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Mon, 01.09.1865

Bowie State University is Founded

*On this date, in 1865, Bowie State University (BSU) was founded.  Bowie State University is a public historically black university (HBCU) in Prince George's County, Maryland, north of Bowie. It is part of the University System of Maryland. Bowie State is Maryland's oldest HBCU and one of the ten oldest in America. Bowie State is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.  

Bowie State University was founded by the Baltimore Association for the Moral and Educational Improvement of Colored People as a teaching school. The school first used space at the African Baptist Church at Calvert Street and Sarasota Street in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1867, a dedicated facility was purchased nearby Sarasota Street and Courtland Street, and the school was formally named the Baltimore Normal School for Colored Teachers. After being reorganized in 1883 as the Baltimore Normal School, it educated Blacks to be teachers for Black students until 1908. At that time, the school became a state institution of teaching under the Maryland State Department of Education. It was re-designated as Normal School No. 3.  In 1910, the school moved to the Jericho Farm, 187-acre campus in Prince George’s County. About 60 students lived in the old farmhouse.  

The school was renamed in 1914 the Maryland Normal and Industrial School at Bowie. A two-year professional degree was added in 1925, a three-year program in 1931, a four-year program for elementary school teachers in 1935, a four-year program for junior high school teachers in 1951, and a four-year program for secondary school teachers in 1961.  In recognition of its principal role, the school was renamed in 1935 Maryland Teachers College at Bowie.  In 1963, Bowie State College was officially named a liberal arts school with additional majors in English, history, and social science, although emphasis remained on teacher education. A Master's degree in education was added in 1969.  

The school was renamed Bowie State University in 1988 as a member of the University System of Maryland.  In the subsequent decades, Bowie continued to expand, especially in professional and STEM fields. In 1992, it became the first HBCU to expand overseas, with graduate programs for military personnel stationed abroad.  By 2017, the school offered 20+ undergraduate majors and 30+ advanced degrees or certificate programs.  In 2015 Bowie State University ranked #61 on the Economist magazine's first-ever rating of Colleges in America list, and BSU was #1 in the State of Maryland.  They have 22 undergraduate majors, 19 master’s programs, two doctoral programs, and 14 certificate programs in disciplines as diverse as computer science, education, human resource development, organizational communication, and nursing.  

In partnership with the University of Maryland University College, it became the first HBCU to include overseas studies. It was also the first university in the nation to offer a bachelor's degree in pedology. The university is home to The Maryland Center, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1998 to provide community services. In partnership with the federal General Services Administration, the campus hosts the Bowie State University Telecommuting Center.  Bowie State University offers an honors program for academically talented and ambitious undergraduate students. The campus comprises 23 buildings with more than 988,897 square feet of space. It is located in Bowie, Maryland, between the metropolitan areas of Baltimore (25 miles) and Washington D.C. (17 miles). An on-campus MARC Train station and Metrobus stops provide access to local transit. There are Wi-Fi and public computer labs across campus for student use.  

Twenty-three percent of students live on campus in seven residence halls. Campus events include cultural performances, lectures, and sporting events. The oldest building still in use is Harriet Tubman Hall., built-in 1921. The 85,000 square foot (7,900 m2) Student Union Building, which replaced the old Wiseman Center, was inaugurated in 2013.  Other recent improvements to the campus have been the $71 million Fine & Performing Arts Center, with 123,000 square feet for art, music, dance, and theater programs, replacing the former Martin Luther King, Jr., Arts Center.  The $17.6 million Center for Business and Graduate Studies houses the College of Business, Graduate School, Graduate Admissions Office, the BSU Entrepreneurship Academy, and the Bowie Business Innovation Center, the first business accelerator to open at a Maryland HBCU.  On campus, the Bowie State Satellite Operations Control Center is an orbiting satellite operation and control center, allowing students to gain hands-on experience. In 2003, the center went fully operational. It is a joint venture operated by the university, the Honeywell Corporation, and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.   

In September 2007, the university began negotiations with Prince George's County for the transfer of 214 acres of land to the school. The addition of this land would increase the size of the university by 63%. The main focus for the land is the development of additional student dorms. The land will also be used to establish several retail businesses that will cater to students and the community. Bowie State has many academic clubs, fraternities, honor societies, organizations, sororities, and student associations on-campus. The computer, education, French, and history clubs are examples of academic clubs. The art guild, concert and marching bands, jazz and brass ensembles, and others allow students to explore the fine and performing arts.  

As of 2017, Bowie State has one student newspaper: The Spectrum.  BSU-TV Channel 74 is a cable television station that broadcasts around the clock for the BSU community.  The Bowie State radio station is WBSU.  They have converted from analog to digital technology.  The Symphony of Soul, also known as SOS, is the name of the marching/concert/pep band at Bowie State University.  Each year, the SOS takes a trip to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to perform for the Montreal Alouettes. During the fall, students always expect the usual impromptu parade through the campus by the SOS. They were also a part of the NFL 2007-2008 season opener as they performed the National Anthem with Aretha Franklin and was featured in the Original Battle of the Bands held at RFK Stadium.  




Black American Colleges and Universities:
Profiles of Two-Year, Four-Year, & Professional Schools
by Levirn Hill, Pub., Gale Group, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-864984-2

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