Bluefield State College

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Not to be confused with Bluefield College.
Bluefield State College
Motto Making Education Possible
Established 1895
Type Public, HBCU
President Marsha Krotseng
Location Bluefield, West Virginia, United States
Campus Bluefield (main campus), Beckley, Lewisburg, Summersville and Welch, West Virginia
Colors Royal blue & gold
Athletics NCAA Division II
Nickname Big Blues
Mascot Big Blue
Bluefield State College Logo.png

Bluefield State College (BSC) is a historically black college located in Bluefield, West Virginia, United States. It is a part of West Virginia's public education system and offers baccalaureate and associate degrees. The only non-residential four-year college in the state system, Bluefield State administers the separately accredited New River Community and Technical College, which conducts classes throughout the southeastern part of West Virginia. Bluefield State College is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Even though it maintains its federal status as a historically black college, Bluefield State College is 90% white.[1]


History at a glance
Bluefield Colored Institute 1895-1932
Bluefield State Teachers College 1932-1943
Bluefield State College 1943–Present

According to its charter, the school was founded in 1895 as Bluefield Colored Institute and created as a high school for the Negro youth in the nearby area.[2] It later served as a teacher training school in the state's then-segregated system of education.

In the late 1920s, the students and staff of the school referred to it as "Bluefield Institute", but this name was never sanctioned by the West Virginia legislature.[3]

By September 1954, the state-supported colleges in West Virginia were integrated. Three white students (James Ernest Watkins, Joseph Tice and Douglas Ralph Whittaker) in a total body of 354 enrolled at Bluefield State.

By the 1960s, the College had a comprehensive four-year program of teacher education, arts and sciences, and engineering technology. Gradually a variety of two-year technical programs evolved in response to local needs.

During the late 1960s, black students protested that the state was transforming the school from a traditional black college to a white commuter college. One of the allegations made was that black faculty and staff were being fired and replaced by less qualified white personnel. On November 21, 1968, the racial tensions culminated in the bombing of the gymnasium. A $5,000 reward was offered by Governor Hulett C. Smith. Ironically, the administration responded by immediately closing the dormitories, which housed a significant percentage of the college's out-of-state black student population, hastening the transition to a predominantly white college.[4]

The Alpha House and President's House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]

In 2003, the school's two-year programs, except for those in nursing and engineering technology, were separated out from Bluefield State and became the foundation of the newly formed New River Community and Technical College.[6]


2009 Student body racial composition[7]
Category Percent
White 81.95%
Black 12.77%
Hispanic 0.90%
Asian 0.50%

Instructional programs are offered in engineering technologies, business, teacher education, arts and sciences, nursing and health science professions, and a variety of career fields. Students may also complete the non-traditional Regents Bachelor of Arts degree through Bluefield State College. The college is also dedicated to offering a wide variety of off campus courses at centers in Beckley, Lewisburg, Summersville and Welch, West Virginia.

As of 2009, Bluefield's student body is 60.58% female and 39.42% male.[7] Although Bluefield is a historically black college, its student body has the racial composition listed in the table.

Student life[edit]


Bluefield State's athletic teams, known as the Big Blues, compete in NCAA's Division II as a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference. They were a member of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference until the conference's dissolution, then went independent until being granted membership into the ECAC. Their sponsored sports are men's and women's basketball, baseball, tennis and cross-country, men's golf and women's volleyball.

The college fielded a football team until 1981. In 1927 and 1928, Bluefield State was voted the Black college football national champion by the Pittsburgh Courier. Ray Kemp was the team's coach for an extended period of time beginning in 1934.

There are also several intramural sports including swimming, mixed martial arts, soccer, bowling and flag football.

Greek Life[edit]

Bluefield State College currently hosts two fraternities (Lambda Chi Omega and Delta Sigma Tau) and three sororities (Delta Chi Omega, Phi Sigma Zeta, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.).



  1. ^ Meraji, Shereen Marisol; Gene Demby (October 18, 2013). "The Whitest Historically Black College In America". NPR. 
  2. ^ Ambler, Charles H. (1951). A History of Education in West Virginia: From Early Colonial Times to 1949. Huntington, W.V.: Standard Printing & Publishing Company. 
  3. ^ Sims, R.P. (March 1929). "Bluefield Institute". West Virginia Review (Virginia Law Review) 15 (8): 757. doi:10.2307/1065740. JSTOR 1065740. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  6. ^ New River Community and Technical College. "College History…". Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  7. ^ a b Pastel, Ralph (October 15, 2009). "STUDENT PROFILE ANALYSIS FALL 2009 CENSUS". BLUEFIELD STATE COLLEGE. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 

Further reading

External links[edit]