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Sun, 04.07.1867

Johnson C. Smith University is Founded

*On this date, 1867, Johnson C. Smith University was founded. It is among over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in America.

The Rev. S.C. Alexander and the Rev. W. L. Miller formally began the effort to open the school. It took place at a meeting of the Catawba Presbytery in the old Charlotte Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Mary D. Biddle of Philadelphia, Pa., pledged $1,400.

In appreciation, the school became Biddle Memorial Institute in 1923. From 1921 to 1922, the late Mrs. Jane Berry Smith of Pittsburgh, Pa., gave funds for the erection of a theological dormitory, a science hall, a teachers' cottage, and a memorial gate and provided a handsome endowment for the institution in memory of her late husband Johnson C. Smith.

In recognition, the Board of Trustees voted to change the school's name to Johnson C. Smith University.  In 1928, the institution attained the status of an independent college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. In 1932, the university's charter began to admit women to the senior division. Johnson C. Smith University joined the United Negro College Fund in 1944. This fund was organized primarily to help church-related schools of higher learning revamp, expand, and create new service areas.

The result was that many Academic Programs were added, including Applied Mathematics, Business Administration (Accounting, Banking, and Finance, Management Marketing), Biology, Chemistry, Communication Arts (Media, Public Relations and Organizational Communications, Journalism & Graphic Arts, Telecommunications), Computer Engineering, Computer Science/Engineering, Criminal Justice, Economics, Elementary Education, English, English Education, French, French Education, General Science, History, Health Education, Informational Systems, Liberal Arts, Mathematics, Mathematics Education, Music Business, Physical Education, Physics/Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, Sacred Music, Social Science, Social Studies Education, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish and Spanish Education Minors or Concentrations Engineering, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Law, Foreign Language, African American and African Studies, International Studies, Music, Religion, and Philosophy.

The 100-acre campus of Johnson C. Smith University can be found near Charlotte, N.C.




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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