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Morgan State College was founded on this date in 1938. It is one of over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America (HBCU).
The school actually began in 1867 as the Centenary Biblical Institute. This happened through the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, whose original mission was to train young men in ministry. This goal was broadened to educate both men and women as teachers. The school was renamed Morgan College in 1890 in honor of the Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, the first chairman of its Board of Trustees, who donated land to the college. Morgan awarded its first baccalaureate degree to George F. McMechen in 1895.
In 1915, Andrew Carnegie gave the school a conditional grant of $50,000 for the central academic building. The terms of the grant were met and the college moved to its present site in northeast Baltimore in 1917. Carnegie Hall, the oldest original building on the present MSU campus, was erected two years later. Morgan remained a private institution until 1939. That year, the state of Maryland purchased the school to provide more opportunities for its Black citizens.
From its beginnings as a public campus, Morgan was open to students of all races. By the time it became a public campus, the college had become a relatively inclusive institution. Until the mid-1960s, when the state's teachers colleges began their transition to liberal arts campuses, Morgan and the University of Maryland College Park were the only two public campuses in the state with inclusive missions. In 1975, the State Legislature designated Morgan as a university, gave it the authority to offer doctorates, and provided for it to once again have its own governing board.
In 1988, Maryland reorganized its higher education structure and strengthened its coordinating board, the Higher Education Commission. The campuses in the state college system became part of the University of Maryland System. Morgan and St. Mary's College of Maryland were the only public baccalaureate-granting institutions authorized to have their own governing boards. The legislation also strengthened Morgan's authority to offer advanced programs and designated the campus as Maryland's Public Urban University.
Black American Colleges and Universities:
Profiles of Two-Year, Four-Year, & Professional Schools
by Levirn Hill, Pub., Gale Group, 1994