LenoirâRhyne University is a co-educational, private liberal arts university founded in 1891 and located in Hickory, North Carolina, USA. The university is affiliated with the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). In 2013, additional campuses were added. A graduate school in downtown Asheville, NC and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC bring the total student population in all 3 campuses to over 2,833, faculty to over 137 full-time and 55 adjunt/instructors and staff to 241 in the 2017-18 school year. A new Physician Assistant (PA) program and a new criminal justice major was added in 2016, and US. News and World Report ranked the university as the 16th Best Buy in the South in 2016. The freshman retention rate for 2015-16 was 66%. For the same period, the student to faculty ratio was 12:1, with 71% of the classes having less than 20 students (positive benchmark) . In 2017-18 LenoirâRhyne enrolled over 2,800 students of whom over 1,800 were undergraduates with a gender distribution of 35.6 percent male students and 64.4 percent female students. 44 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 56 percent of students live off campus. LenoirâRhyne University participates in Division II NCAA athletics.