LeMoyne–Owen College

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LeMoyne-Owen College
Former names
LeMoyne College
Owen College
Motto "Gubernatio. Opportunitas. Inclino."
Motto in English
"Leadership. Opportunity. Change."
Type Private, HBCU
Established 1968
LeMoyne College - 1871
Owen College - 1947
Affiliation United Church of Christ
Endowment $13.4 million (2015)[1]
President Dr. Andrea Miller
Students 945
Location Memphis, TN, USA
35°07′18″N 90°02′06″W / 35.12175°N 90.03495°W / 35.12175; -90.03495Coordinates: 35°07′18″N 90°02′06″W / 35.12175°N 90.03495°W / 35.12175; -90.03495
Campus Urban
Colors Purple and Gold          
Nickname LOC
Mascot The Magicians
Website www.loc.edu

LeMoyne–Owen College("LOC" or simply "LeMoyne") is a fully accredited, four-year private historically black college located in Memphis, Tennessee, affiliated with the United Church of Christ. It resulted from the 1968 merger of historically black colleges and other schools established by northern Protestant missions during and after the American Civil War.


LeMoyne–Owen College was formed through the 1968 merger of LeMoyne College and Owen College, both private, historically black, church-affiliated colleges.[2]

LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School was founded in 1862, when the American Missionary Association (AMA) sent Lucinda Humphrey to open an elementary school at Camp Shiloh (Tennessee) for free blacks and escaped slaves. This was one of more than ten schools founded by the AMA, an integrated organization led by black and white Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian ministers.

The school was established soon after the occupation of Memphis by Federal troops during the Civil War; they were based at Camp Shiloh outside the city limits to the south. First known as Lincoln Chapel, the school relocated into Memphis proper in 1863 from south of the city. In 1866 it was destroyed during white race riots that broke out following the withdrawal of federal troops.

Francis Julius LeMoyne ca 1860

The school was rebuilt, and in 1867 it reopened with 150 students and six teachers. In 1870, Francis Julius LeMoyne (1798-1879), a Washington, Pennsylvania doctor, donated $20,000 to the American Missionary Association to build an elementary and secondary school for prospective teachers. LeMoyne, who was a notable abolitionist, traveled from his Pennsylvania home to visit the new school. He donated a clock for the school's tower.

The Memphis yellow fever epidemic started in 1873 and took a toll on many school personnel.

Under the leadership of the third principal, Andrew J. Steele, the school enjoyed three decades of growth and development.[3]

In 1914 the school moved from Orleans Street to its present site on Walker Avenue. Steele Hall, the first building on the new campus, was erected that same year. LeMoyne became a junior college in 1924. After developing a four-year curriculum, it became a four-year college in 1930. The LeMoyne College was chartered by the State of Tennessee four years later. Steele Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and the core of the college's campus was listed on the National Register in 2005.

Owen College was established as a junior college in 1947, when the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention bought property for that purpose on Vance Avenue. After they developed the facility, S. A. Owen Junior College opened at that location in 1954.


Official athletics logo.

The college sponsors athletic teams that participate in the Division II level, in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) conference of the NCAA. The LeMoyne–Owen College Department of Athletics sponsors men's intercollegiate baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, and tennis along with women's intercollegiate softball, basketball, cross country, volleyball and tennis. The school's mascot is the Magicians.

In 1975, the LeMoyne–Owen College men's basketball team won the NCAA Men's Division III Basketball Championship.[4] the school was then a member of Division III level of the NCAA. Up to this day, LeMoyne-Owen has been the only HBCU to win a national championship at that level.

Dominique Worthen of LeMoyne–Owen College was the first player in SIAC history to win the SIAC Player of the Year award, earn a selection to the All Conference Team, and earn the SIAC Conference Championship MVP award, and an All Tournament First Team award, all in one week. Worthen of LeMoyne-Owen also won the 2015 PGA Minority Collegiate Championship.

Recent debt and accreditation issues[edit]

According to a 2007 AP article,[5] LeMoyne-Owen suffered from management and accreditation issues due to a lack of financial resources. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the college on probation for two years.

In August 2007, the City of Memphis ensured the college would open for the fall 2007 semester by pledging $3 million in taxpayer funds to be added to other substantial pledges from the United Negro College Fund, Cummins Inc., radio host Tom Joyner and the United Church of Christ. The donation pledge, approved by the City Council, aroused controversy. City councilmembers defended their actions as contributing to the city and its residents.

The college's president Johnnie B. Watson said that the college has reaffirmed its accreditation. It had increased its endowment to 20 million dollars in 2014.

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability References
Lloyd Barbee 1949 Wisconsin legislator and civil rights activist [6]
Marion Barry 1958 former mayor of Washington, DC and former Washington, DC City Council member
W. W. Herenton former mayor of Memphis, Tennessee from 1992 until his resignation in 2009
Benjamin Hooks former executive director of NAACP
Myron Lowery former mayor pro-tem of Memphis, Tennessee from July 31, 2009 – October 26, 2009

See also[edit]


External links[edit]