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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.
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.