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Sat, 05.27.1837

Cheyney University is Founded

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1837 on this date. Though not issuing degrees when founded, it is the oldest American institution of higher education founded for Black students. It is one of the more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the United States.

Originally named the Institute for Colored Youth it was founded in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; soon after moving to Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and changing its name to Cheyney.   It holds a unique position within the American higher education community. It was established in 1837 through a bequest from Richard Humphreys, a Philadelphia Quaker, who wished to see that young people "of African descent" have access to education.  Located first in Philadelphia, the institution was moved to its present location (25 miles west of the city) in 1903.

After more than 80 years under the direction of a Quaker Board of Managers, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the college in 1922.  In 1983, the college became part of the newly formed State System of Higher Education and became Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Cheyney University is a broad, coeducational public institution that grants Bachelor’s degrees in 28 programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, and the Bachelor of Science in Education. It also offers Master’s degrees in five programs that lead to the Master of Education and the Master of Science.

Its graduate programs provide certification for post-baccalaureate teacher education programs in 12 areas. Cheyney University is a fully accredited member of the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Among the special resources at the school is the Leslie Pinckney Hill Library. The Ethnic Studies Collection is a notable attraction and the entire Schomburg Collection of material on Black history and literature is available on microfilm.  Notable Alumni include broadcast journalist Ed Bradley.

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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