Equipping students to discover and develop their divine design to serve Christ and the world through Spirit-empowered life, learning, and leadership.
Southeastern University is anchored by Spirit-empowered education in a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community. Southeastern’s global impact is marked by a deep commitment to transforming minds and engaging culture through the integration of faith, learning and service. Each student’s divine design is nurtured and unleashed through the investment of faculty and staff, relationships within the community, the rigor of scholarship, diverse learning experiences and the discipline of spiritual formation, which propels students into a lifetime of serving the world in the Spirit of Christ.
In addition to our mission and vision statement, we hold fundamental truths about the Christian faith that include the following:
The Scriptures are inspired by God and declare His design and plan for mankind.
There is only one true God who is revealed in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (commonly known as the Trinity).
Jesus Christ, as God’s son, was both fully human and divine.
We are proud of our affiliation with the Assemblies of God and our Pentecostal tradition. We are also proud to be a welcoming community for students from all Christian backgrounds and denominations. Our campus includes many Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc., as well as non-denominational students. Everyone shares a strong commitment to knowing Christ and making Him known, and we celebrate our theological similarities while appreciating our differences.
Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Southeastern University.
Southeastern University is endorsed by the Commission on Christian Higher Education of the General Council of the Assemblies of God. The university is approved by the Department of Justice, Immigration, and Naturalization Service for the training of foreign students and by the State Approving Agency of the State of Florida for the training of veterans and the dependents of veterans.
Southeastern University admits students of any race, color, national, or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, handicap, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. The University reserves the right to withdraw a student for cause at any time.
In October 2015, the College of Unrestricted Education (“School”) was formed to serve the growing nontraditional programs and student populations. In 2015-2016, the School managed the operations for all nontraditional programs, working closely with the traditional colleges and departments to establish and maintain degree programs. As the nontraditional programs grew, it became imperative to establish an academic and operational infrastructure to support these programs. In Fall 2016, the School was authorized by the Board of Trustees to serve as the nontraditional academic division of the university with responsibility for all curricular, faculty, and operational matters. Today, the College of Unrestricted Education serves a variety of students through online, extension, and competency-based programs. The mission statement for the School reads as follows:
The College of Unrestricted Education extends Southeastern University’s mission by developing and leading the university’s nontraditional academic programs.
To supplement this concise statement of mission, the School developed a “Mission in Action” statement. This companion statement reads as follows:
Southeastern University offers a vital, Christ-centered education that, through a wide range of academic majors leading to the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, prepares nontraditional students in a liberal arts context which integrates faith and learning for a life of world-changing service and leadership in church-related positions and in other professional fields. Southeastern University offers a Christ-centered education that prepares nontraditional liberal arts students for a life of world-changing service and leadership.
The School’s administration includes its Vice President, Associate Provost, Academic Dean, and program chairs, including leadership over business and leadership, communication, foundational core, human services, psychology, and ministry and theology courses and programs.
Board of Trustees
- Terry Raburn, Chairman
- M. Wayne Blackburn, Vice Chairman
- John K. Jordan, Secretary
- Kent Ingle, President
- Abner Adorno
- Roger Archer
- Luke Barnett
- Tommy Barnett
- Mark Batterson
- Jennifer E. Closshey
- David Docusen
- Kenneth Draughon
- Mark Jakelsky
- Steve Mason
- Ricardo Orsini
- Matthew Potter
- Jeffery Portmann
- Judy Rachels
- Dino Rizzo
- Terry Roberts
- Bob Sandler
- Victor E. Smith
- Scott Williams
- Douglas Witherup
- John Wootton
Southeastern University was founded in 1935 by Alabama District Superintendent J.C. Thames and other Southeastern District leaders. Originally named the Alabama Shield of Faith Institute, it was renamed the South-Eastern Bible Institute (SEBI) in 1936.
Guy Shields was the first president. Originally located in a former high school building in New Brockton, Alabama, the school opened its doors to students on November 4, 1935, under the direction of four faculty members. Two years later, on May 22, 1937, the first graduation exercises were held. Seventeen students received diplomas for the two-year academic program.
SEBI continued classes in New Brockton until 1940 when a decision was made to consolidate the school with Beulah Heights Bible Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. The school was known from 1940 to 1942 as the Beulah Heights South-Eastern Bible Institute. In the fall of 1942, Rev. Ralph Byrd allowed the school to relocate to his congregation at 301-7 Capital Ave., SW in Atlanta, where it then was once again named the South-Eastern Bible Institute.
In 1946, the board of directors voted to secure a permanent location for the full development of the school. A new campus location was purchased later that year in Lakeland, Florida. The Atlanta campus was sold, and development of the new site began. From 1946 to 1952, SEBI was located at the Lodwick School of Aeronautics in Lakeland. In 1952, the school moved to its present location at Longfellow Blvd
Student body growth continued at the new central Florida campus along with the academic programs. SEBI became South-Eastern Bible College in 1956 when four-year Bachelor of Arts degree programs began. After adding education degrees, the college’s board of directors changed the school name to Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in 1977.
In 1986, Southeastern was granted regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. This accreditation was reaffirmed in 1991, 2001 and 2011.
In 2005, Southeastern College officially became Southeastern University, began offering its first master’s degree programs and formed the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business, Christian Ministries & Religion, and Education. Since then, the university has also formed the Colleges of Behavioral & Social Sciences and Natural & Health Sciences and, in 2014, began offering doctoral programs. We now offer an EdD and DMin.
What began in 1935 as a Bible-training school is now the largest Assemblies of God educational institution in America, producing future Christian leaders in the fields of church ministries, education, medicine, law, business, communication, psychology, social work, literature and music.
For more information, visit the university main website.
Southeastern University is located in the city of Lakeland in Polk County, Florida the heart of citrus country. Surrounded by the beautiful lakes that characterize Central Florida, the 60-acre campus presents an attractive and picturesque scene for the students’ pleasure and academic environment. The natural beauty of the lakes and citrus groves, combined with a semi-tropical atmosphere and lifestyle, makes Lakeland a delightful place to attend college and enjoy Florida winters. The average annual temperature is 72 degrees. With a population of 300,000, the greater Lakeland area is less than one hour from Florida’s world renowned tourist attractions—Sea World, Busch Gardens, Epcot Center, Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. In addition, the Gulf of Mexico can be reached in an hour and the Atlantic Ocean in less than two hours.
Lakeland is centrally located between Tampa and Orlando and is easily accessible via the international airports of each city. Three major highways serve the Lakeland area: US 92, US 98, and Interstate 4.
In addition to the major tourist attractions, Central Florida’s numerous lakes, parks, and miles of seashore provide many opportunities for outdoor activities. Lakeland is the winter home of the Detroit Tigers American League baseball team. With many other major league teams spending the winter in nearby cities, the baseball season gets underway earlier for local residents.
The cities of Tampa and Orlando offer excitement in professional sports in the football, baseball, basketball, and hockey arenas.
Lakeland’s many lakes provide excellent water skiing and freshwater fishing. Southeastern’s two lakes are Lake Bonny and Lake Holloway.
With a student population of approximately 6,000, a sense of community is evident among students, faculty, and staff. Students and faculty can know each other on a personal level which lends to the development of lifelong friendships. A student is more than a number; he or she is known by name. Southeastern’s caring community gives personal support to individuals.
Steelman Library is named in honor of William Claud Steelman, a consecrated layman from Mississippi. The Mary Stribling Collection, named in honor of Mary M. Stribling, a former librarian and teacher of the university, is housed in the library. The library provides over 300,000 items, including ebooks, print books, journals, sound recordings, and videos.
The curriculum lab is a reference center for future educators. This lab is housed in the library and contains more than 5,000 volumes of children’s literature, public and private school textbooks, and instructional material to aid education majors in preparing lesson plans and teaching units. Students and faculty are able to access many of the library’s holdings from their residences and offices.
Jerome E. Bolin Center, named in honor of Jerome E. Bolin, a benefactor of the university, provides a home for the Department of Religion, the Department of Language and Communication Arts,, the television and radio studios, several classrooms, and the Bolin Library for Pentecostal Research.
The Bolin Library for Pentecostal Research is housed in the Bolin Center and is dedicated to the preservation of theological and historical works of the Pentecostal movement. Its purpose is to preserve for posterity important works, art, documents, and artifacts of Pentecostalism in general, but especially of the Assemblies of God in the southeastern United States. It provides a comfortable and convenient setting for students and visiting scholars to research various aspects of Pentecostalism.
The new College of Business and Legal Studies and College of Education Building was dedicated September 18, 2008. The buildings new classrooms include the latest in education technology, and the building also houses a 130 seat lecture hall.
Southeastern University recently constructed a new state-of-the-art health and science facility. This building supports the General Biology, Biology Pre-Med, BSN Nursing, and Mathematics programs. In addition to supporting our science programs, this new academic building also provides 14,369 sqft. of additional classroom space for use with other academic programs. The College of Natural & Health Science Center opened Fall of 2015.
Our most recently completed facility (Fall 2016), Buena Vida complex, is a four-story, 125,000-square-foot live/learn facility that houses the following:
Music practice rooms
Choral rehearsal hall
Fine arts program
Graphic design and computer labs
Food court area with national brands (added to Chick-fil-A Express, which was brought on campus in September 2014)
Faculty offices (50+)
Student residences (the third and fourth floors of the facility will house 400 students)
Southeastern University subscribes to the 16 Statements of Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God, which are as follows (condensed version):
WE BELIEVE … The Scriptures are Inspired by God and declare His design and plan for mankind.
WE BELIEVE … There is only One True God–revealed in three persons…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (commonly known as the Trinity).
WE BELIEVE … In the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God’s son Jesus was both human and divine.
WE BELIEVE … though originally good, Man Willingly Fell to Sin –ushering evil and death, both physical and spiritual, into the world.
WE BELIEVE … Every Person Can Have Restored Fellowship with God Through ‘Salvation’ (trusting Christ, through faith and repentance, to be our personal Savior). [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
WE BELIEVE … and practice two ordinances—(1) Water Baptism by Immersion after repenting of one’s sins and receiving Christ’s gift of salvation, and (2) Holy Communion (the Lord’s Supper) as a symbolic remembrance of Christ’s suffering and death for our salvation.
WE BELIEVE … The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a Special Experience Following Salvation that empowers believers for witnessing and effective service, just as it did in New Testament times. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
WE BELIEVE … The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ as experienced on the Day of Pentecost and referenced throughout Acts and the Epistles.
WE BELIEVE … Sanctification Initially Occurs at Salvation and is not only a declaration that a believer is holy, but also a progressive lifelong process of separating from evil as believers continually draw closer to God and become more Christlike.
WE BELIEVE … The Church has a Mission to seek and save all who are lost in sin. We believe ‘the Church’ is the Body of Christ and consists of the people who, throughout time, have accepted God’s offer of redemption (regardless of religious denomination) through the sacrificial death of His son Jesus Christ.
WE BELIEVE … A Divinely Called and Scripturally Ordained Leadership Ministry Serves the Church. The Bible teaches that each of us under leadership must commit ourselves to reach others for Christ, to worship Him with other believers, and to build up or edify the body of believers–the Church and to meet human need with ministries of love and compassion.
WE BELIEVE … Divine Healing of the Sick is a Privilege for Christians Today and is provided for in Christ’s atonement (His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins). [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
WE BELIEVE… in The Blessed Hope—When Jesus Raptures His Church Prior to His Return to Earth (the second coming). At this future moment in time all believers who have died will rise from their graves and will meet the Lord in the air, and Christians who are alive will be caught up with them, to be with the Lord forever. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
WE BELIEVE … in The Millennial Reign of Christ when Jesus returns with His saints at His second coming and begins His benevolent rule over earth for 1,000 years. This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel and the establishment of universal peace.
WE BELIEVE … A Final Judgment Will Take Place for those who have rejected Christ. They will be judged for their sin and consigned to eternal punishment in a punishing lake of fire.
WE BELIEVE … and look forward to the perfect New Heavens and a New Earth that Christ is preparing for all people, of all time, who have accepted Him. We will live and dwell with Him there forever following His millennial reign on Earth. ‘And so shall we forever be with the Lord!’
Our understanding of human sexuality is derived from the following biblical principles:
God created humans as relational beings — the only part of creation that God explicitly designed to have community with Himself (Genesis 1:26). All other forms of community are designed to reflect this relationship between divinity and humanity (Hebrews 10:24–25, 1 Corinthians 12:14, Ephesians 5:25).
As a direct result of sin, the community between divinity and humanity was broken (Genesis 3:23–24). This brokenness has permeated into all other relationships (Genesis 4:15). Human sexuality is not exempt from the marring effects of separation from the Divine (Romans 1:21-23).
God’s intention for human sexuality is to occur between one genetic male and one genetic female within the covenant of marriage (Genesis 2:18, 21–24; Hebrews 13:4).
All forms of sexuality outside of God’s intention are a result of separation from God (1 Corinthians 6:13, 18–20) and are illegitimate moral options for the confessing Christian. In Scripture, several sexual behaviors are expressly forbidden, which include but are not limited to fornication, adultery, incest, unnatural sexual intercourse and homosexual acts (Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:7–23, 20:10–21; Matthew 5:27–28; Romans 1:20–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:17–19; Colossians 3:5)
Into this broken world, God sent himself in the form of His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ (John 1:1–3, 14). Through His sacrifice, Jesus became the Way to restoration of the Divine/human community (John 3:16). Until one has restored his or her relationship with God through His Son, Jesus, all other relationships — including human sexuality — will remain broken (John 14:6–7).
Southeastern Human Sexuality
At Southeastern University, we affirm human sexuality as a gift from God, designed to serve as a mirror of one’s relationship with God. We believe that God’s intention for human sexuality is between one genetic male and one genetic female within the covenant of marriage (Genesis 2:18, 21–24; Hebrews 13:4).
In addition, Southeastern University supports the dignity of individual persons affirming their biological sex — understanding that any attempts to change one’s God-given sexuality through elective sex-reassignment or transvestite, transgender or nonbinary “genderqueer” acts or conduct is at odds with our biblical standards, denominational affiliation and subsequently our code of conduct.
Therefore, we as a community commit to the following:
Because of our values surrounding modesty, sexual purity and safety, the university has had a single-sex housing and restroom policy for undergraduates since its inception, and we will continue to maintain this tradition.
In regard to athletics, we will continue to support our biblical understanding of affirming an individual’s biological sex as the basis for athletic competition.
As a university we will conduct our sexuality as a reflection of our relationship with God. Southeastern University pledges to guide the university community toward understanding and embracing its sexuality as a reflection of its relationship with God.
Seeing that sin is a common struggle for all, members of the SEU community are committed to treating one another with respect and Christ-like compassion (Philippians 2:3–5). Insults, slurs and other forms of derogatory speech have no place in a Christian community (James 3:9–12).
Any deviation from a biblical standard of sexual behavior is a result of separation from God and therefore is an opportunity for repentance, grace and redemption so that as a community, we might honor one another and glorify God.
Southeastern is more than a university; it is a community that transforms students. Joining this Christ-centered community obligates each student to embrace a set of core values centered on scriptural and civilized behavior. The core values of the Southeastern community are: authentic spirituality, a Christ-centered worldview, character development for ethics in life, servant leadership, academic and professional excellence, and cultural sensitivity.
Since members of this faith-based community have voluntarily chosen to be a participant, all students are obligated to a code of scriptural and community standards and behavior.
As a Christ-follower and member of the community of Southeastern University, I will:
Practice the spiritual disciplines—regular reading of God’s Word, prayer, etc.
Understand that regular attendance at church services is expected
Uphold the community standards
Pursue integrity and practice professional ethics
Adhere to guidelines of dress code
Respect the dignity of all persons and highly value the diversity of the body of Christ
Respect the rights and property of others
Discourage bigotry, slander, and gossip among the members of the community and will refuse to engage in such behavior
Refrain from the possession, use or distribution of beverage alcohol (except for communion), marijuana, or other intoxicants either on or off university premises
Refrain from the possession, use or distribution of tobacco products either on or off university premises
Refrain from the possession, use or distribution of illegal substances and the abuse or illegal use of legal substances, including prescription and over-the-counter medications either on or off university premises
Refrain from all sexually immoral behavior including: premarital sex; adultery; lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender behavior; and involvement with pornography in any form. (Biblical marriage consists only of a faithful, heterosexual union between one genetic male and one genetic female, and biblical marriage is the only legitimate and acceptable context for a sexual relationship)
Resolve conflict according to the model in Matthew 18:15-20
Honor the servant-leaders who watch over this community and cooperate with their leadership
Demonstrate compassion for others and a passion for the lost as a representative of Christ
Southeastern University strives to be an institution of high integrity and is committed to providing the most accurate information through all mediums to anyone associated with the University. Southeastern University will make every effort to not engage in misrepresentation of any form as defined by the U.S. Department Regulatory Citation: 34 CFR § 668.71 (c) which defines misrepresentation as any false, erroneous or misleading statement an eligible institution, one of its representatives, or any ineligible institution, organization, or person with whom the eligible institution has an agreement to provide educational programs, or to provide marketing, advertising, recruiting or admissions services makes directly or indirectly to a student, prospective student or any member of the public, or to an accrediting agency, to a State agency, or to the Secretary. A misleading statement includes any statement that has the likelihood or tendency to deceive. A statement is any communication made in writing, visually, orally, or through other means. Misrepresentation includes the dissemination of a student endorsement or testimonial that a student gives either under duress or because the institution required the student to make such an endorsement or testimonial to participate in a program.
See the university’s main website for details.