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*This date in 1895 marks the founding of Bluefield State College.
One of over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in America, it was established as a Black teacher's college by an act of the West Virginia Legislature. In February of that year, Senator William M. Mahood sponsored the bill.
To offset segregated public schools in the coal camps, mindful black and white citizens worked together to establish Bluefield Colored Institute, a "high-graded school for Negroes". The new school, assisted by the federal Morrill Act, was to be located on four acres on the north side of the Norfolk and Western Railway's massive Pocahontas Division rail yards in Bluefield, a central location within 100 miles of 70% of West Virginia's Black citizens.
Bluefield Colored Institute began with 40 pupils under the supervision of Hamilton Hatter, Bluefield State's first president, although he was denied the prestigious title instead of serving as "principal." Hatter oversaw the construction of Mahood Hall, the administrative building, and Lewis Hall and West Hall dormitories. Hatter was an energetic leader who built the foundation of the College. Bluefield State College was integrated after 1954. By the 1960's they had a comprehensive four-year teacher education program, arts and sciences, and engineering technology.
Gradually a variety of two-year technical programs were developed in response to local needs. Bluefield State College has emerged as a four-year state-supported commuter college serving southeastern West Virginia with a primary driving force in the direction of career, technical, two and four-year programs. The liberal arts offerings are focused on enhancing its unique mission. The college offers baccalaureate and associate degrees. Also, they have instructional programs in engineering technologies, business, teacher education, arts and sciences, nursing and health science professions, and various career fields.
Students may complete the non-traditional Regents Bachelor of Arts through Bluefield State College. The school's strength is the two-plus-two design of many of its baccalaureate-level curricula, whereby the two years completed for an associate degree are completely applicable to the baccalaureate degree. Bluefield State College is also dedicated to offering various off-campus courses.
The Community and Technical College component of Bluefield State College focuses on the career-technical objectives of the institution. It works within a seven-county region of southeast West Virginia, including Mercer, Greenbrier, Monroe, McDowell, Raleigh, Pocahontas, and Summers. The Community and Technical College component presents certificates, associate degrees, and many plus two baccalaureate degrees.
The Center for Economic Enhancement and Occupational Skill Development provides educational opportunities for customized job training seminars. Also, workshops for current and future business and industry employees are offered through Bluefield’s community enrichment programs.