemporary musical and theatrical scene. Through the Performing Arts Series, Sewanee expresses its conviction that live artistic performance is a powerful tool for education and an essential component of a vibrant community

Student Music Opportunities

The University Choir sings weekly for services in All Saints’ Chapel and performs a number of special concerts during the year. The annual Festival of Lessons and Carols draws crowds from across the Southeast. The choir also tours the United States during the summers, with a trip to England every third or fourth summer.

Students have an opportunity to participate in the University Orchestra, which performs several times a year, sometimes with choral groups or in association with theatrical productions. Individual instruction in piano, organ, violin, cello, orchestral woodwinds, and voice is also available.

In addition to the music offered through the Performing Arts Series, there are frequent musical productions by the Department of Music. A number of informal or student-led vocal, instrumental, and folk ensembles also flourish across campus, as well as multicultural gospel singing group, known as “Sewanee Praise,” led by Prakash Wright.

The Sewanee Popular Music Association brings musicians to the campus for concerts open to everyone. WUTS broadcasts the Best in Opera, Best in Jazz, and Classical Showcase series among others.

The Jessie Ball duPont Library has a collection of more than 10,000 records, tapes, and CDs, including all types of music, a complete collection of Shakespearean performances, and many other recordings of literary works, and over 13,000 videos and DVDs.

Also in the library is the William Ralston Listening Library and Archive, one of the finest facilities of its kind at any college in the country. The Ralston complex includes an elegant listening room with state of-the-art audio equipment and an adjacent gallery with display areas for music books and scores.

International Students

Every year, the University welcomes many students from countries outside the United States. Arrangements are made to match international students with host families in the Sewanee area. Although most international students participate in a wide range of organizations, special clubs like the Organization for Cross Cultural Understanding (OCCU) sponsor social and educational events relevant to international issues. International students are also asked to share their views on world events during regular faculty/student discussions.

Films and Drama

The Sewanee Union Theatre has a regular schedule of movies; the cinema guild sponsors film showings on Wednesday evenings.

Theatre Sewanee and Dionysus and Company produce a number of plays each year. A Shakespeare series and a Tennessee Williams festival complement other productions of the theatre department.

University Art Gallery

Each academic year the University Art Gallery presents four to five major exhibitions of contemporary art to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors from surrounding communities. UAG exhibitions represent a wide range of media, ideas, and artistic practices. They serve the University’s curriculum across campus, foster intellectual engagement and conversation beyond the classroom, teach viewers to assess and understand visual information critically, and cultivate a campus culture that welcomes diversity. One exhibition each season presents the current work of one of the accomplished members of our faculty. The final show each spring presents the work of Sewanee’s graduating senior art majors. The other exhibitions each year bring to campus regionally, nationally and internationally recognized artists.

Recent exhibitions staged by the University Art Gallery include Moon Medicine, by internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Sanford Biggers, David Henderson’s monumental installation A Brief History of Aviation in duPont Library, Pradip Malde’s The Third Heaven, photographs from Haiti, 2006-2012, and Laurel Nakadate’s Strangers and Relations.

For more information about the gallery and its upcoming exhibitions and programs, please visit

The Sewanee Review

The Sewanee Review, founded in 1892, is the oldest literary quarterly in continuous publication in the United States. Its subscribers include more than 1,500 libraries, with about 225 subscriptions sent abroad, along with several hundred bookstores.

During its first half-century the Sewanee Review was an academic journal devoted to the humanities. Since the editorship of Allen Tate (1944-46) the quarterly has been literary and critical, publishing short fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews.

The Aiken Taylor Prize in Modern American Poetry is awarded annually to a leading American poet recognizing the work of a distinguished career. Administered by the Sewanee Review, the prize is named in honor of the poet Conrad Aiken and his younger brother Dr. K.P.A.Taylor, who left a generous bequest to fund this prize and related activities.

The Sewanee Review annually awards five prizes for distinguished writing: the Lytle Prize for the best short story, the Spears Prize for the best essay, the Tate Prize for the best poem, and the Heilman Prize for the best book reviewing, and the Sullivan Prize to a promising author of poetry, fiction, or criticism.

The Sewanee Theological Review

The Sewanee Theological Review is one of only two significant Anglican theological quarterlies in the United States. As an outreach publication of the seminary, it contributes to ongoing discussion of and reflection upon theological topics. Articles and reviews focus on questions that are a present and continuing concern for the church. Recent issues have addressed topics such as spirituality, preaching, ministry, moral questions (such as peace and war), the future of the church, and praying, among many others. Intended both for lay and academic audiences, STR publishes the work of some of today’s best-known authors, including O.C. Edwards Jr., Walter Brueggemann, Rowan Williams, Loren B. Mead, Frank T. Griswold III, Ellen Charry, Horton Davies, N.T. Wright, Julia Gatta, Adela Yarbro Collins, John Polkinghorne, and Douglas John Hall. Poetry is also featured. Past contributors have included John Hollander, Richard Wilbur, X.J. Kennedy, Mona Van Duyn, Anthony Hecht, Margaret Gibson, Donald Justice, and Howard Nemerov.

Medieval Colloquium


The annual Sewanee Medieval Colloquium brings scholars to campus to discuss various issues of the Middle Ages. Attendees spend several days on campus, meet with faculty and student groups, and speak to classes.

Recent themes of the colloquium have included law, religion, and the role of women in medieval society. Guest lecturers have come from prominent national and international institutions of higher learning.

The colloquium is sponsored by the University and supported by grants from the duPont Lectures Committee and by individual and group sponsors or patrons. The Colloquium Committee also sponsors a series of papers on medieval subjects presented early in the spring term by members of the college faculty. On occasion, student papers are included in the series.

Sewanee Summer Music Festival


The Sewanee Summer Music Festival has achieved an enviable reputation among musicians internationally, both for its training opportunities and performances. The four-week program attracts about 180 students along with a staff from around the globe. The program is offered in conjunction with the department of music.

Most students are high school or college age. All participate in the orchestra and chamber music programs and study privately. Performances also are presented in the near-by community of Cowan. Group lessons and mini recitals for various instruments and conducting are presented weekly. World renowned Visiting Guest Artists reside at Sewanee for concerts and lessons, as well as master classes.

The program boasts three full symphony orchestras and a wide variety of chamber groups. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday chamber and orchestral concerts take place throughout the session. The Concerto Competition and the Festival Brass Concert, the latter presented in the splendid acoustics of All Saints’ Chapel, help close the final days of the Festival.

Sewanee Writers’ Conference


For over 25 years, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference has helped talented writers better understand their craft. Thanks to the generosity of the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund, supported by the estate of the late Tennessee Williams, the Conference gathers a distinguished faculty to provide instruction and criticism through workshops and craft lectures in poetry, fiction, and playwriting. The Conference offers four poetry, one playwriting, and five fiction workshops. Each participant also benefits from an hour-long individual conference with his or her manuscript reader. Past and present faculty includes National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, and Tony Award winners; former Poets Laureate of the United States; and The New York Times best-selling authors. A full schedule of readings, craft lectures, publishing panels, and numerous social events affords valuable opportunities to writers, as does the chance to meet editors, publishers, and agents. The Sewanee Writers’ Conference is held annually in late July and draws more than 150 participants who are selected by a competitive admission process. All readings and lectures are open to the public and free to attend.

Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference


The conference meets for two weeks each July and offers workshops in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and playwriting for about sixty high school students. The workshops are taught by younger writers of significant accomplishment and teaching experience. The conference also features lectures by faculty members from Sewanee’s English department and readings by major writers; past guests have included Horton Foote, Ernest Gaines, Alice McDermott, Romulus Linney, Mark Jarman, Andrew Hudgins, Padgett Powell, and many others.

University Book and Supply Store

The University Book and Supply Store stocks all required textbooks. It also has a wide selection of books, periodicals, newspapers, notebooks, office supplies, Sewanee clothing, personal items, and snacks.

Language Clubs

Organizations which provide cultural and academic opportunities focused on a particular language include the Spanish Club, Le Cercle Français, Der Deutsche Verein, and the English Speaking Union, and there is a group which sometimes eats together to foster an interest in Swahili.