Southern University

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Not to be confused with Sewanee: The University of the South. This article is about the main Southern University campus. For the system, see Southern University System.
Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
SouthernUniversityLogo 2.jpg
Southern University Logo
Established (1880-04-01) April 1, 1880 (age 134)
Type Public flagship university
Land grant
Endowment US$9.6 million[1]
Chancellor Flandus McClinton
President Ronald Mason
Provost Dr. Janet Rami (interim)
Admin. staff 1,465[2]
Students 7,313[3]
Location Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
30°31′29″N 91°11′24″W / 30.524674°N 91.190034°W / 30.524674; -91.190034Coordinates: 30°31′29″N 91°11′24″W / 30.524674°N 91.190034°W / 30.524674; -91.190034
Campus Urban; 512 acres (207 ha)
Former names Southern College
Colors Columbia Blue and Gold
Athletics NCAA Division I FCSSWAC
Nickname Jaguars

Southern University and A&M College is a historically black college located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Baton Rouge campus is located on Scott’s Bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in the northern section of the City of Baton Rouge. The campus encompasses 512 acres, with an agricultural experimental station on an additional 372-acre site, located five miles north of the main campus. The University is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the flagship institution of the Southern University System.


President William McKinley speaks at Southern University in New Orleans, 1901.

At the 1879 Louisiana State Constitutional Convention, African-American political leaders P. B. S. Pinchback, T. T. Allain, and Henry Demas proposed founding a higher education institution "for the education of persons of color." Louisiana before the American Civil War had an established class of free people of color, who were often property owners and educated; they kept that tradition for their children.

In April 1880, the Louisiana General Assembly chartered what was then called Southern College, originally located in New Orleans. Southern opened its doors on March 7, 1881 (1881-03-07) with twelve students. The school was held for a time at the former Israel Sinai Temple on Calliope Street, between St. Charles and Camp streets.

In 1890 the state legislature designated Southern as a land grant college for blacks, in order to continue to satisfy federal requirements under the land grant program to support higher education for all students in the state, despite having a segregated system. It established an Agricultural and Mechanical department. Because of continued growth and a lack of land for expansion, in 1914 the university relocated to what was then Scotlandville, along Scott's Bluff facing the Mississippi River and north of Baton Rouge. Now absorbed into the capital, this area is included as a historic destination of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

The first president of what is now known as Southern University at Baton Rouge was Dr. Joseph Samuel Clark. Clark, an African-American leader from Baton Rouge, presided over Baton Rouge College and the Louisiana Colored Teachers Association.

In 1921, the Louisiana Constitutional Convention authorized the reorganization and expansion of Southern University; Legislative Act 100 of 1922 provided that the institution be reorganized under the control of the State Board of Education. Clark presided over Southern University during its resulting expansion. Student enrollment grew from 47 to 500, and many of the school's early buildings were built during this time. Clark presided until his retirement in 1938.

His son Dr. Felton Grandison Clark was appointed as president that year. He generated considerable expansion, with 33 of 114 current buildings erected during his 30 years of tenure. The student enrollment grew from 500 to nearly 10,000 students. In addition, the State School for the Negro Deaf and Blind was established here in 1938, under supervision of Southern. In 1943, the university was visited by First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Under the segregated state education, LSU Law School had refused to admit African Americans. They filed a lawsuit to gain professional education. A special Louisiana Convention established a law program, now Southern University Law Center, in 1947 at Southern University. During Clark's tenure, Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) (1956) and Southern University at Shreveport/Bossier City (SUSLA) (1964) were founded. They were incorporated into the Southern University System in 1974.

In 1969, the university saw a changing of the guard, when Clark retired and Dr. Leon G. Netterville was selected as president. On November 16, 1972, Denver Smith and Leonard Brown, two students involved with "Students United", a student activist group, were shot and killed outside the Old Auditorium (now the Southern University Museum of Art). The murders have never been solved.

The institution continued to grow. In 1974 a special session in the Louisiana Legislature established the Southern University System, with Jesse N. Stone of Shreveport as its president. The Southern University System consists of Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, (SUBR); Southern University, New Orleans (SUNO); Southern University Law Center; Southern University Agricultural Center; and Southern University, Shreveport. SUSLA is a two-year, commuter college. The Southern University Museum of Art at Shreveport has also been designated as a destination of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

In 1978 the legislature merged the Southern School for the Deaf with the Louisiana School for the Deaf, moving the students temporarily into the Mayflower North Campus, during construction of the new South Campus. In 1985, they entered the new buildings in the South.

The Jetson Chair of Public Policy was endowed by former State Representative Kevin P. Reilly, Sr. and his wife Anna Lamar Switzer Reilly of Baton Rouge. Reilly is the former CEO of Lamar Advertising Company.

Representation in other media[edit]

The first season of the reality television series College Hill on BET premiered in 2004. It featured the Southern University campus.[citation needed]


Lake Kernan flows through the center of the campus and the Mississippi River forms its western boundary. Since 1960, buildings containing more than 2,000,000 square feet of floor area have been constructed. These buildings include:

  • F. G. Clark Activity Center
  • J. S. Clark Administration Building
  • E. N. Mayberry Dining Hall
  • Music Recital Hall
  • Isaac Greggs Band Hall
  • John B. Cade Library
  • School of Nursing Building
  • Health Research Wing of Lee Hall
  • Rodney G. Higgins Hall for Social Science
  • Augustus C. Blanks Hall for Special Education and Psychology
  • Baranco-Hill Student Health Center
  • College of Engineering Building, P.B.S. Pinchback.

The Smith-Brown Memorial Union, a 66,200-square feet multipurpose building which serves as a major center for extracurricular activities. The recently renovated Union features a 6 food court with popular food outlets; barber and beauty shops; television rooms; 12 bowling lanes; a game room for billiards, video games, and quiet games; an art gallery; a browsing room; a ballroom, meeting and conference rooms; and a U.S. Post Office. The building also houses offices for student organizations.

The F. G. Clark Activity Center has accommodations for theater, athletic events, conferences, convocations, and recreational activities. The building houses the Athletic Department.

The J. S. Clark Administration Building contains the offices of the Southern University Board of Supervisors, the Southern University System officers, the Chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus, and other campus administrative officers.

E. N. Mayberry Dining Hall contains the Magnolia Room, the Cypress Room, and the Oak Room, which is for student dining. Dunn Cafeteria is located in the Freshman Complex.[4]


Southern University main campus offers bachelors in 44 areas, 24 master's and 6 doctoral and one associate degree.


  • College of Agriculture, Family, and Consumer Sciences
    • Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences
    • Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics
    • Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences
      • Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design
      • Child Development
      • Dietetics
      • Food Science and Management
    • Bachelor of Science in Urban Forestry
  • College of Arts and Humanities
    • Bachelor of Arts in English
    • Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts
    • Bachelor of Arts in French
    • Bachelor of Arts in History
    • Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication
      • Broadcasting
      • Print
      • Public Relations
    • Bachelor of Music
    • Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
    • Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication
    • Bachelor of Arts in Theater
  • College of Business
    • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Economics
    • Bachelor of Science in Finance
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Management
    • Bachelor of Science in Electronic Business
    • Bachelor of Science in Marketing
  • College of Education
    • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • Bachelor of Arts in Special Education
    • Bachelor of Music Education
      • Instrumental
      • Piano and Vocal
    • Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education
      • Biology and General Science
      • Chemistry and General Science
      • English
      • French
      • Health and Physical Education
      • Mathematics and a Second Teaching Field
      • Physics and General Science
      • Social Studies and History
      • Spanish
    • Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • College of Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
    • Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology
    • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • College of Sciences
    • Bachelor of Science in Biology
    • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
      • Business Option
      • Scientific Option
    • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
    • Bachelor of Science in Physics
    • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
    • Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services
    • Bachelor of Science in Social Work
    • Bachelor of Science in Sociology
    • Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology
  • School of Nursing
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • The Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
    • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
    • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
    • Associate of Science in Law Enforcement


Master of Arts

  • Counselor Education
  • Mass Communication
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Social Sciences
    • Concentration in:
      • History
      • Political Science
      • Sociology

Master of Business Administration

  • Business Administration

Master of Science

  • Biology
  • Traditional Chemistry
  • Chemistry – Environmental Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Speech Language Pathology
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Urban Forestry

Master of Education

  • Administration & Supervision
  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Special Education

Master of Criminal Justice

  • Criminal Justice

Master of Public Administration

  • Public Administration

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Nursing

Master of Engineering

  • Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Public Policy
  • Science and Mathematics Education
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Nursing
  • Special Education
  • Urban Forestry

All Southern University programs are accredited and also are monitored by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Student activities[edit]


The Southern Jaguars and Lady Jaguars represent the university in NCAA intercollegiate athletics. Southern's sports teams participate in Division I (FCS for football) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Southern University and its northern Louisiana SWAC rival, Grambling State University, annually participate in the Bayou Classic on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day in New Orleans. NBC has carried the game live for over 20 years. In 2011, Southern became the first school handed a postseason ban in two sports (basketball and football) for failing to meet the NCAA's academic progress rate requirements.[5]

Southern's other most notable SWAC rivals are Jackson State and Texas Southern.

Southern University "Human Jukebox" Marching Band[edit]

The Southern Marching Band and Dancing Dolls in 2008

The Southern University marching band, nicknamed the "Human Jukebox", has been featured in television commercials, music videos and invited to participate in the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, Presidential Inauguration ceremonies and 5 Super Bowl halftime presentations. The band was also featured in the music video for the Jonas Brothers song, "Pom Poms". In 2008, The band was named "Best Dressed Marching Band" by, and named "#1 Band In The Nation" by USA Today. The band is well known for their powerful sound in the stands, precise, high stepping, and entertaining drills on the field, and as being the only HBCU marching band to feature one drum major during performances.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


External links[edit]