Comparing College Mission Statements

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Emory & Henry College Mission Statement: 

“Increase in Excellence,” the historic motto of Emory & Henry College, expresses our intention to be a learning community that moves toward fulfilling every student’s potential. Bishop John EMORY, along with the founders of Methodism, symbolizes our belief in the union of faith and learning, while Governor Patrick HENRY symbolizes our commitment to freedom and civic virtue.”

We affirm the Christian faith as our spiritual and moral heritage and encourage all our members to grow in faith as they grow in knowledge. We believe in the worth of each person’s religious and cultural heritage, inasmuch as that heritage leads to service to others in our region and the larger world.

We affirm the liberal arts as our intellectual foundation and believe that excellence results when everyone actively participates in the educational process. We challenge all persons to confront historical and contemporary ideas and issues and to develop the ability to think critically about all areas of human experience.

These traditions provide the context for our pursuit of excellence, as we engage a diverse group of well-qualified men and women in educational experiences that lead to lives of service, productive careers, and global citizenship.

This is a well-written mission statement that incorporates the most important values of Emory & Henry College. It jumps right into the college motto “increase in excellence” as well as the namesakes of the college, John Emory and Patrick Henry. The college has a religious affiliation and this is upheld through uniting faith and learning. Emory & Henry is also committed to promoting freedom and civic virtue.

It was nice to see that even though the college has a religious affiliation with the United Methodist Church, the mission statement explicitly states “we believe in the worth of each person’s religious and cultural  heritage.” So even though this college is Methodist affiliated, it does not mean that you must be a practicing Methodist to attend. It is open and accepting to people of all cultures and all religions.

The mission statement seems to be all encompassing – of all members of the college campus and community, all cultures and heritages, and all disciplines and religious affiliations. The college lives out this mission statement by preparing students to be worldly, accepting, and productive members of society upon entering the workforce.

Having attended this college for my undergraduate education, I know that members of the campus and surrounding community make a great effort to incorporate these values into daily living.

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University of Tennessee, Knoxville Mission Statement:

The primary mission of UT is to move forward the frontiers of human knowledge and enrich and elevate the citizens of the state of Tennessee, the nation, and the world. As the preeminent research-based, land-grant university in the state, UT embodies the spirit of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, outreach, and engagement attained by the nation’s finest public research institutions. 

I enjoyed that this mission statement begins with a primary mission of enriching and elevating citizens of Tennessee, the nation, and the world. In order to effectively impact citizens of our nation and our world, we must first start at a local level and build up from there.

One thing in particular that I do not like about this statement is the last line: “… attained by the nation’s finest public research institutions.” This is too general and appears as if the University is simply grouping itself with other institutions instead of trying to stand out as a leader. A key goal of UT Knoxville is to be listed as a top 25 research institution in the United States. The university must allow itself to stand out as a leader in order to get to this point.