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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 nondenominational students. Everyone shares a strong commitment to knowing Christ and making Him known, and we celebrate our theological similarities while appreciating our differences.
From its inception in 1935 as a Bible institute to train pastors and missionaries, Southeastern has rested on a solid foundation of vision and faith. That foundation has held firmly as our school evolved and relocated through the years, gradually expanding its mission and degree offerings along with its student population, and moving in 1952 to our permanent suburban campus in Lakeland, Florida.
Today, vision and faith still underlie Southeastern University. A liberal arts university of the Assemblies of God—coeducational and primarily residential—Southeastern enrolls about 3000 students, both traditional and nontraditional, who represent a variety of denominations, personal interests, backgrounds, states, and countries.
We offer a vital, Christ-centered education that, through a wide range of academic majors leading to the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, prepares our students for a life of world-changing leadership in church-related positions and in other professional fields. Arriving at Southeastern as people committed to following Jesus Christ, these students graduate ready either to enter the graduate study, doctoral studies, or to serve throughout the world as ministers, teachers/educators, social service and mental health professionals, and businessmen and women.
Our programs of study span the following academic areas: behavioral and social sciences, business, education, language and communication arts, music, natural sciences and mathematics, and religion.
Along with academic preparation, Southeastern provides many opportunities for voluntary service in ministry in our local community and abroad. Frequent chapel services, a thriving music program, a variety of clubs and associations, and intercollegiate and intramural sports add to our students’ full and busy lives.
Ideally, a student educated within Southeastern’s Christian academic community displays these abilities and experiences:
- communicates with assessed competence and clarity orally and in writing;
- demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and maturity necessary for the profession he or she has chosen;
- has acquired scholarly habits and can perform skilled research;
- has rendered, to the campus and the community, service appropriate to a Christian citizen;
- and demonstrates a broad cultural perspective informed by a Christian worldview.
Saying “yes” to Christ, we believe, implies not only a zeal to serve but a commitment to excellence in every activity. Southeastern University seeks to graduate men and women who combine faith, compassion, and humility with self-discipline and careful thinking; who take seriously the Biblically-based obligation and privilege of being “the salt of the earth;” and who consequently approach every task — class assignment, volunteer project, internship experience, career - as an opportunity both to do well and to do good.
Southeastern University subscribes to the Statement of Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God. The university believes the Bible is the inspired and only infallible and authoritative written word of God; there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious atoning death, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, in His personal future return to this earth in power and glory to rule a thousand years; in the Blessed Hope — the rapture of the Church at Christ’s coming; the only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the precious blood of Christ; regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for personal salvation; the redemptive work of Christ on the cross provides healing of the human body in answer to believing prayer; the baptism in the Holy Spirit, according to Acts 2:4, is given to believers who ask for it; in the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a holy life; in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting damnation.
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 the 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, 2011, and 2021.
Southeastern made a historic transition from college to a university offering its first master’s programs in the fall of 2005. In 2014, the university began offering doctoral programs.
The campus has expanded to over twenty buildings. The university currently enrolls about 10,000 students between the main campus in Lakeland and 200 partner sites. Approximately 20,000 alumni call Southeastern their alma mater.
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’s main website.
Southeastern University’s main campus 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 80-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 120,000, 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.
Southeastern University partners with churches and organizations nationwide to offer degree programs and unique practical ministry experiences through extension sites and regional campuses. The following map demonstrates the national reach and impact of the university’s partner site program.
Between all of its delivery platforms, Southeastern University has an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students. Students are enrolled at the main campus, partner sites and online.
At the undergraduate level, approximately 2,400 students are enrolled at the Lakeland campus, where 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.
The Steelman Library provides over 370,000 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.
The Jerome E. Bolin Center, named in honor of Jerome E. Bolin, a benefactor of the university, provides a home for the Barnett College of Ministry and Theology, the television and radio studios, and classrooms.
The College of Education Building classrooms include the latest in education technology, and the building also houses a 130-seat lecture hall. Pathways School of Excellence, a private faith-based school for middle and high school-aged students with special needs is also housed in this building.
The College of Natural & Health Science Center opened a state-of-the-art health and science facility in the Fall of 2015. This building supports the General Biology, Biology Pre-Med, BSN Nursing, and Mathematics programs. In addition to supporting our science programs, this academic building also provides 14,369 square feet of additional classroom space for use with other academic programs.
Our most recently completed facility (Fall 2016), the Buena Vida complex, is a four-story, 125,000-square-foot live/learn facility that houses the following:
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
College of Arts and Media
Jannetides College of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership
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 house 400 students)
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 the 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 are committed 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.
Drug-Free School & Campus Policy
See the university’s main website for details.