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Sat, 07.20.1878

Selma University is Founded

*Selma University's founding is celebrated on this date in 1878.  They are a private and historically Black Baptist Bible college (HBCU).   

It is located in Selma, Alabama, and is affiliated with the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention. The institution was founded as the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School to train Blacks as ministers and teachers. Mansfield Tyler was its first administrator.

The school purchased the former Selma Fair Grounds later that same year, moving into the fair's old exposition buildings. Noted ministers such as William H. McAlpine, James A. Foster, and R. Murrell were among the founders. At a meeting in Mobile, Alabama, in 1874, the first trustees were elected: C. O. Booth, Alexander Butler, William H. McAlpine, Holland Thompson, and H. J. Europe. The convention voted to locate the school in Selma in 1877.

The school opened four years later in the Saint Phillips Street Baptist Church of Selma (which later became the First Baptist Church).  In 1886, Charles L. Purce succeeded Edward M. Brawley as president at Selma.  He helped the university pay off a debt of $8,000. In 1894, he accepted the presidency of Simmons College of Kentucky, then known as the State University at Louisville.  

On May 14, 1908, the name was officially changed to Selma University.  In the late 1980s, Selma University developed from a four-year bachelor's program in religion and a two-year liberal arts program to a four-year institution.  In 1988, the science complex was expanded with an annex that houses an auditorium, several instructional laboratories, and two computer facilities, with offices for faculty.

The computer-equipped writing laboratory in Dinkins Hall, the mathematics laboratory in the Science addition (completed in 1989), and the expanded library facility, which houses a center for audiovisual instruction and computer-aided self-study (completed in 1990), are among the more significant improvements to the campus.  In 2000, Selma University began transforming from a Christian liberal arts college to a Bible college.  On February 20, 2009, Selma University received Initial Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education in Canada and the United States.  

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