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Lilncoln University

Lincoln University (LU) is the United States’ first degree-granting historically black university. It is located near the town of Oxford in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. The university also hosts a Center for Graduate Studies in the City of Philadelphia. Lincoln University provides undergraduate and graduate coursework to approximately 2,500 students. As former president Dr. Horace Mann Bond noted in his book Education for Freedom: A History of Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, with the college’s founding in 1854, “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.”

Lincoln University has an impressive list of notable alumni which includes: U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall; Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes; musical legend, Cab Calloway; the first President of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe; the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah; song artist and activist, Gil Scott-Heron; Tony Award winning actor, Roscoe Lee Browne; and architect of the debate team portrayed in the film, The Great Debaters, Melvin B. Tolson.

Today, Lincoln University provides a liberal arts and science-based undergraduate core curriculum and select graduate programs to prepare students of every race and nationality.

The Lincoln University Urban Center (LUUC) is an extension campus in the University City section of Philadelphia, where Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania are also located. This campus offers Graduate level programs and continuing education. After the renovation that was started in Fall of 2007 is completed, the Urban Center will be known as Lincoln University Plaza.


In 1854 Rev. John Miller Dickey, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson, a Quaker, founded Ashmun Institute, later named Lincoln University. 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      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     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-Present
*Acting 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. Each of the men became ordained ministers.

In 1866, Ashmun Institute was renamed Lincoln University after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

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.

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

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.


According to U.S. News & World Report, Lincoln University ranks number 27th out of 81 in the 2009 magazine’s first ranking of undergraduate education at HBCUs. It is ranked as a Tier One school on the list. Lincoln University shares its #27 ranking with Oakwood University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

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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 new 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’s of Fine Arts.

Lincoln University offers 37 undergraduate majors, 22 undergraduate minors, and 5 Pre-Professional (Dentistry, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Veterinary Science) programs.

Student Union at Lincoln University

School of Humanities

English and Mass Communications
Foreign Languages & Literatures
Philosophy and Religion
Visual and Performing Arts
Horace Mann Bond Honors Program

School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Environmental Science
Lincoln’s Excellent Academic Program in Science (LEAPS) through the National Science Foundation
Mathematics & Computer Science

School of Social Sciences & Behavioral Studies

Business & Information Technology
Criminal Justice
HPER (Health, Physical Education, Recreation)
History & Political Science
Sociology & Anthropology

School of Graduate Studies

Master of Human Services (MHS)
Master of Education (M.Ed)
Master of Reading (MSR)
Master of Science in Administration (MSA)


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 completed in December 2008. A $26.1 million 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) International Cultural Center construction began on April 10, 2008, that is also now completed.

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 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 annually. 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. JSTOR includes archives of over one thousand leading academic journals across multiple disciplines, as well as selected monographs. A separate section of the library contains special African-American collections. This includes the personal papers and artifacts of renowned 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 became the first African American appointed as 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.

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Lincoln University Plaza, a six-story building in the University City section of Philadelphia, houses the Graduate Center.

Student activities
Alma Mater
Dear Lincoln, Dear Lincoln

To Thee We’ll e’re be true! The golden hours we’ve spent beneath The dear old Orange and Blue

Will live fore’er in memory, As guiding stars through life; For thee our Alma Mater dear, We’ll rise in our might.

For we love every inch of thy sacred soil Every tree on thy campus green; And for thee with our might We will ever toil That thou mightest be supreme.

We’ll raise thy standard to the sky, Midst glory and honor fly; And constant and true, We will live for thee anew, Our Dear Old Orange and Blue Hail! Hail! Lincoln!
A. Dennee Bibb, ’11

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 Organization and Clubs

Boys 2 Men Mentoring Program
Class Clubs (4)
Deuce Drill Team
Forensic Society
Fun 4 Life
Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)
International Club
Lincoln People For (LP4)
Lincoln University Concert Choir
The Lincoln University Dance Troupe
Lincoln University Gospel Choir
Lincoln University Jazz Ensemble
The 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
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

Alpha Phi Alpha – Nu Chapter, 1912
Omega Psi Phi – Beta Chapter, 1914
Kappa Alpha Psi – Epsilon Chapter, 1915
Phi Beta Sigma – Mu Chapter, 1922
Alpha Kappa Alpha – Epsilon Nu Chapter, 1969
Delta Sigma Theta – Zeta Omega Chapter, 1969
Zeta Phi Beta – Delta Delta Chapter, 1970
Sigma Gamma Rho – Xi Theta Chapter, 1995
Iota Phi Theta – Epsilon Epsilon Chapter, 2000

Social Fellowships and Service Organizations

Groove Phi Groove – Lion Chapter
Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship Incorporated


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.

The Lincoln Lions compete in intercollegiate athletics in the following sports: Baseball, Soccer (Men & Women), Basketball (Men & Women), Volleyball, Indoor Track (Men & Women), Tennis (Men & Women), Outdoor Track (Men & Women), Cross-Country (Men & Women), Bowling, Softball, and Football.

The success of the Track and Field program led to the creation of the co-ed athletic fellowship of Track Phi Track at Lincoln in 1981. Some of the requirements include being an All-American and/or striving to become an All-American, meeting and exceeding academic requirements in your major, and participation in Lincoln’s Track & Field program for four years.

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On April 11, 2006, Lincoln’s Board of Trustees voted to revive the football program, and establish Marching & Pep Bands. The University has petitioned for membership in the CIAA, of which Lincoln was a founding member. Lincoln will be moving from the NCAA’s Division III to Division II. A club football team is scheduled for the 2008 followed with a full Division II schedule in 2009. Fielding its first football team in 48 years on August 30, 2008, Lincoln defeated George Mason University, 34-7. Lincoln lost its final nine games of 2008, but improved to 3-7 in 2009.

The men’s basketball team achieved a 46-12 record from 2004- 2006 seasons. The 2005-2006 season witnessed Lincoln’s first national basketball ranking, led by “All American”, D3 Hoops & Basketball News “National Player of the Year” Kyle Myricks. ESPN dubbed him D3’s “Most Exciting Player”. The Lions made the sweet sixteen for the first time in school history.

On December 2, 2006, Lincoln’s basketball team set 5 Division III records in a 201-78 victory over Ohio State Marion. Records included points scored in a half, and points scored in a game, as well as the NCAA record for margin of victory.

Lincoln University and the Barnes Foundation

As president of Lincoln University (1945-1957), Dr. Horace Mann Bond formed a friendship with Albert 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. In his will Barnes gave Lincoln University the privilege of naming four of the five directors originally defined as the number for the governing board of the Barnes Foundation. The number of directors has since increased in efforts to correct the collection’s protracted financial difficulties. This has diluted Lincoln’s influence over the valuable collection, now valued at over two billion dollars.

Philanthropist and art collector Albert C. Barnes had an interest in helping underserved youth and populations. Barnes intended his 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. 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 Barnes Foundation 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.

Notable alumni
Langston Hughes
Main article: List of Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) alumni

Lincoln University has the distinction of having seven alumni who founded the following colleges and universities in the United States and abroad: South Carolina State University, Livingstone University, Albany State University, Texas Southern University, Ibibio State College (Nigeria) and the Kwame Nkruma University of Science and Technology (Ghana).

Lincoln University has two alumni being honored with commemorative first-class U.S. Stamps by the United States Postal Service: Thurgood Marshall (BA 1930) and Langston Hughes (BA 1929).

Notable staff

Irv Mondschein, track, basketball, and football coach

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