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Sun, 04.07.1867

Johnson C. Smith University is Founded

*On this date in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University was founded. It is one of over 100 Historically Black colleges and Universities (HBCU) 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 name of the school 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 to revamp, expand, and to create new areas of service.

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 & 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.

Today 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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