Langston University

Langston University
Former names
Oklahoma Colored Agricultural
   and Normal University
Motto Education through service
Type Public, Land-grant, HBCU
Established March 12, 1897 (1897-03-12)
President Kent Smith
Students 3,000
Location Langston, Oklahoma, U.S.
Campus Rural
Colors Blue and Orange
Nickname Lions

Langston University, abbreviated as LU, is a public university in Langston, Oklahoma, United States. It is the only historically black college in the state. Though located in a rural setting just 10 miles (16 km) east of Guthrie, Langston also serves an urban mission with University Centers in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.


The school was founded in 1897 and was known as the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University. From 1898 to 1916 its president was Inman E. Page. Langston University was created as a result of the second Morrill Act in 1890. The law required states with land-grant colleges (such as Oklahoma State University, then Oklahoma A&M) to either admit African-Americans, or provide an alternative school for them to attend as a condition of receiving federal funds.[1] Langston University is named for John Mercer Langston (1829–1897), civil rights pioneer, first African American member of Congress from Virginia, founder of the Howard University Law School, and American consul-general to Haiti. It was renamed Langston University in 1941.

Through the years Langston University has developed slowly but surely. Some of the most serious problems have been political influences, financial stress, and lack of adequate space and equipment. During the 1960s the campus underwent a complete makeover. New buildings appeared, and additions were made to the library and auditorium.

Poet Melvin B. Tolson taught at Langston from 1947 until 1964. Tolson was portrayed by Denzel Washington in the film The Great Debaters.


The university offers associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines. It is known as a leader in the field of agricultural research, and hosts the internationally recognized E (Kika) de la Garza Institute for Goat Research. LU has nearly 3,000 students from several states representing a diverse student body at an Oklahoma college.

Six schools house the degree programs of Langston University: Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Behavioral Science, Nursing and Health Professions, and Physical Therapy. A total of 29 undergraduate and 6 graduate degree programs are offered at LU.[2]

The university offers the Edwin P. McCabe Honors Program for undergraduate students with exceptional academic records and that satisfy all admission requirements.[3]

The university was accredited with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy program in 2005. It is the university's only doctoral program and one of two in the state.[4][5]

Langston University is accredited by seven different college accreditation agencies.[6]


Official Athletics logo

Langston University teams, bearing the sport name of the Lions, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC), while its football team competes in the Central States Football League (CSFL). Men's sports include basketball, cross country, football and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, softball, track & field and volleyball. The present athletic director is Donnita Rogers. The Lions won the 1939 and 1941 HBCU National Championships in football. They won two HBCU Championships in basketball in 1944-46.

Marching Pride

Langston's marching band is known as the "Marching Pride". The "Marching Pride" is a major ambassador of the university, athletics supporter, and serves as a training center for students interested in pursuing a career in music and/or developing pertinent life skills.[7]

As of 2015, the band has won three bids to the Honda Battle of the Bands in the Georgia Dome since the inaugural event in 2003.

See also

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Bessie Coleman The first African American woman pilot and the first American woman to obtain an International Pilot's license. Coleman enrolled in 1910, but could only complete one term due to financial issues.
Maurice "Mo" Bassett Former fullback for the Cleveland Browns
Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher 1945 Civil rights activist; stood at the forefront of the fight to integrate historically white law schools in the South
The Delta Rhythm Boys Jazz vocal group inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
Jennifer Hudson 2000 Professional singer, Actress (attended, but did not graduate)
Nathan Hare Founding publisher of The Black Scholar (1969-1975) and author of The Black Anglo Saxons. Also wrote the conceptual proposal for the first department of black studies; the first person hired to coordinate a black studies program in the United States (1968).
Marques Haynes Basketball Hall of Fame inductee; Basketball and football star before going on to captain the Harlem Globetrotters .
Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson 1974 Pro-Bowl linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys (1974-1979). [8]
Clara Luper 1944 Civil rights leader best known for her leadership role in the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-in Movement
Nancy Riley Former member of the Oklahoma Senate from the 37th district
Dr. Henry Ponder Former president of Fisk University, Talladega College, Benedict College, NAFEO and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Colonel Michael C. Thompson OHP Major in Oklahoma Highway Patrol; member of Oklahoma Army National Guard. Nominated in 2010 to be Oklahoma Secretary of Safety & Security as well as Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety [9].
Matthew Hatchette 1997 wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Amsterdam Admirals (1997-2003).
Robert DoQui Actor
Brendan Crawford 2013 Football quarterback


Coordinates: 35°56′41″N 97°15′41″W / 35.94472°N 97.26139°W / 35.94472; -97.26139

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