College Life and the Making of Modern Nashville


Kentucky Live! Presented Mary Ellen Pethel on College Life and the Making of Modern Nashville on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore (1680 Campbell Lane).

May Ellen Pethel is an author, educator, archivist and historian. After attending high school in Rome, Georgia, she received her BA from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, her MEd from Berry College in Georgia and her Ph.D. in history from Georgia State University.

Her newest book Athens of the New South: College Life and the Making of Modern Nashville was published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2017. In it she explores how the founding and growth of Nashville’s colleges and universities impacted the city, region and nation. She notes that by the twentieth century Vanderbilt University had become one of the country’s leading private schools while Fisk University was among the nation’s most prestigious black liberal-arts universities and Meharry Medical College had emerged as one of the country’s few training centers for African American medical professionals. Tennessee A&I became the state’s first public black college while various other schools: Peabody College, Ward-Belmont, David Lipscomb and Roger Williams University meant that Nashville was distinguished not only by the quantity but by the quality of its schools.


American Popular Culture | Higher Education | Intellectual History | United States History