Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

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Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
Cheyney University shield.png
Established 1837
Type Public
President Michelle R. Howard‐Vital, Ph.D.
Provost Bernadette Carter, Ed.D.
Dean Donna J. Parker, Ed.D.
Undergraduates 1,519[1]
Location Cheyney
Thornbury Township, Chester County and Thornbury Township, Delaware County
, Pennsylvania,
United States
Former names Institute for Colored Youth (1837–1913)
Cheyney State Normal School (1913–1921)
Cheyney State Teachers College (1921–1959)
Cheyney State College (1959–1983)
Colors Blue and white
         
Athletics NCAA
Sports Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball, Bowling, Men's Cross-Country, Women's Cross-Country, Football, Men's Track & Field, Women's Track & Field, Tennis, Volleyball
Nickname Wolves
Website www.cheyney.edu

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is a public, co-educational historically black university that is a part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Cheyney University has a 275-acre (1.11 km2) campus that is located in the Cheyney community within Thornbury Township, Chester County and Thornbury Township, Delaware County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Cheyney University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The university offers bachelors and masters degrees.[2]

History[edit]

Melrose Cottage, built in 1805.
Library

Founded as the African Institute in February 1837 and renamed the Institute of Colored Youth (ICY) in April 1837, Cheyney University claims to be the oldest African-American institution of higher learning.

Unlike Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) and some others HBCUs, Cheyney did not award degrees until 1914, when it adopted the curriculum of a normal school (teacher training). The African Institute was founded by Richard Humphreys, a Quaker philanthropist who bequeathed $10,000, one tenth of his estate, to design and establish a school to educate people of African descent.

Born on a plantation on Tortola, an island in the British West Indies, Humphreys came to Philadelphia in 1764. He became concerned about the struggles of free African Americans to make a living. News of a race riot in 1829 prompted Humphreys to write his will. He charged thirteen fellow Quakers to design an institution "to instruct the descendents of the African Race in school learning, in the various branches of the mechanic Arts, trades and Agriculture, in order to prepare and fit and qualify them to act as teachers ..."

Founded as the African Institute, the school was soon renamed the Institute for Colored Youth. In its early years, it provided training in trades and agriculture, as those were the predominant skills needed in the general economy. In 1902 the Institute moved to George Cheyney's farm, 25 miles (40 km) west of Philadelphia. The name "Cheyney" became associated with the school in 1913. The school's official name changed several times during the 20th century. In 1983, Cheyney joined the State System of Higher Education as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

The university was part of a lawsuit against the state government that was filed in 1980; it alleged that the state had unlawfully underfunded the historically black university. The suit was settled 19 years later in 1999, five years after the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights began investigating states "that once practiced segregation in higher education and were never officially found to have eliminated it."[3] In the settlement, the state agreed to provide $35 million to Cheyney over a five-year period; in comparison, the university had an annual budget of about $23 million at the time.[3]

Fourteen years later, in 2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer characterized the university as having "struggled for years with low enrollment and funding woes as have many other historically black universities." A group of students, alumni, and elected officials threatened to revive the 1980 lawsuit.[4]

The university offers baccalaureate degrees in more than 30 disciplines, and master’s degrees in education and public administration.

Athletics[edit]

Cheyney University has one of the most storied basketball programs in NCAA Division II history. The men's basketball program is 7th all-time in NCAA win percentage, including 16 PSAC conference championships, four Final Fours, and one National Championship (1978). The women's basketball team in 1982 competed in the championship game of the inaugural NCAA Division I tournament despite being a Division II school.

In 2009, Cheyney University hired the first ever NCAA men's and women's basketball coaches who are brother and sister. The men's coach is Dominique Stephens, a North Carolina Central University graduate and member of the NCAA Division II Basketball Championship team, and the women's coach is Marilyn Stephens, the Temple University Hall of Famer.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cheyney University of Pennsylvania". College Board. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  2. ^ Williams, Juan; Dwayne Ashley; Shawn Rhea (2004). I'll Find a Way or Make One: A Tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HarperCollins. p. 453. ISBN 978-0-06-009456-0. 
  3. ^ a b Patrick Healy (May 19, 1999). "Pennsylvania to Spend $35-Million on Cheyney U. as Part of Federal Anti-Bias Pact". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ Susan Snyder (September 23, 2013). "Cheyney coalition threatens to revive federal suit for fair funding". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°55′55″N 75°31′44″W / 39.932°N 75.529°W / 39.932; -75.529