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Shaw University is a private liberal arts institution and is also a historically black university specializing in social research and the liberal arts, located in Raleigh, North Carolinamarker, USAmarker with its "College of Adult Professional Education" campuses located throughout the state of North Carolinamarker. It is the oldest HBCU in the Southern United Statesmarker. Shaw is affiliated with the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and is a member of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. which also supports the Shaw University Divinity School. Furthermore, Shaw University is one of the co-founding institutions of the NCAA Division II's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference which is the oldest African American athletic association in the country, along with Howard Universitymarker, Hampton Universitymarker and Virginia Union University.

Among its recent accomplishments, the university won a 5-year grant with University of North Carolina-Chapel Hillmarker to create a Partnership for the Elimination of Health Disparities for minorities, which adds to its research capacity and a 7-year grant with John Hopkins University for the two institution's partnership for Gerontological Research.In 2007, Shaw University received a $2.5 million Grant from the National Science Foundation to support its Nanoscience and Nanotechnology program's recent studies and research. The University also created a foreign exchange program with Northwestern University for Nationalities of the (People's Republic of Chinamarker) and Xian University of Science and Technology, the first program established between an Americanmarker and a Chinesemarker institution since 1978.


Shaw is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Council for Social Work Education, and the American Psychological Association. The Divinity School is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada as its Kinesiotherapy and Sports Medicine program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, and the National Council for Acceditation of Teacher Education which is also approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The university offers undergraduate degrees in fields including natural science, business and accounting, religion and philosophy, and education and computer science. Shaw University offers various graduate programs such as the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts in Religious Education and the Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood Instruction.

Shaw University has the following colleges and centers: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research Center; Center for Prostate Research; the College of Arts and Sciences; the Institute for Health, Social, and Community Research; College of Business and Technology, Center for Early Childhood Education, Research and Development; the Center for Biostatistics and Data Management; Shaw University Social Gerontology Institute for Minorities; the Center for Survey Research for the Social Sciences; the College of Professional and Graduate Studies; and the Shaw University Divinity School.

In 2004, the university's president, Rev. Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, integrated a series of ethical classes into the core curriculm to help students build moral choices. Every student is required to take Ethics 100 (Foundation of Knowledge and Ethics), Ethics 200 (Political Philosophy and Societal Issues), and Ethics 300 (Professional Ethics). Also in 2004, Shaw University (N.C.) received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the development of an Upward Bound Program, to serve low-income students of Edgecombe County, N.C. The program's aim is to provide students with tools needed to become successful throughout their tenure in secondary education and subsequently achieve success in a program of postsecondary education.

The General Baptist State Convention instituted "Shaw Day" to commemorate Shaw's founding and commitment of the school's motto, "Pro Christo Et Humanitate," ("For Christ and Humanity").

Shaw also has a Chapel Seminar as a prerequisite. It is conducted by the Dean of the Thomas J. Boyd Chapel. The C.A.S.E.S. Program, or Cultural and Spiritual Enrichment Seminar, is a two-year program that teaches religious and cultural imperatives to cultivate individuals' capacity for moral choice. A variety of speakers address undergraduates in their first two years. Lectures are also open to the community.

To expand its programs for adult education, Shaw University has established the College of Adult and Professional Education (CAPE). The CAPE centers provide professional education in other cities of North Carolina including Greenvillemarker, Kannapolismarker, High Pointmarker, Rocky Mountmarker, Ahoskiemarker, Fayettevillemarker, Durhammarker, Wilmingtonmarker, and Ashevillemarker. With students at these centers, Shaw University has become one of the largest HBCUs in the state of North Carolina.


Dr. Henry Martin Tupper 1865-1893 First/Founder
Dr. Charles Francis Meserve 1894-1919 Second
Dr. Joseph Leishman Peacock 1920-1931 Third
Dr. William Stuart Nelson 1931-1936 Fourth
Dr. Robert Prentiss Daniel 1936-1950 Fifth
Dr. William Russell Strassner 1951-1962 Sixth
Dr. James Edward Cheek* 1963-1969 Seventh
Dr. King Vergil Cheek* 1969-1971 Eighth
Dr. J. Archie Hargraves 1971-1977 Ninth
Dr. John Lucas* 1981-1987 Eleventh
Dr. Talbert O. Shaw 1988-2002 Twelfth
Dr. Clarence G. Newsome 2003-2009 Thirteenth

Founding to the 1860s

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 Hallmarker 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.
Leonard Medical School and adjoining hospital, c.1910
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.
Tyler Hall, formerly Leonard Medical School hospital, 2008
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 Universitymarker, Elizabeth City State Universitymarker, and Fayetteville State Universitymarker 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 Universitymarker. What became North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State Universitymarker was located on Shaw's campus during its first year.

U.S. Civil Rights Movement

Leonard Hall, 2008
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. 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, Pharmocology, and Dentistry with North Carolina State Universitymarker and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State Universitymarker 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 Hillmarker 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 Universitymarker, Saint Augustine's College, Wake Technical Community College, Peace Collegemarker, and Meredith Collegemarker.

Study of World War II service of black veterans

Estey Hall, 2008
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.marker Department of Defensemarker. 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, Idahomarker, was alive to receive his medal. Those who were awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously were: 1st Lt. Charles L. Thomas of Detroit, Michiganmarker; Pvt. George Watson of Birmingham, Alabamamarker; Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter Jr. of Los Angeles, Californiamarker; 1st Lt. John R. Fox of Boston, Massachusettsmarker; Pfc. Willy F. James Jr. of Kansas City, Kansasmarker; and Staff Sgt. Ruben Rivers of Tecumseh, Oklahomamarker.

Campus Life


Shaw University is a member and co-founder of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference. Shaw University's Basketball team participates in the CIAA annual Basketball Tournament, which is the third most attended athletic event in collegiate sports after the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East tournaments. Shaw fields 14 varsity athletic teams including teams in men's basketball, women's basketball, football, tennis, baseball, cheerleading, men's and women's track and field, volleyball, golf, and bowling.

In 2002, Shaw University's men's basketball team won the CIAA championship. Also the lady's basketball team, won the 2008 CIAA championship. The football team, reestablished by Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, plays at the Durham Co. Memorial Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. It won the CIAA football championship in 2004, 2008, & 2009.

Extracurricular Activities

There are several organizations and clubs on-campus, including The Shaw Players and Company, the Student Government Association, cheerleaders, intramural and extramural sports, sororities, fraternities, gospel and university choirs. The University also has jazz, pep, and concert bands as well as the COGs (Children of God) which represents a wide range of student activities that exist at Shaw University. The university's radio station, 88.9 FM or WSHA, is one of the popular jazz stations in the triangle. The university supports the Honda Quiz Bowl Team, the Shawensis Literary Club, the Shaw Men and Shaw Women Society, the Divine Nine, the Student North Carolina Association of Educators, the Pre-Alumni Council, and the Shaw Journal Campus Newspaper. These pre-professional organizations provide ways to enhance classroom activities while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow students.

Marching band

Shaw's marching band better known as the "platinum sound" was reestablished in the Fall of 2002 along with the reestablishment of the football team. The band has grown from 80 members in 2002 to over 130 members. Shaw's marching band has participated in the Honda Battle of the Bands at the Georgia Domemarker in Atlanta, Georgiamarker. Also, several Shaw student-musicians played the sounds behind the 2002, Twentieth Century Fox motion picture, Drumline.

Campus Infastructure

Shaw University consists of 32 buildings and nine additional campuses across the state of North Carolinamarker. The main campus is located in the heart of downtown Raleighmarker. Five of the thirty-two buildings are national and state historic landmarks which are the Frazier House, Estey Hallmarker, Tyler Hall, Leonard Hall, and the Rogers-Bagley-Daniels-Pegues House. The Campus has a memorial garden in the heart of the campus which is also the location of the tombs of the founder of Shaw University, Dr. Henry Martin Tupper and his wife Sarah and the University Belltower, that was erected in honor of those who came and left the institution, from its founding to its present. The Campus has Three Libraries, The James E. Cheek Library, The TOS Education Library, and the Divinity School Library, that houses over 25000 volumes, 10,000 ebooks, and many other sources of scholarly and cultural literature as well as microforms, located throughout Shaw University(including cape sites). The Campus has four dorms, the Flemming-Kee Men's Dorm, the Dimple Newsome Dorm, Talbert O. Shaw Men's Dorm and the Talbert O. Shaw Women's Dorm. Other resources available on or adjacent to the campus are McDonald's, The Willie E. Gary Student Center which houses the Bear's Den (Game Room and Grill), and the Cyber Cafe'.

Student organizations

The university has a range of student organizations, including sororities and fraternities, and honor societies. Other organizations include the Shaw Men and Shaw Women Society (organizations that emphasize development of character),the social science club,Swing Psi Swing, the Shaw University National Alumni Association, the Freemasons and the Order of the Eastern Star, the Religion and Philosophy Club, Grove Phi Grove,Inc., and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Notable alumni


  1. Carter, Wilmoth. A, Shaw's Universe, 1989 Tapestry Press

Additional references

  • Carter, Wilmoth A. Shaw's Universe: A Monument to Educational Innovation, Raleigh: Shaw University, 1973
  • Lincoln, C. Eric, The Black Church in the African American Experience, Durham: Duke University Press, 1990

External links

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