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Mon, 09.24.1888

St. Paul’s Normal and Industrial School of Virginia Opens

*Saint Paul's Normal and Industrial School opened its doors on this date in 1888.  They were a private, Historically Black College and University (HBCU).   

Archdeacon James S. Russell of the Episcopal Church founded St. Paul Normal and Industrial school.  Located in Lawrenceville, Virginia, it was originally created for training students as teachers for agricultural and industrial work.  In 1941, they received a name change to St. Paul’s Polytechnic Institute.   In a final name change in 1957, they became St. Paul’s College. 

Saint Paul's College, they offered undergraduate degrees for traditional college students and distant learning students in a Continuing Studies Program. The school also offered adult education to help assist working adults to gain undergraduate degrees. Saint Paul's College developed the Single Parent Support System, the only program of its kind in the United States. Initiated in 1987, the Single Parent Support System (SPSS) was an on-campus residential educational program designed for single parents with two or fewer children between the ages of two months to nine years old.  

The program required students to attend the college year-round on a full-time basis and maintain a projected graduation progression of three to four years, with a 2.5 G.P.A. each year. A significant aspect of the SPSS was a faculty mentoring system that assisted participants with choosing a major. Tutorial assistance and counseling services were available, and the college provided seminars that focused on academic success, transition to college, career planning, and parenting. The college also provided childcare assistance.  

The college had long struggled with significant financial difficulties, culminating in a court conflict in 2012 with its regional accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Throughout the 2012–2013 school year, the college sought to merge with another institution, but on June 3, 2013, the board announced the college would close on June 30, 2013.  



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