Voorhees College

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Voorhees College
Voorhees College (South Carolina) logo.jpg
Former names
Denmark Industrial School,
Voorhees Industrial Institute for Colored Youths,
Voorhees School and Junior College
Type Private, HBCU
Established 1897
Religious affiliation
Episcopal Church
President W. Franklin Evans[1]
Students 600
Location Denmark, South Carolina, United States
33°18′32.61″N 81°7′41.51″W / 33.3090583°N 81.1281972°W / 33.3090583; -81.1281972Coordinates: 33°18′32.61″N 81°7′41.51″W / 33.3090583°N 81.1281972°W / 33.3090583; -81.1281972
Campus Rural
Colors Royal blue and white[2]
Athletics NAIAGCAC
Affiliations NAICU[3]
Mascot Tiger
Website www.voorhees.edu

Voorhees College is a private, historically black college (HBCU) in Denmark, South Carolina, United States. It is affiliated with The Episcopal Church. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


In 1897, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright and Jessie Dorsey founded Denmark Industrial School for African Americans. Located in a rural area and small town, it was modeled on Tuskegee Institute. It began in the upstairs of an old store.

In 1902, Ralph Voorhees, a New Jersey philanthropist, gave the school a donation to purchase land and construct buildings. In 1904 the South Carolina General Assembly renamed the school and incorporated it as the Voorhees Industrial Institute for Colored Youths.

In 1924, the school was affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. In 1947, its name was changed to Voorhees School and Junior College. In 1962, with the addition of departments, it became accredited as Voorhees College.[4]

In 1969, the school's predominantly Black student body demanded more Black study programs and the hiring of Black faculty, as well as assisting the local lower income community of Denmark with scholarships. The Voorhees administration, made up of mostly Whites, ignored the students' plea. A demonstration of 500 students began as a response, which eventually led to a two-day armed student occupation of the college. The President of Voorhees agreed to the students' demands, but subsequently called on the South Carolina National Guard to overtake the students, arresting them after they had already surrendered. Many were suspended.

Voorhees College Historic District[edit]

This historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1982. It includes thirteen contributing buildings constructed from 1905 to 1935. The historic district is noteworthy as an example of pioneering education for African Americans in the early 20th century, and for its association with Elizabeth Evelyn Wright. In addition, the buildings, constructed mostly by students, showed ambitious design and masonry techniques. Many of these buildings were constructed by the students of Voorhees College as part of their crafts program.[5] Photographs of some of the buildings are available.[6]


Voorhees' athletic teams, nicknamed the Tigers, are a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. Voorhees joined the GCAC in July 2013. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country and track & field; women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, softball, track & field and volleyball.

Greek letter organizations[edit]

The university has chapters for eight of the nine National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations.

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter symbol
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority ΑΚΑ Eta Nu ΗΝ
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity ΑΦΑ Eta Iota ΗΙ
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority ΔΣΘ Eta Phi ΗΦ
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity ΚΑΨ Epsilon Omega ΕΩ
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity ΩΨΦ Sigma Theta ΣΘ
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity ΦΒΣ Zeta Gamma ΖΓ
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority ΣΓΡ Eta Omicron ΗΟ
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority ΖΦΒ Theta Epsilon ΘΕ

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Orangeburg figure Sellers will lead Voorhees College". 
  2. ^ http://voorhees.edu/public/files/docs/VC%20Policy%20Manual%20Vol%201.pdf
  3. ^ NAICU – Member Directory
  4. ^ Edgar, Walter (2006). South Carolina Encyclopedia. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 999–1000. ISBN 1-57003-598-9. 
  5. ^ "NRHP Nomination form" (PDF). 
  6. ^ "South Carolina Department of Archives and History". 
  7. ^ "Jackie Dinkins NBA statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 

External links[edit]