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Mon, 09.24.1888

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

Original Building

*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 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 offered undergraduate degrees for traditional college students and distant learning students in a Continuing Studies Program. The school also offered adult education to help working adults gain undergraduate degrees. Saint Paul's College developed the Single Parent Support System, the only program of its kind in the United States.

The Single Parent Support System (SPSS) was an on-campus residential educational program designed for single parents with two or fewer children between two months to nine years old. The program required students to attend the college year-round full-time 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. Although supporters worked on plans to have St. Augustine's University in Raleigh, North Carolina, another historically black university of Episcopal heritage, acquire St Paul's.

This was abandoned in May 2013. Shortly after that, St. Paul's College reported to SACS that it would close on June 30, 2013. Saint Paul's eleven-building campus stood on 185 acres (0.75 km2) of green hills. Older buildings were constructed by students and donated by friends of the college. The college was on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2017 the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which had assumed ownership of most of the former campus, sold the property to a Chinese firm that has not announced its plans.

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