Allen University

Allen University

Historic Coppin Hall
Former names
Payne Institute
Motto We Teach The Mind To Think, The Hands To Work, The Heart To Love
Type Private, HBCU
Established 1870
Affiliation African Methodist Episcopal Church
Endowment $307,322[1]
President Dr. Lady June Cole
Students 600
Location Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Campus Urban
Colors Blue and Gold
Athletics National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
Sports Basketball, Wrestling, Cheerleading, Track, Volleyball
Nickname Yellow Jackets
Affiliations Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Allen University is a private, coeducational historically Black university located in Columbia, South Carolina, United States. Allen University has over 600 students and still serves a predominantly Black constituency.[2]


Allen University was founded in Cokesbury in 1870 as Payne Institute. Its initial mission was to provide education to freed African American slaves. In 1880, it was moved to Columbia and renamed Allen University in honor of Bishop Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The university remains connected to the denomination, which is in the Methodist family of churches. As one of two black colleges located in Columbia, Allen has a very strong presence in the African American community. Allen University initially focused on training ministers and teachers, and over the years has enlarged its scope to produce graduates in other academic areas.

In 1885, Joseph W. Morris became president of the University.[3]


The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to offer bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees through various school.

In 2010, Washington Monthly reported that the school had a six percent graduation rate in its annual College Guide edition.[4]


Allen University

Chappelle Administration Building
Location 1530 Harden St., Columbia, South Carolina
Coordinates 34°0′38″N 81°1′14″W / 34.01056°N 81.02056°W / 34.01056; -81.02056Coordinates: 34°0′38″N 81°1′14″W / 34.01056°N 81.02056°W / 34.01056; -81.02056
Built 1891
NRHP Reference # 75001705[5]
Added to NRHP April 14, 1975

Buildings such as Arnett Hall, the Chappelle Administration Building, Coppin Hall, the Joseph Simon Flippen Library, and the Canteen Building occupy the Allen University Historic District, listed in 1975 on the National Register of Historic Places.[5][6][7] Several of the district's buildings were restored using $2.9 million in funds obtained through the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historic Building Restoration and Preservation Act. Chappelle Auditorium's seating capacity of 700 made it home to countless organizations and community events. The auditorium was the site of the meeting that initiated the efforts led to the landmark case Brown vs. the Board of Education. Nationally known musicians and artists, including Leontyne Price, Brooks Benton and Langston Hughes performed in the auditorium. Other notable appearances include: Mary McCloud Bethune, Reverend Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Reverend Jesse Jackson, George Elmore, John H. McCray and Senator Strom Thurmond.

Chappelle Auditorium is one of many buildings included in the Allen University Historic District, which is bounded by Taylor, Harden, Hampton and Pine Streets. It was designed by John Anderson Langford (1874-1946), who has been heralded as the 'Dean of Black Architects,’ and served as the official architect of the AME Church. The auditorium was named in honor of Bishop William D. Chappelle, an Allen University President. On April 14, 1975, Chappelle Auditorium was recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior and placed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

Student life

Allen University is the home of more than 15 students on-campus organizations.

Academic Organizations/Honor Societies

Civic, Religious and Social Organizations

Leadership and Development Organizations

National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations

Allen University has eight of the nine national black fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council present on campus.

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚΑ Mu M
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ Gamma Gamma ΓΓ
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ Gamma Pi ΓΠ
Kappa Alpha Psi ΚΑΨ Beta Rho ΒΡ
Omega Psi Phi ΩΨΦ Mu Sigma
Phi Beta Sigma ΦΒΣ Alpha Omicron ΑO
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ Beta Iota ΒΙ
Zeta Phi Beta ΖΦΒ Lambda Λ


Allen University teams, nicknamed athletically as the Yellow Jackets, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing as a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC), effective in the 2016-17 school year.[8] The Yellow Jackets formerly competed in the now-defunct Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (EIAC) and as an Independent of the Association of Independent Institutions (AII). Men's sports include basketball; while women's sports include basketball and volleyball.

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability References
Sam Davis former professional American football player
Hall Johnson 1908 American composer and arranger
George Harold former professional American football player
Joseph DeLaine minister and civil rights leader who worked with South Carolina NAACP on the legal case Briggs vs Elliot in 1952. It was one of the four cases argued under Brown vs. Board of Education
Lewis C. Dowdy 1939 American educator; Sixth president and first chancellor of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University [9]
Ralph Anderson 1949 member of the South Carolina House of Representatives (1991- 1996) South Carolina Senate, 19th District (1997)
Dewitt Williams 1950 member of the South Carolina Senate, 102nd District (1983-1996-present)SC Senate (1996-1997) District 102nd
Judge Daniel E. Martin, Sr 1954 member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 111th District (1984-1988)Circuit Curt Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of SC in Charleston
Floyd Breeland 1955 member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 1111th District (1992-2008)
Kay Patterson 1956 member of the South Carolina Senate, 7th District (1985-2008)
Joe E. Brown 1956 member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 73rd District (1997)
William Clyburn 1964 member of Aiken City Counci (1973-1980)(1983-1983)the South Carolina House of Representatives, 82nd District (1995-Present)
Rev. Dr. Mack T. Hines 1969 member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 59th District (1995-2007)
Clementa Carlos Pinckney 1995 member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 73rd District (1997- 2000) SC Senate District 45 (2000-2015)
Tywanza Sanders 2014 victim of the Charleston church shooting


  1. "Allen University". Best Colleges 2010. U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  2. "Southern Accreditor Clears Virginia, Fisk, Florida A&M". Inside Higher Ed. December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  3. [No Headline], Washington Bee (Washington, DC), June 20, 1885, page 3
  4. "Dropout Factories". College Guide 2010. Washington Monthly. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  5. 1 2 National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  6. Dixon, Nenie; Pat Landholt (January 26, 1975). "Octagon House" (pdf). Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  7. "Allen University Historic District, Richland County (1530 Harden St., Columbia)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  8. Allen University joins Appalachian Athletic Conference - NAIA - National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
  9. "Dr. Lewis Carnegie Dowdy Chancellor of North Carolina A&T University". Retrieved 20 May 2014.

External links

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