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
TypePrivate, HBCU
Established1897; 125 years ago (1897)
Religious affiliation
Episcopal Church
PresidentRonnie Hopkins
Location, ,
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
ColorsRoyal blue and white[1]

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


In 1897, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright founded Denmark Industrial School for African Americans. Located in a rural area and the small town of Denmark, it was modeled on the well-known Tuskegee Institute of Alabama. The first classes were held on the second floor 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 and four-year curriculum, it became accredited as Voorhees College.[3]

In 1969, the school's predominantly Black student body demanded more Black study programs and the hiring of Black faculty, as well as outreach to assist 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 inspired 75 students to command a two-day armed student occupation of the college. The President of Voorhees agreed to the students' demands, but filed a formal request to the South Carolina National Guard to subdue the students. The protesters surrendered, but were subsequently arrested.[4] 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 co-founder 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, compete as an independent member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Voorhees was a full member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference between 2013 and 2015. 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. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "NAICU – Member Directory". Archived from the original on November 9, 2015. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  3. ^ Edgar, Walter (2006). South Carolina Encyclopedia. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 999–1000. ISBN 1-57003-598-9.
  4. ^ "ABC Evening News with Howard K. Smith - April 29, 1969". ABC Evening News. American Broadcasting Corporation. April 29, 1969. Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via Internet Archive. Lay summaryVanderbilt Television News Archive.
  5. ^ "NRHP Nomination form" (PDF).
  6. ^ "South Carolina Department of Archives and History".
  7. ^ "Jackie Dinkins NBA statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  8. ^ "Review of African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary, 1865-1945".

External links[edit]