University Profile Shaw University is a private, co-educational, liberal arts university affiliated with the Baptist Church and the first historically black college of the South, located in Raleigh, South Carolina. The University awards degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Shaw’s main campus is located on 100 acres containing 25 buildings in the downtown area of Raleigh, North Carolina. Shaw University is the first historically black, accredited School of Divinity. Additionally, the University is known for its strong programs in Business, the Sciences, Mathematics and Education.
Through its Center for Alternative Programs in Education (CAPE), Shaw University offers a flexible way for people with full-time demanding work schedules to obtain an undergraduate degree. The University delivers its educational program beyond the confines of the residential college community through nine (9) extramural sites in North Carolina. With a center in nine different locations in North Carolina, the University strives to offer accessible education options.
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University HistoryFounding to the 1960s
Shaw University was founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of the Baptist Church. Shaw was the first college established for African Americans in the Southern United States. Rev. Dr. Henry Martin Tupper came south immediately after the end of the Civil War. He established the Second Baptist Church of Raleigh (the name was changed to Tabernacle Baptist Church in 1910, and is now the Tupper Memorial Baptist Church.) Later Tupper and his Bible study students constructed a two-story church, with one story being dedicated to the church, and the other to what is known as the Raleigh Institute, where he taught freedmen. By 1915, still supported by the American Baptist Home Mission, the school had an enrollment of 291 students, about evenly divided between men and women.
It was renamed Shaw Collegiate Institute after Elijah Shaw, benefactor of Shaw Hall, the first building constructed for the college. In 1875, it became Shaw University. In 1873, Estey Hall was erected for female students, making it the first such dormitory in the U.S. on a coeducational campus. The Leonard Medical School was founded in 1881 as the first four-year medical school in the South to train black doctors and pharmacists. It was also the first medical school in North Carolina to offer a four-year curriculum and operated until 1918. Given their importance in the education of African Americans, both Estey Hall and Leonard Hall have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Education was seen by freedmen as among their most critical needs. In many 19th century communities, the roles of minister and teacher were closely allied, and Shaw's teaching had a strong spiritual base. Shaw University trained many of the new teachers who taught African Americans in the South after the Civil War. They worked for a profound cause, the advancement of their race. Northern white teachers also came to the area to teach. Newly free adults and children eagerly sought to learn to read and write. Most southern states imposed segregated schools by the late 1870s.
African-American teachers nurtured their students and were part of their communities, acting as role models to encourage children to seek an education. By 1900, more than 30,000 black teachers had been trained and put to work in the Southern United States, and the majority of African Americans had become literate.
Shaw University has been called the mother of African-American colleges in North Carolina, as North Carolina Central University, Elizabeth City State University, and Fayetteville State University all had founding presidents who were Shaw alumni. The founder of Livingstone College spent his first two college years at Shaw before transferring to Lincoln University. What became North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University was located on Shaw's campus during its first year.
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began at a conference held at Shaw University and led by Ella Baker in 1960. SNCC was created to coordinate activities among numerous civil rights groups, to coordinate sit-ins (such as those that had taken place in Greensboro, North Carolina), and to support civil rights leaders and publicize their activities. SNCC played a strong role in Freedom Summer and the voter registration drives in Mississippi during 1964 and 1965.
1980s to present
By the mid-1980s, Shaw University's student body had declined and the university was deeply in debt. With the presidency of Dr. Talbert O. Shaw (1988-2003) (not related to the namesake), Shaw University was revived and the student body grew markedly, from 1,600 to 2,700. The university also succeeded in raising its standards. President Shaw restructured debt and worked to raise funds and build support from all sectors of the city. He joined civic groups to highlight the status of the university. He also reached out to the Raleigh professional, business and the state's political communities, creating the Raleigh Business and Technology Center, which is located on Shaw University's Campus. His efforts helped to create opportunities for students to take advantage of the university's unique location. He worked to redefine the advantages a small liberal arts university could offer African-American students and to create new strengths in the departments.
In the 1990s, Shaw ran a successful capital campaign to renovate historic buildings and construct new campus facilities, including the Talbert O. Shaw Center for Teachers' Education. The percentage of faculty holding doctorates also increased substantially. The Raleigh City Council recently approved the university's request to buy four lots on the northwest corner of Person and Lenoir Streets, formerly known as the Shaw Villa. Office space has been increased with the completion of renovations in Estey Hall. The university now owns the historic Rogers-Bagley-Daniels-Pegues House and the adjacent Frazier House.
With Shaw's retirement, other new initiatives continued under the new president. The university grew into a thirty-three building campus in the heart of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina (not including the ten satellite campuses). Shaw enhanced the student curriculum, renovated most of the historic district of the campus, and established two additional libraries, the G. Franklin Wiggins Library at the Shaw University Divinity School (SUDS) and the Talbert O. Shaw Education Library. A dual-degree programs in Engineering and Dentistry with North Carolina State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University was created in 2007. The university also approved the creation of the pre-med program, which was accredited by the American Medical Association.
In 2005, SUDS received a 10-year accreditation from the Association for Theological Schools. In 2005, construction began on the Center for Early Childhood Education, Research and Development. In that same year, Shaw University partnered with the State of North Carolina and John Hopkins University for an institute for research on the impact of current health legislation on the elderly. In 2006, the university partnered with the City of Raleigh to create a Citizens' Participation and Leadership Institute, to encourage civic engagement and cultivate leadership throughout the city.
Another example of new directions is that the university is collaborating with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on a Partnership for the Elimination of Health Disparities Center. As noted by Dr. Daniel Howard, center co-director at Shaw University, establishing the research resources at Shaw, meant that "more African American college students can become health researchers, which is a definite plus when trying to eliminate disparities."
Shaw University is also a member of the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges (CRC) Program. This intercollegiate program is a consortium to pool resources of courses and programs, material, and professors for the sake of providing effective education to all the students. The participating colleges are Shaw University, North Carolina State University, Saint Augustine's College, Wake Technical Community College, Peace College, and Meredith College.
Study of World War II service of black veterans
Shaw University led a research study to investigate why no black veterans of WWII had been awarded the Medal of Honor. The study concluded that racial discrimination had contributed to the military's overlooking the contributions of black soldiers. The 272-page study recommended ten soldiers whose military records suggested they deserved the Medal of Honor.
In January 1995, the team’s findings were sent to the U.S. Department of Defense. In April 1996, the department agreed that seven of the ten soldiers should be awarded the Medal of Honor. All ten had been awarded other medals during the war years. President Bill Clinton awarded the Medals of Honor on January 13, 1997.
The department's decision in response to Shaw's study marked only the third time that the military re-evaluated military records to award the Medal of Honor. Only one of the seven nominees, 1st Lt. Vernon Baker of St. Maries, Idaho, was alive to receive his medal. Those who were awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously were: 1st Lt. Charles L. Thomas of Detroit, Michigan; Pvt. George Watson of Birmingham, Alabama; Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter Jr. of Los Angeles, California; 1st Lt. John R. Fox of Boston, Massachusetts; Pfc. Willy F. James Jr. of Kansas City, Kansas; and Staff Sgt. Ruben Rivers of Tecumseh, Oklahoma.
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