Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)

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Lincoln University
Former names
Ashmun Institute
Motto "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
Established April 29, 1854; 164 years ago (1854-04-29)
Type State-related
Endowment $35.5 million[1]
Interim President Richard Green, PhD
Students 1,819 students (2014);[2]
Location Chester County, Pennsylvania,
United States

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Campus Rural 422 acres (1.7 km2)
Colors Orange and Blue
Athletics NCAA Division IICIAA, ECAC
Mascot Lions
Affiliations TMSF
Designated January 25, 1967[3]

Lincoln University (LU) is the United States' first degree-granting historically black university. Founded as a private university in 1854, since 1972 it has been a public institution. It is located near the town of Oxford in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. The university has two satellite locations. They are: Lincoln University - University City in Philadelphia and Lincoln University - Coatesville, which opened in the city of Coatesville in Fall 2013. 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." The University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Today,[when?] Lincoln University provides a liberal arts and science-based undergraduate core curriculum and select graduate programs to prepare students of every race and many nationalities.[citation needed]

'The' Lincoln University - University City (formerly the Lincoln University Urban Center or The Graduate Center is a satellite location in the University City section of Philadelphia, where Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania are also located. This location offers graduate-level programs and continuing education.[4] After completion of renovations, the Urban Center will be known as Lincoln University Plaza.[5]

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.[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. 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 Harrison* 2014–2015
Richard Green** 2015–
* 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, Ashmun Institute was renamed Lincoln University after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln the previous year.

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]

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, Dr Jennings resigned under pressure from faculty, students and alumni after comments relating to a 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]


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.[10] In 2012 the US News & World Best Colleges Report rated Lincoln as a Tier Two University overall.[11]

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.


Student Union at Lincoln University
College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • History, Political Science, and Philosophy
  • Horace Mann Bond Honors Program
  • Mass Communications
  • Modern Languages & Literature
  • Sociology and Criminal Justice
  • Visual and Performing Arts
College of Sciences & Technology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry and Physics
  • Lincoln's Excellent Academic Program in Science (LEAPS) through the National Science Foundation
  • Mathematics & Computer Science
  • Nursing and Health Sciences
College of Professional, Graduate, and Extended Studies
  • Business & Entrepreneurship
Master of Science in Business (MSB)
  • Education
Master of Education (M.Ed.)
Master of Science in Reading (MSR)
  • Psychology
Master of Arts in Human Services Administration (MA/HSA)
Master of Human Services (MHS)
  • Extended Studies



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 - University City, a six-story building in the University City section of Philadelphia, offers select graduate programs.

Lincoln University - Coatesville is housed in the former Gordon Education Center of Coatesville, Pennsylvania. It offers traditional and accelerated undergraduate and graduate business programs during evenings and weekends.

Student activities

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
Other organizations
  • Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band fraternity - Mu Sigma Chapter, 2010
  • Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band sorority- Iota Pi Chapter, 2010


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 (Men & Women), Basketball (Men & Women), Volleyball, Indoor Track (Men & Women), Outdoor Track (Men & Women), Cross-Country (Men & Women), Softball, and Football.

In the 1986-87 academic year the Lincoln University Athletic Dept. was integrated with the first white athlete. David Sherman was recruited to play basketball from Coatesville High School in Coatesville, Pa. David Sherman played both basketball and baseball for the Lincoln Lions lettering in both sports. He was also a Scholastic All-American for that school year with a 3.85GPA. He was nominated for the award by his basketball coach Bobby Byers.

The success of the Track and Field program led to the creation of the co-ed athletic fellowship of Track Phi Track Social Fellowship, Inc. at Lincoln in 1979. 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.

On April 11, 2006 (2006-04-11), 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 (2006-12-02), 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.[12]

Lincoln University and the Barnes Foundation

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. 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 collection, now valued at approximately twenty-five billion dollars. [1]; [2]

Barnes had an interest in helping under-served 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

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; the first president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe; the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah; song artist and activist Gil Scott-Heron; Tony winning 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, 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).[13]

Notable staff

Further reading


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


  1.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  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. Lincoln University Urban Center
  5. "Inland Real Estate Auctions sells Jos. A. Cacciatore & Co.-owned timber loft development property in UIC neighborhood for $6.25 million" (Press release). Heather Pilewski. January 11, 2007. Archived from the original on May 26, 2008.  Press release about funding of Lincoln University Plaza renovations
  6. "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. 
  7. Nancy C. Curtis (1996). Black Heritage Sites: An African American Odyssey and Finder's Guide - Lincoln University. American Library Association. 
  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". Philadelphia Inquirer. 
  10. "College Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved January 22, 2008. 
  11. "College Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  12. Caldwell, Dave (December 9, 2006). "University on the Defensive for Scoring 201 Points". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2006. 
  13. "Black Heritage Stamp Series". The United States Postal Service. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 

External links