Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)

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Lincoln University
Student Union Lincoln U PA.JPG
Former names
Ashmun Institute
Motto"If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
EstablishedApril 29, 1854; 164 years ago (1854-04-29)
Endowment$35.5 million[1]
PresidentBrenda A. Allen, PhD
Students1,902 students (2015);[2]
Location, ,

United States

39°48′30″N 75°55′40″W / 39.80833°N 75.92778°W / 39.80833; -75.92778Coordinates: 39°48′30″N 75°55′40″W / 39.80833°N 75.92778°W / 39.80833; -75.92778
CampusRural 422 acres (1.7 km2)
ColorsOrange and Blue
AthleticsNCAA Division IICIAA, ECAC
DesignatedJanuary 25, 1967[3]

Lincoln University (LU) is the United States' first degree-granting historically black university.[4] Founded as a private university in 1854, it has been a public institution since 1972. Its main campus is located on 422 acres near the town of Oxford in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. The university has a second location in University City, Philadelphia. Lincoln University provides undergraduate and graduate coursework to approximately 2,000 students. The University is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

In his book, Education for Freedom: A History of Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, former LU president Dr. Horace Mann Bond noted that "This was the first institution founded anywhere in the world to provide a higher education in the arts and sciences for youth of African descent." While a majority of Lincoln University students are African Americans, the university has a long history of accepting students of other races and nationalities.[5] Women have received degrees since 1953,[5] and made up 60% of undergraduate enrollment in 2015.[6]


In 1854 Rev. John Miller Dickey, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson, a Quaker, founded Ashmun Institute, later named Lincoln University, in Hinsonville. They named it after Jehudi Ashmun, a religious leader and social reformer. They founded the school for the education of African Americans, who had few opportunities for higher education.

John Miller Dickey [A] 1854–1856
John Pym Carter 1856–1861
John Wynne Martin 1861–1865
Isaac Norton Rendall 1865–1906
John Ballard Rendall 1906–1924
Walter Livingston Wright* 1924–1926
William Hallock Johnson 1926–1936
Walter Livingston Wright 1936–1945
Horace Mann Bond [B] 1945–1957
Armstead Otey Grubb* 1957–1960
Donald Charles Yelton* 1960–1961
Marvin Wachman 1961–1969
Bernard Warren Harleston* 1970-1970
Herman Russell Branson 1970–1985
Donald Leopold Mullett* 1985–1987
Niara Sudarkasa 1987–1998
James Donaldson* 1998–1999
Ivory V. Nelson 1999–2011
Robert R. Jennings 2011–2014
Valerie I. Harrison* 2014–2015
Richard Green** 2015–2017
Brenda A. Allen 2017––
* Acting president
** Interim president

John Miller Dickey was the first president of the college. He encouraged some of his first students: James Ralston Amos (1826–1864), his brother Thomas Henry Amos (1825–1869), and Armistead Hutchinson Miller (1829/30-1865), to support the establishment of Liberia as a colony for African Americans. (This was a project of the American Colonization Society). Each of the men became ordained ministers.

In 1866, a year after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Ashmun Institute was renamed Lincoln University. The college attracted highly talented students from numerous states, especially during the long decades of legal segregation in the South. As may be seen on the list of notable alumni (link below), many went on to achievements in careers in academia, public service, the arts and many other fields.

In 1945 Dr. Horace Mann Bond, an alumnus of Lincoln, was selected as the first African-American president of the university. During his 12-year tenure, he continued to do social science research, and helped support the important civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education, decided in 1954 by the US Supreme Court. He established an important relationship with the collector Albert C. Barnes, who ensured Lincoln University had a role in the management of his art collection, the Barnes Foundation.

From 1854 to 1954, Lincoln University graduates accounted for 20 percent of black physicians and over 10 percent of black lawyers in the United States.[7]

Amos Hall

In 1972 Lincoln University formally associated with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a state-related institution.

In 2013, the University officially refined its name and brand as Lincoln University to emphasize its distinction as the nation's first HBCU, as well as to distinguish itself from other universities of the same name in Missouri, California and New Zealand, as well as Lincoln Memorial in Tennessee.

In November 2014, University president Robert R. Jennings resigned under pressure from faculty, students and alumni after comments relating to issues of sexual assault.[8] Jennings was also the subject of a couple of no-confidence votes by faculty and the alumni association in October 2014.[9]

On May 11, 2017, the Lincoln University board of trustees announced the appointment of Dr. Brenda A. Allen, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Winston-Salem State University as Lincoln's new president. A 1981 alumna of Lincoln, Allen's inauguration was announced for October, 2017.[10]


According to U.S. News & World Report, Lincoln University ranks number 20th out of 81 in the 2013 magazine's first ranking of undergraduate education at HBCUs. It is ranked as a Tier One school on the list. Lincoln University shares its No. 20th ranking with Alabama A&M University.[11] In 2012 the US News & World Best Colleges Report rated Lincoln as a Tier Two University overall.[12]

Lincoln University's International and Study Abroad Program had student participation in Service Learning Projects in the countries of Ecuador, Argentina, Spain, Ireland, Costa Rica, Japan, France, Cambodia, Zambia, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Russia, Australia, Thailand, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and South Africa

The Lincoln-Barnes Visual Arts program is a collaboration between Lincoln University and the Barnes Foundation. It established a Visual Arts program that leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and most recently, a Pan-Africana Studies major has been added to the list undergraduate majors available at the institution.

Lincoln University offers 38 undergraduate majors and 23 undergraduate minors.

Academic Programs[edit]

Student Union at Lincoln University


  • Accounting (BS, BA, minor)
  • Anthropology (BS, BA, minor)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Bio (BS, BA)
  • Biology (BS, BA, minor)
  • Black Studies (minor only)
  • Chemistry (BS, BA)
  • Computer Science (BS, BA, minor)
  • Criminal Justice (BS, BA, minor)
  • Economics (minor only)
  • Engineering Science (BS)
  • English Liberal Arts (BA, minor)
  • Entrepreneurial Studies (minor only)
  • Environmental Science (BS, BA, minor)
  • Ethics (minor only)
  • Finance (BS, BA, minor)
  • Foreign Languages (BA, minors)
  • General Science (BS, BA)
  • Health Science (BS, BA)
  • History (BS, BA, minor)
  • Human Services (BS, BA, minor)
  • Information Technology (BS, BA, minor)
  • International Relations (minor only)
  • Management (BS, BA, minor)
  • Mass Communications (BS, BA, minor)
  • Mathematics (BS, BA, minor)
  • Museum Studies (minor only)
  • Music (BA, minor)
  • Nursing (Pre-licensure BSN)
  • Pan-Africana Studies (BS, BA)
  • Philosophy (BS, BA, minor)
  • Physics (BS, BA, minor)
  • Political Science (BS, BA, minor)
  • Pre-Law (certificate only)
  • Psychology (BS, BA, minor)
  • Religion (BS, BA, minor)
  • Sociology (BS, BA, minor)
  • Visual Arts (BS, BA, minor)


  • Master of Arts in Human Services (MAHS)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) - Early Childhood Education PreK-4/Special Education Dual Certification Program
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Science in Counseling (MSC)



Dear Lincoln, Dear Lincoln,
To thee we'll e'er be true.
The golden hours we spent beneath
The dear old Orange and Blue,
Will live for e'er in memory,
As guiding stars through life;
For thee, our Alma Mater dear,
We will rise in our might.

For thee, our Alma Mater dear,
We will rise in our might.

For we love ev'ry inch of thy sacred soil,
Ev'ry tree on thy campus green;
And for thee with our might
We will ever toil
That thou mightiest be supreme.
We'll raise thy standard to the sky,
Midst glory and honor to fly.
And constant and true
We will live for thee anew,
Our dear old Orange and Blue.
Hail! Hail! Lincoln.

— A. Dennee Bibb, 1911

Lincoln University main campus is 422 acres (1.71 km2) with 56 buildings totaling over one million gross square feet. There are fifteen residence halls that accommodate over 1,600 students. The dormitories range from small dorms such as Alumni Hall, built in 1870; and Amos Hall, built in 1902, to the new coed 400-bed apartment-style living (ASL) suites built in 2005. A $40.5 million, four-story, 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) Science and General Classroom High Technology Building was completed in December 2008. A $26.1 million 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) International Cultural Center began construction on April 10, 2008, and was completed in 2010.

The $28 million Health and Wellness Center is a 105,000 square feet (9,800 m2) facility that opened in September 2012. The facility contains basketball courts, locker rooms, classrooms, track, rock climbing wall, health clinic and healthy eating café.

An on-campus football stadium with concession stands, a separate locker room, and storage facilities opened in August 2012. A separate practice field with Field Turf II is located near the Health and Wellness Center, where six new[when?] lighted tennis courts are located. New[when?] baseball and softball fields are adjacent to the football stadium.

One of the most visible landmarks on campus is the Alumni Memorial Arch, located at the entrance to the university. The arch was dedicated by President Warren G. Harding in 1921, to honor the Lincoln men who served in World War I. The Mary Dod Brown Memorial Chapel is the center for campus religious activities. This Gothic structure was built in 1890 and contains a 300-seat main auditorium and a 200-seat fellowship hall.

Vail Memorial Hall, built in 1899 and expanded in 1954, served as the library until 1972. The facility houses executive administrative offices including the President, Vice Presidents, and other staff.

The Langston Hughes Memorial Library (LHML), named after the famous alumnus, houses more than 176,000 volumes, and subscribes to more than 600 current periodicals. A substantial number of the library's periodicals are on microfilm and can be accessed electronically through the school's website. LHML is equipped with the JSTOR database for online academic proprietary research tools. A separate section of the library contains special African-American collections. This includes the personal papers and artifacts of poet Langston Hughes (class of 1929).

The completely renovated Student Union Building contains the bookstore, café, two new television studios, and a radio studio, postal services, and multipurpose rooms. The Thurgood Marshall Living Learning Center, along with the Student Union Building, are the centers for campus social and meeting activities. Marshall graduated in the class of 1930, directed the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund in groundbreaking cases, and was the first African American to be appointed as a justice to US Supreme Court.

Manuel Rivero Hall is the athletic and recreation center at Lincoln University. The main gymnasium seats 2,500 for athletic and convocation activities. A separate full-size auxiliary gymnasium, Olympic-size swimming pool, training room facilities, wrestling room, and eight-lane bowling alley are contained in this facility.

Lincoln University is a census-designated place (CDP) for statistical purposes. As of the 2010 census, Lincoln University CDP had a resident population of 1,726.[14] Lincoln University has a post office with a ZIP code of 19352.


Lincoln University - University City, a six-story building in the University City section of Philadelphia, offers select undergraduate and graduate programs in the School of Adult & Continuing Education.[15][16]

Student activities[edit]

Honor societies
  • Alpha Chi – National Honor Scholarship Society
  • Alpha Kappa Delta National Sociology Honor Society
  • Alpha Mu Gamma National Foreign Language Honor Society
  • Beta Beta Beta National Biological Science Honor Society
  • Beta Kappa Chi Honorary Scientific Society
  • Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society (Act/T.I.M.E)
  • Dobro Slovo – The National Slavic Honor Society
  • Iota Eta Tau Honor Society
  • Omicron Delta Epsilon International Honorary Society in Economics
  • Phi Iota Sigma Foreign Language Honor Society
  • Phi Kappa Epsilon Honor Society
  • Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society
  • Psi Chi National Psychology Honor Society
  • Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society
  • Sigma Beta Delta Business Honors Society
  • Kappa Delta Pi – Tau Zeta Chapter International Honor Society in Education
Academic organizations
  • Accounting Club
  • Arabic Club
  • Biology Club
  • Business and Economics Club
  • Chemistry Club
  • Chinese Club
  • Education Club
  • French Club
  • Japanese Club
  • Music Majors Club
  • Melvin B. Tolson Society (English)
  • Thurgood Marshall Law Society
  • National Society of Black Engineers
  • National Association of Black Accountants
  • Organization for Political Awareness
  • Psychology Club
  • Society of Physics Students
  • Russian Club
  • Society for Math and Computer Science
  • Sociology Club
  • Spanish Club
Student organizations
  • Boyz II Men Mentoring Program
  • Class Clubs (4)
  • Deuce Drill Team
  • Forensic Society
  • Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)
  • Higher Better Movement (HBM)
  • International Club
  • Lincoln People For (LP4)
  • Lincoln University Concert Choir
  • Lincoln University Dance Troupe
  • Lincoln University Gospel Choir
  • Lincoln University Jazz Ensemble
  • Lincoln University Orange Crush Marching Band
  • Lincoln University Volunteer Center
  • National Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • National Council for Negro Women
  • People Standing United (PSU)
  • Sisters That Are Respected Seriously (S.T.A.R.S.)
  • Students Against A.I.D.S.
  • Student Leader Network
  • We Are One Family
  • Ziana Fashion Club
Student publications, radio, and television
  • Newspaper – The Lincolnian
  • Yearbook – The Lion
  • Campus Radio Station – WWLU
  • Campus Television Station – LUC-TV
National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations
Social fellowships and service organizations
Music and Band organizations


Lincoln Lions logo.

Lincoln University participates in the NCAA as a Division II institution. Lincoln has won 17 NCAA Division III Track & Field championships since 1985. Lincoln competes as a Division II member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and, the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Lincoln Lions compete in intercollegiate athletics in the following sports: Baseball, Soccer (Women), Basketball (Men & Women), Volleyball (Women), Indoor Track (Men & Women), Outdoor Track (Men & Women), Cross-Country (Men & Women), Softball, and Football.

The Barnes Foundation[edit]

As president of Lincoln University (1945–1957), Dr. Horace Mann Bond formed a friendship with Albert C. Barnes, philanthropist and art collector who established the Barnes Foundation. Barnes took a special interest in the institution and built a relationship with its students. Barnes gave Lincoln University the privilege of naming four of the five directors originally set as the number for the governing board of the Barnes Foundation. [1]; [2]

Barnes had an interest in helping under-served youth and populations. Barnes intended his valued 25 billion collection be used primarily as a teaching resource. He limited the number of people who could view it, and for years even the kinds of people, with a preference for students and working class. Visitors still must make appointments in advance to see the collection, and only a limited number are allowed in the galleries at one time.

In the mid-20th century, local government restricted traffic to the current campus, located in a residential neighborhood located at 300 North Latch's Lane, Merion, Pennsylvania. Barnes' constraints, local factors, and management issues pushed the Foundation near bankruptcy by the 1990s. Supporters began to explore plans to move the collection to a more public location and maintain it to museum standards. To raise money for needed renovations to the main building to protect the collection, the Foundation sent some of the most famous Impressionist and Modern paintings on tour.

In 2002, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania D. Michael Fisher contested Albert C. Barnes' will, arguing that the Merion location of the collection and small number of Board members limited the Foundation's ability to sustain itself financially. Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell brokered a settlement in 2005 between the Barnes Foundation and Lincoln University. This agreement resulted in the number of directors increasing. This has diluted Lincoln's influence over the collection, now valued at approximately twenty-five billion dollars.

A documentary named The Art of the Steal depicts the events.

Notable alumni[edit]

Lincoln University has numerous notable alumni, including US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes; musical legend Cab Calloway; Medal of Honor winner and pioneering African-American editor Christian Fleetwood; civil rights activist Frederick D. Alexander; the first president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe; the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah; song artist and activist Gil Scott-Heron; Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actor Roscoe Lee Browne; Dr. Robert Walter Johnson, tennis coach of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe; and Melvin B. Tolson, teacher and coach of the Wiley College, Marshall, Texas, debate team portrayed in the film The Great Debaters.

Lincoln University has alumni who founded the following six colleges and universities in the United States and abroad: South Carolina State University, Livingstone University, Albany State University, Allen University, Texas Southern University, Ibibio State College (Nigeria) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana).[citation needed]

Lincoln University has two alumni honored with commemorative stamps by the United States Postal Service: Thurgood Marshall (BA 1930) and Langston Hughes (BA 1929).[17] Joseph Newman Clinton, member of the Florida House of Representatives.

Notable staff[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Horace Mann Bond, Education For Freedom, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1976
  • Fred Jerome, The Einstein File, ISBN 0-312-28856-5
  • "The Deal of the Art". The Philadelphia Inquirer.[dead link](registration required)


A.^ Founder and President of the Board of Trustees Ashmun Institute and Lincoln University
B.^ First Alumni President


  1. ^ "What's new on campus".
  2. ^ "Factbook" (PDF). Lincoln University. 2014.
  3. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  4. ^ "The Ambush". eprewitt. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b Lincoln University History
  6. ^ Lincoln University Facts
  7. ^ Nancy C. Curtis (1996). Black Heritage Sites: An African American Odyssey and Finder's Guide - Lincoln University. American Library Association. ISBN 9780838906439.
  8. ^ SOLOMON LEACH, (November 25, 2014). "Lincoln University president resigns amid furor over sex-assault remarks". Daily News.
  9. ^ Susan Snyder, (October 26, 2014). "A no-confidence vote for Lincoln University's president". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  10. ^ John N. Mitchell, (May 17, 2017). "Brenda Allen Named New President of Lincoln Univ[ersity],". Philadelphia Tribune.
  11. ^ "College Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
  12. ^ "College Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved June 15, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Lincoln University CDP, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  15. ^ University City satellite campus
  16. ^ "Lincoln University Plaza". Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  17. ^ "Black Heritage Stamp Series". The United States Postal Service. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
  18. ^ "United Way’s Stewart Challenges Lincoln Graduates To Protect Brand, Maintain Commitment & Give Back", Lincoln University, June 30, 2014.
  19. ^ "Pollard was first black head coach in NFL history", ESPN, August 4, 2005.
  20. ^ "Doug Overton is the new Head Men's Basketball Coach", Lincoln University, May 12, 2016.

External links[edit]