Cheyney University of Pennsylvania: Wikis


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Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Carnegie Library
Established 1837
President Michelle R. Howard‐Vital, Ph.D.
Location Cheyney
Thornbury Township, Chester Co. and Thornbury Township, Delaware Co.
, Pennsylvania,
United States
Former names Institute for Colored Youth
Cheyney State University
Sports Track & Field, Basketball, Football, Tennis, Volleyball, Bowling
Colors Blue and White
Nickname Wolves
Athletics NCAA
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
Built/Founded: 1837

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is a public, co-educational historically black university that is a part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Cheyney University has a 275-acre (1.11 km2) campus that is located in the Cheyney community within Thornbury Township, Chester County and Thornbury Township, Delaware County. The university offers bachelor's and master's degrees.



Founded in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth, Cheyney University is the oldest African American school of higher education, although degrees were not granted from Cheyney until 1913. The founding of Cheyney University was made possible by Richard Humphreys, a Quaker philanthropist who bequeathed $10,000, one tenth of his estate, to design and establish a school to educate people of African descent. Born on a plantation in the West Indies, Humphreys came to Philadelphia in 1764, where he became concerned about the struggles of free African Americans to make a living. News of a race riot in 1829 prompted Humphreys to write his will, in which he charged thirteen fellow Quakers to design an institution "to instruct the descendents of the African Race in school learning, in the various branches of the mechanic Arts, trades and Agriculture, in order to prepare and fit and qualify them to act as teachers...."

Founded as the African Institute, the school was soon renamed the Institute for Colored Youth. In its early years it provided a classical education to young African Americans in Philadelphia. In 1902 the Institute moved to George Cheyney's farm, 25 miles (40 km) west of Philadelphia, and afterward the name "Cheyney" became associated with the school.

The school's official name changed several times during the twentieth century. In 1983, Cheyney joined the State System of Higher Education as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

The university offers baccalaureate degrees in more than 30 disciplines and the master’s degree in education.


Cheyney University has one of the most storied basketball programs in NCAA Division II history. The men's basketball program is 7th all-time in NCAA win percentage, including 16 PSAC conference championships, four Final Fours, and one National Championship (1978).

The women's basketball team in 1982 competed in the championship game of the inaugural NCAA Division I tournament despite being a Division II school.

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability Reference
Julian Abele ca. 1896[1] graduate of the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University) was a prominent African-American architect. Upon Abele's graduation in 1902 as the first black student in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Abele designed or contributed to the design of some 250 buildings, including Harvard’s Widener Memorial Library, Duke University, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Free Library, and many Gilded Age mansions in Newport and New York City.
Robert Bogle 1973 President/CEO of The Philadelphia Tribune, the oldest black newspaper in circulation today
Ed Bradley former CBS News journalist of the program 60 Minutes
Octavius Catto 1858 Catto was the class valedictorian in 1858 at the Institute for Colored Youth (later Cheyney University). An activist, Catto was influential in getting the 15th Amendment passed in 1870 which gave black men the right to vote. Catto is also the founder of the first black baseball team in the United States (The Pythians, 1867) and the Equal Rights League (Oct. 1864).
Rebecca J. Cole 1863 graduated from the Institute for Colored Youth in 1863 (now Cheyney University). She graduated from Women's Medical College (now the Medical College of Pennsylvania) in 1867 with a medical degree. Cole was the second African-American woman physician in the United States and the first black woman to graduate from the Women's Medical College.
Ronald S. Coleman Lieutenant General, Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs for the United States Marine Corps
Michael Horsey State Representative for the 190th district in Philadelphia County
Levy Lee Simon Award-winning playwright.
Gladys Styles Johnston Chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney
Thaddeus Kirkland State Representative for the 159th district in Delaware County
Joseph E. Lee He graduated from the Institute for Colored Youth (presently Cheyney University) in the early 1860s and graduated from Howard University in law, 1873. He was admitted to the Florida bar that year and was one of the first blacks to practice in Florida. He was a member of the Florida House from 1875-1880 and the Florida Senate from 1881-82.[2]
Randy Monroe current head coach of University of Maryland, Baltimore County men's basketball
Samuel J. Patterson CEO of Shepard Patterson Systems and Information Consulting Firm
Bayard Rustin African-American civil rights activist
Josephine Silone Yates African American writer, teacher, and civil rights advocate
Joseph M. Segars retired Ambassador
Robert Traynham 1996 Television Personality
Jim Vance 1964 Emmy Award-winning anchorman. Vance was inducted into the Journalists Hall of Fame.
Andre Waters 1984 former NFL player
James "Big Cat" Williams former Chicago Bears player. He was a Pro Bowl offensive lineman. He had a 12-year career with the Bears.
Robert L. Woodson founder and president of the National left for Neighborhood Enterprise (NCNE), Washington, D.C.
Jim Ellis 1972 the inspiration behind the hit Hollywood movie Pride starring Terence Howard and Bernie Mac
Martha A. Fairbeau (Minton) 1859 1st female graduate
Craig Welbourn 1971 His company owns and operates 28 McDonalds restaurants, making it the largest African American owned/owner of these restaurants in the world and puts him in the top one percent of all McDonalds owners
Marcus Foster 1947 was a charismatic and highly esteemed African-American educator who gained a national reputation for educational excellence while serving as principal of Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as Associate Superintendent of Schools in Philadelphia, and as the first black Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, California
William "Billy" Joe 1970 Coach Joe won 237 career games in 31 years of coaching at Cheyney (1972-1978), Central State of Ohio and FAMU, trailing only legendary Eddie Robinson of Grambling State in black-college football wins (408). He was the Pennsylvania State Conference Coach of the Year in 1978. Coach Joe was also the running backs coach for the Philadelphia Eagles (1979-80). He helped mentor the Eagles to the 1980 Super Bowl. Coach Joe was also AFL Rookie of the Year with the Denver Broncos in 1963, and he a was member of New York Jets' Super Bowl winning team (1969)
Dave Warren 1986 Talk Radio host and social satirist

Notable faculty

Name Department Notability Reference
William "Billy" Joe former NFL and AFL player and College Football Hall of Fame coach
John Chaney 1972-82 Hall of fame basketball coach
C. Vivian Stringer 1972-83 Hall of fame basketball coach
Fanny Jackson Coppin The first African American woman to become a school principal. In her 37 years at the Institute for Colored Youth, Fanny Jackson was responsible for vast educational improvements in Philadelphia.
Octavius Catto After graduating from the Institute Catto taught here briefly. Catto was the class valedictorian in 1858 at the Institute for Colored Youth. An activist, Catto was influential in getting the 15th Amendment passed in 1870 which gave black men the right to vote. Catto is also the founder of the first black baseball team in the United States (The Pythians, 1867) and the Equal Rights League (Oct. 1864).
Edithe Scott Bagley founder of the theater department sibling of Coretta Scott King.
Charles L. Reason first principal A prolific writer, Reason wrote political journalism as well as poetry. His most noted poems are “Freedom” “The Spirit Voice” and “Silent Thoughts.” Charles L. Reason died in 1893.
Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett Second principal and the first African American diplomat for America.
Richard T. Greener 1870 hired first African American Harvard University graduate.
Edward Bouchet 1876 hired first African American Yale University doctoral graduate
William Adger 1883, first African American University of Pennsylvania baccalaureate degree graduate
Laura Wheeler Waring 1908 hired. Artist and art/music teacher. World renowned artist
Leslie P. Hill 1913 to 1951, fifth and final principal, first president of Cheyney.
Mary Jane Patterson 1862 to 1869, Patterson was the first African American woman to receive a bachelor's degree when she graduated from Oberlin College in 1862. Upon receiving her degree she went to Philadelphia where she taught at ICY for seven years. In 1869 she moved to Washington, D.C. to teach and in 1871 became the first black principal of the newly-established Preparatory High School for Negroes, later renamed Dunbar High School.
Michelle R. Howard-Vital, Ph.D. 2008 first female president


External links

Coordinates: 39°55′55″N 75°31′44″W / 39.932°N 75.529°W / 39.932; -75.529



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