Brainy Quote of the Day

Friday, February 22, 2019

February Twenty-Two...

Savannah State University - Normal Class of 1900
Topics: African Americans, Civil Rights, Education, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Rust College

RUST COLLEGE was established in 1866 by the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Its founders were missionaries from the North who opened a school in Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, accepting adults of all ages, as well as children, for instruction in elementary subjects. A year later the first building on the present campus was erected.

In 1870, the school was chartered as Shaw University, honoring the Reverend S.O. Shaw, who made a gift of $10,000 to the new institution. In 1892, the name was changed to Rust University to avoid confusion with another Shaw University. The name was a tribute to Richard S. Rust of Cincinnati, Ohio, Secretary of the Freedman's Aid Society. In 1915, the title was changed to the more realistic name, Rust College.

As students progressed, high school and college courses were added to the curriculum, and in 1878 two students were graduated from the college department. As public schools for Negroes became more widespread the need for private schools decreased, and in 1930 the grade school was discontinued. The high school continued to function until 1953.

Saint Paul's College (closed 2013)

Saint Paul’s College, the beleaguered HBCU in Lawrenceville, Va., will cease operation on June 30, according to its board of trustees.

A spokesperson for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) confirmed that Belle S. Wheelan, president of the regional accrediting body, had received a May 28, letter from the chairman of the board of trustees at Saint Paul’s College notifying her of the decision to close the 125-year-old institution. Efforts to reach Board Chairman Oliver W. Spencer Jr., were unsuccessful.

In recent years, SACS cited Saint Paul’s for a series of deficiencies and violations, among them the lack of financial stability and too many faculty without terminal degrees. The college was eventually stripped of its accreditation. A federal judge later issued a preliminary injunction, allowing the college to keep its accreditation on a probationary basis so that Saint Paul’s could continue to enroll students and hold classes. It opened last fall with about 111 students.

During a two-year probation, the private college struggled, but couldn't fix what accreditors found lacking at the institution that largely serves low-income, first-generation students. Saint Paul’s struggled to rebound. Student enrollment continued to tumble, slipping below 100 and the money it raised from gifts, alumni donations, and desperate appeals, never seemed to be enough for the fledgling college to thrive.

Savannah State University

Savannah State University (SSU) is the oldest public historically black college or university in the state of Georgia and the oldest institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. The school was established in 1890 as a result of the Second Morrill Land Grant Act, which mandated that southern and border states develop land-grant colleges for black citizens. Later that year, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation creating the Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youths, which served as Georgia’s 1890 land-grant institution until 1947. A preliminary session of the Georgia State Industrial College was held in the Baxter Street School Building in Athens, Ga., before moving to Savannah in October 1891. Richard R. Wright, Sr., was appointed the first president of the institution in 1891, which opened with five faculty members and eight students.

The college awarded its first degree in 1898 to Richard R. Wright, Jr., the son of the founding president and became the ninth president of Wilberforce University. Cyrus G. Wiley of the class of 1902 was the first alumnus to become college president in 1921, the same year the first female students were admitted as residents on campus. In 1928, the college became a four-year, degree-granting institution, ending its high school and normal school programs.

Upon the creation of the University System of Georgia (USG) in 1932, the college became one of the first members of the system and its name was changed to Georgia State College. Its name changed again in 1950 to Savannah State College, and the institution received initial accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 1955. The USG Board of Regents elevated the college to university status in 1996 and renamed the institution Savannah State University.

Selma University (ref site - no website available)

The institution was founded in 1878 as the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School to train African Americans as ministers and teachers. The school purchased the former Selma Fair Grounds later that same year, moving into the fair's old exposition buildings. Noted ministers such as William H. McAlpine, James A. Foster and R. Murrell were among the founders. At a meeting in Mobile, Alabama in 1874, the first trustees were elected: C. O. Booth, Alexander Butler, William H. McAlpine, Holland Thompson and H. J. Europe. The convention voted to locate the school in Selma in 1877. The school opened four years later in the Saint Phillips Street Baptist Church of Selma (which later became the First Baptist Church).

In 1881, the school was incorporated by an act of the legislature under the name of Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School of Selma. In 1886, Charles L. Purce succeeded Edward M. Brawley as president at Selma.[1] Purce was successful as president, and helped the university pay off a debt of $8,000. In 1894, he accepted the presidency of Simmons College of Kentucky, then known as the State University at Louisville.

On May 14, 1908, the name was officially changed to Selma University. Wikipedia

A Crumbling Foundation...

Topics: Biology, Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights

The U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant spent hours on end planning a wide-scale domestic terrorist attack, even logging in at his work computer on the job at headquarters to study the manifestos and heinous paths of mass shooters, prosecutors say. He researched how to carry out sniper attacks, they contend, and whether rifle scopes were illegal. And all the while, investigators assert, he was amassing a cache of weapons as he ruminated about attacks on politicians and journalists.

But Christopher P. Hasson was not an isolated figure, according to a contractor who worked with him. The 49-year-old lieutenant with more than two decades in the Coast Guard was part of a project to replace some aging cutters in the fleet, tasks that regularly required interacting with civilians and military officials at meetings and on travel.

Hasson was arrested on gun and drug charges after officials with the Coast Guard Investigative Service and agents with the FBI in Baltimore began probing activities that prosecutors said in court were linked to what they described as Hasson’s white-nationalist views. Federal law enforcement officials seized a stockpile of guns and ammunition from his basement apartment in the Maryland suburbs near Washington in the far east side of Silver Spring in Montgomery County.

Coast Guard lieutenant used work computers in alleged planning of widespread domestic terrorist attack, prosecutors say
By Lynh Bui, Dan Lamothe and Michael E. Miller


Synopsis:
Birth of a White Nation is a fascinating new book on race in America that begins with an exploration of the moment in time when "white people,” as a separate and distinct group of humanity, were invented through legislation and the enactment of laws.

The book provides a thorough examination of the underlying reasons as well as the ways in which “white people” were created. It also explains how the creation of this distinction divided laborers and ultimately served the interests of the elite. The book goes on to examine how foundational law and policy in the U.S. were used to institutionalize the practice of “white people” holding positions of power. Finally, the book demonstrates how the social construction and legal enactment of “white people” has ultimately compromised the humanity of those so labeled.

Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today
Jacqueline Battalora (Author)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

February Twenty-One...

Pointing to the Hill

Tradition and history is embedded deep within the royal roots of Prairie View A&M University. When we stand for the school’s official song we ” Point to the Hill”. The Hill in which is the highest point in the Waller County area.

Topics: African Americans, Civil Rights, Education, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Paul Quinn College

Paul Quinn College is a private, faith-based, four-year, liberal arts-inspired college that was founded on April 4, 1872, by a group of African Methodist Episcopal Church preachers in Austin, Texas. The school’s original purpose was to educate freed slaves and their offspring. Today, we proudly educate students of all races and socio-economic classes under the banner of our institutional ethos, WE over Me. Our mission is to provide a quality, faith-based education that addresses the academic, social, and Christian development of students.

Beginning in the fall of 2015, Paul Quinn College adopted a new student financial structure called the “New Urban College Model” which, among other characteristics, reduced student tuition and fees and provides students with the ability to graduate with less than $10,000 of student loan debt. The centerpiece of the New Urban College Model is Paul Quinn’s decision to become the country’s only urban Work College. There are currently eight work colleges in the nation. Paul Quinn is the ninth federally funded work college in the United States, the first Minority Serving Institution (“MSI”) in the Work College Consortium, and the first work college in Texas.

The vision of the Paul Quinn College Work Program is to transform ability into action and potential into achievement by encouraging all students to embrace the ideals of disciplined work, servant leadership, and initiative in preparation for lives of financial freedom, community engagement, and outstanding character.

Payne Theological Seminary

In 1844, Payne Theological Seminary opened in Wilberforce, Ohio. This institution was and remains affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Payne Theological Seminary was named after Daniel Payne, a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first president of Wilberforce University. This institution's primary mission is to educate future ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 2005, five students graduated from the Payne Theological Seminary with the degree of Master of Divinity, About

Payne also participates with the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in the exhibit: "What does it mean to be human?" Smithsonian Payne Media

Philander Smith College

Founded in 1877, Philander Smith College is the result of the first attempt west of the Mississippi River to make education available to freedmen (former African American slaves). The forerunner of the college was Walden Seminary, named in honor of Dr. J.M. Walden, one of the originators and the first corresponding secretary of the Freedmen's Aid Society.

In 1882, Dr. G.W. Gray, president of Little Rock University, the institution for the Arkansas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, met Mrs. Adeline Smith, widow of Mr. Philander Smith of Oak Park, Ill., while soliciting funds. The late Philander Smith had been a liberal donor to Asiatic Missions and had developed an interest in the work of the church in the South. In making her gift to Dr. Gray, Mrs. Smith designated $10,500 for Walden Seminary. The trustees accepted the gift and gave it special recognition by changing the name of the struggling Walden Seminary to Philander Smith College. A new site for the school had already been purchased at Eleventh and Izard Streets. The gift made by Mrs. Smith was a significant contribution towards the construction of Budlong Hall, the first brick building on the new site.

Philander Smith College was chartered as a four-year college on March 3, 1883. The first baccalaureate degree was conferred in 1888. The first president, the Rev. Thomas Mason, resigned in 1896. He was succeeded by a member of the faculty of the college, the Rev. James Monroe Cox, professor of ancient languages. Dr. Cox retired from the presidency of the college in 1924, and was succeeded by the Rev. George Collins Taylor, a graduate of the college. Dr. Taylor served as president from 1924 to 1936.

Prairie View A&M University

Prairie View A&M University, the first state supported College in Texas for African Americans, was established during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War. This was an historical period in which political and economic special interest groups were able to aggressively use the Federal Government to establish public policy, in an attempt to “alter or reshape the cultural milieu of the vanquished southern states”. The University had its beginnings in the Texas Constitution of 1876, which, in separate articles, established an “Agricultural and Mechanical College” and pledged that “Separate schools shall be provided for the white and colored children, and impartial provisions shall be made for both.” As a consequence of these constitutional provisions, the Fifteenth Legislature established “Alta Vista Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas for Colored Youth” on August 14,1876.

The Board of Directors purchased the lands of the Alta Vista Plantation (1388 acres), from Mrs. Helen Marr Kirby, the widow of the late Col. Jared Ellison Kirby, for the establishment of the State Agriculture & Mechanical College of Texas for Colored Youth. The College was named “Alta Vista Agriculture & Mechanical College for Colored Youth”. The A&M Board of Directors was authorized to appoint a President of A&M College and Alta Vista College with an assigned principal station at Alta Vista to administer the college’s day to day affairs. Confederate President Jefferson Davis recommended Mr. Thomas S. Gathright of Mississippi, also from Mississippi and he brought Mr. L.W. Minor, of Mississippi to serve as Principal. Eight young African American men, the first of their race to enroll in a state-supported college in Texas, began their studies on March 11, 1878.

Dorothy Vaughn...

Portrait of Dorothy Vaughan
Credits: Courtesy Vaughan Family

Topics: African Americans, Civil Rights, Education, Human Rights, NASA, Women's Rights, Women in Science

Date of Birth: September 20, 1910
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Education: B.A., Mathematics, Wilberforce University, 1929
Hired by NACA: December 1943
Retired from NASA: 1971
Date of Death: November 10, 2008
Actress Playing Role in Hidden Figures: Octavia Spencer

In an era when NASA is led by an African American man (Administrator Charles Bolden) and a woman (Deputy Administrator Dava Newman), and when recent NASA Center Directors come from a variety of backgrounds, it's easy to overlook the people who paved the way for the agency's current robust and diverse workforce and leadership. Those who speak of NASA's pioneers rarely mention the name Dorothy Vaughan, but as the head of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) segregated West Area Computing Unit from 1949 until 1958, Vaughan was both a respected mathematician and NASA's first African-American manager.

Dorothy Vaughan came to the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1943, during the height of World War II, leaving her position as the math teacher at Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, VA to take what she believed would be a temporary war job. Two years after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 into law, prohibiting racial, religious and ethnic discrimination in the country's defense industry, the Laboratory began hiring black women to meet the skyrocketing demand for processing aeronautical research data. Urgency and twenty-four hour shifts prevailed-- as did Jim Crow laws which required newly-hired "colored" mathematicians to work separately from their white female counterparts. Dorothy Vaughan was assigned to the segregated "West Area Computing" unit, an all-black group of female mathematicians, who were originally required to use separate dining and bathroom facilities. Over time, both individually and as a group, the West Computers distinguished themselves with contributions to virtually every area of research at Langley.

NASA Biography: Dorothy Vaughn

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

February Twenty...

Destination Preeminence: Aggies DO!

Topics: African Americans, Civil Rights, Education, Human Rights, Women's Rights

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is an academic community focused on students—providing them with interdisciplinary learning opportunities, teaching them with faculty renowned for excellence, connecting them to cutting edge discoveries in research, and encouraging them to serve their communities.

We were founded in 1891 as a land-grant institution, and we've built a strong civil rights legacy along the way. The Greensboro Four—who staged the first ever sit-in at a Woolworth lunch counter in 1960—were NC A&T students.

We strive for excellence and innovation in our curriculum, promote partnerships with public and private entities, and foster a learning environment that focuses less on transmitting information and more on the ability to organize, assess, apply, and create knowledge.

Our campus sits on 200 beautiful acres in Greensboro, NC, and includes a 600-acre university farm. Our enrollment is more than 10,000 students and our workforce includes more than 2,000 employees.

From our roots as an 1890 land-grant university, we have expanded and adapted to become a school fit for the 21st century and beyond.

N.C. A&T still has award-winning faculty, intensive research programs and community-focused initiatives — but now our campus is more diverse, our curriculum includes nanoengineering and our idea of public service encompasses not only Greensboro, but the world.

We believe in the power of our students to solve problems, both local and global, through technology, business, engineering, the arts and other endeavors. We believe that through exemplary instruction and interdisciplinary studies, through scholarly and creative research, and through courage and community service, N.C. A&T prepares students to enhance the quality of life for themselves, the citizens of North Carolina, the nation, and the world.

North Carolina Central University

In 1910, Dr. James E. Shepard, a Durham pharmacist and religious educator, opened the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race and declared its purpose to be “the development in young men and women of the character and sound academic training requisite for real service to the nation.”

The institution struggled financially in its early years. In 1915, it was sold and reorganized, then becoming the National Training School. In 1923, the state legislature appropriated funds to buy the school and renamed it the Durham State Normal School. Two years later, the legislature converted the institution into the North Carolina College for Negroes, dedicating it to liberal arts education and the preparation of teachers and principals. The college thus became the nation’s first state-supported liberal arts college for black students.

In 1939, the college offered its first graduate-level courses in the arts and sciences. The School of Law opened in 1940, followed in 1941 by the School of Library Science. In 1947, the legislature changed the name to North Carolina College at Durham. Shepard served as president until his death in 1947. Dr. Alfonso Elder was installed in 1948 as his successor.

North Carolina College at Durham became North Carolina Central University in 1969. On July 1, 1972, all the state’s public four-year colleges and universities were joined to become the Consolidated University of North Carolina. As part of the transition, the chief executive’s title changed from president to chancellor.

Dr. Albert N. Whiting presided over the transition, leading the university from 1967 until 1983. He was succeeded by Dr. LeRoy T. Walker, vice chancellor for university relations and an internationally renowned track and field coach. Dr. Tyronza R. Richmond succeeded Walker in 1986; Richmond’s tenure saw the establishment of the School of Education.

Oakwood University

The mission of Oakwood University, a historically black, Seventh-day Adventist institution, is to transform students through biblically-based education for service to God and humanity.

Oakwood University, in Huntsville, Ala., was founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) in 1896 to educate the recently-freed African-Americans of the South. Drawing upon its Christian faith and the emancipation of slaves by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, it believed that “all people are created equal” and deserved the opportunity to learn a trade.

Originally, the school was called “Oakwood Industrial School,” opening its doors November 16, with 16 students. A year earlier, the 380-acre former slave plantation was purchased for $6,700. Its towering oak trees – which gave way to the name “Oakwood” – dotted the early residence of America’s most famous slave, Dred Scott. Additional land was acquired in 1918, nearly tripling the campus size to its current 1,186 acres.

Paine College

Paine College was founded by the leadership of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now United Methodist Church, and the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, now Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Paine was the brainchild of Bishop Lucius Henry Holsey, who first expressed the idea for the College in 1869. Bishop Holsey asked leaders in the ME Church South to help establish a school to train Negro teachers and preachers so that they might in turn appropriately address the educational and spiritual needs of the people newly freed from the evils of slavery. Leaders in the ME Church South agreed, and Paine Institute came into being.

On November 1, 1882, the Paine College Board of Trustees, consisting of six members, three from each Church, met for the first time. They agreed to name the school in honor of the late Bishop Robert Paine of the MECS who had helped to organize the CME Church. In December, the Trustees selected Dr. Morgan Callaway as the first President of the College and enlarged the Board from six to nineteen members, drawing its new membership from communities outside of Georgia so that the enterprise might not be viewed as exclusively local.

Bishop Holsey traveled throughout the Southeast seeking funds for the new school. On December 12, 1882, he presented the Trustees of Paine Institute with $7.15 from the Virginia Conference and $8.85 from the South Georgia Conference. In that same month, Reverend Atticus Haygood, a minister of the ME Church South, gave $2,000 to support President Callaway through the first year. Thus, a $2,000 gift from a white minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and $16 raised by a CME minister – penny by penny from former slaves - became the financial basis for the founding of Paine College.

Dr. Percy L. Julian...

Percy Julian in the Minshall Laboratory at DePauw University during his tenure as a research fellow.
Courtesy DePauw University Archives.

Topics: African Americans, Chemistry, Civil Rights, Diversity in Science, Education, History, Human Rights

In 1935, in Minshall Laboratory, DePauw alumnus Percy L. Julian (1899-1975) first synthesized the drug physostigmine, previously only available from its natural source, the Calabar bean. His pioneering research led to the process that made physostigmine readily available for the treatment of glaucoma. It was the first of Julian’s lifetime of achievements in the chemical synthesis of commercially important natural products.

Percy L. Julian and Chemistry at DePauw University
The early 1930s was a time of great chemical research productivity at DePauw. It was in this decade that William M. Blanchard, Dean of the University, hired Percy Julian as a research fellow. Blanchard, who also served as head of the chemistry department, had been Julian's mentor during his undergraduate years at DePauw. Julian had received a Ph.D. degree in Vienna in 1931 and was in need of a position in which he could continue his research career. The DePauw chemistry program he joined in 1933 had roots that extended back to 1839 when the university was Asbury College and chemistry was offered as a natural science course taught by the president, Matthew Simpson. Chemistry became a distinct department in 1881 under the direction of Phillip S. Baker. The department prospered and a chemistry major was established in 1896. Percy Julian graduated from this program in 1920.

As a research fellow from 1932 to 1935, Julian, working with his colleague from Vienna, Josef Pikl, and several DePauw students, produced a phenomenal number of high-quality research papers. One such paper appeared in the April 1935 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. This paper, entitled "Studies in the Indole Series V. The Complete Synthesis of Physostigmine (Eserine)," which explained how Julian synthesized physostigmine, is undoubtedly the most significant chemical research publication to come from DePauw. The student and faculty collaborative approach, promoted by Julian, has continued to the present, and today most of the research at DePauw is done in collaboration with students.

Physostigmine is a parasympathomimetic, specifically, a reversible cholinesterase inhibitor which effectively increases the concentration of acetylcholine at the sites of cholinergic transmission. Physostigmine is used to treat glaucoma. Source: Drug Bank

Percy L. Julian and the Synthesis of Physostigmine
American Chemical Society
National Historic Chemical Landmark

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

February Nineteen...

April D. Ryan - American Urban Radio Network, CNN White House Correspondent, Morgan State University Alumni
Photo - Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta: "The Presidency in Black and White: My Up Close View of the White House and Race in America"
Topics: African Americans, Civil Rights, Education, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Morgan State University

Founded in 1867 as the Centenary Biblical Institute by the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the institution's original mission was to train young men in ministry. It subsequently broadened its mission to educate both men and women as teachers. The school was renamed Morgan College in 1890 in honor of the Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of its Board of Trustees, who donated land to the college. Morgan awarded its first baccalaureate degree to George F. McMechen in 1895. McMechen later obtained a law degree from Yale and eventually returned to Baltimore, where he became a civic leader and one of Morgan's strongest financial supporters.

In 1915 the late Andrew Carnegie gave the school a conditional grant of $50,000 for the central academic building. The terms of the grant included the purchase of a new site for the College, payment of all outstanding obligations, and the construction of a building to be named after him. The College met the conditions and moved to its present site in northeast Baltimore in 1917. Carnegie Hall, the oldest original building on the present MSU campus, was erected two years later.

Morgan remained a private institution until 1939. That year, the state of Maryland purchased the school in response to a state study that determined that Maryland needed to provide more opportunities for its black citizens.

From its beginnings as a public campus, Morgan was open to students of all races. By the time it became a public campus, the College had become a relatively comprehensive institution. Until the mid-1960s, when the state's teachers colleges began their transition to liberal arts campuses, Morgan and the University of Maryland College Park were the only two public campuses in the state with comprehensive missions.

Morris Brown College

Morris Brown College, founded in 1881 by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, is a private, coeducational, liberal arts college engaged in teaching and public service with special focus in leadership, management, entrepreneurship and technology. The College is proud of its tradition of serving the educational needs of the best and brightest young minds, while simultaneously providing educational support to students who might not otherwise receive the opportunity to compete on the college level. Students fitting the latter are given the tools they need to increase their potential for earning a college degree.

This is a formula that has proven itself time and again. Among our outstanding alumni are Isaac Blythers, former President of Atlanta Gas Light Company; Eula L. Adams, Executive Vice President for First Data Corporation; Albert J. Edmonds, Retired Lieutenant General of the United States Air Forces; the late Reverend Dr. Hosea Williams, civil rights leader; Thomas J. Byrd, actor of television, film and stage; and Pulitzer prize-winning author, James A. McPherson. Adams and Edmonds were cited recently by Fortune Magazine among the nation’s top African-American corporate executives. The list of our graduates and their accolades go on and on.

Morris College

Under authorization granted by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina in 1906, Morris College was established in 1908 "for the Christian and Intellectual Training of Negro youth." This action signaled the beginning of a heroic venture in higher education by a group of men and women less than a half century removed from the blight of American slavery. The majority of these "founding fathers" were poor and without any formal learning, but they possessed an "unfaltering faith in God and a zeal to provide for others the educational opportunities they themselves were denied."

On April 12, 1911, the college received a certificate of incorporation from the state of South Carolina. Initially, Morris College provided schooling on the elementary, high school, and college levels. The college curriculum included programs in liberal arts, in "normal" education for the certification of teachers, and a theological program. In 1915, the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred on the first two graduates. The institution discontinued its "normal" program in 1929, its elementary school in 1930, and its high school in 1946.

During 1930-32, the school operated only as a junior college, but it resumed its full four-year program in 1933. The word "Negro" appearing in the original certificate of incorporation was eliminated on August 14, 1961 thereby opening the doors at Morris to students of all ethnic groups.

Norfolk State University

Norfolk State College was founded September 18, 1935. The College, brought to life in the midst of the Great Depression, provided a setting in which the youth of the region could give expression to their hopes and aspirations. At this founding, it was named the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University. In 1942, the College became the independent Norfolk Polytechnic College, and two years later an Act of the Virginia Legislature mandated that it become a part of Virginia State College. The College was able to pursue an expanded mission with even greater emphasis in 1956 when another Act of the Legislature enabled the institution to offer its first Bachelor's degree. The College was separated from Virginia State College and became fully independent in 1969. Subsequent legislative acts designated the institution as a university and authorized the granting of graduate degrees. In 1979, university status was attained.