Bluefield State College in West Virginia Will Transition to University Status

Bluefield State College is a historically Black educational institution in West Virginia, that readers of JBHE do not see a lot written about on this website.  The main reason for this is that today the student body at Bluefield State College is only 10 percent Black.

Bluefield State College was founded in 1895 as the Bluefield Colored Institute to provide higher education to the children of African-American coal miners in the region. Heavyweight champion Joe Louis held boxing exhibitions in the gymnasium. Langston Hughes read poetry on campus. Count Basie and Duke Ellington played at fraternity parties. In 1929, the named was changed to Bluefield State Teachers College and in 1943 to Bluefield State College.

After the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed school segregation across the nation, the combination of high educational quality and low tuition costs at Bluefield State began attracting students of European descent, a trend that has continued for decades.

Now historically Black Bluefield State is becoming a university. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has approved a resolution calling for the transition to university status. The college now offers an MBA degree and has fulfilled the requirement that at least two thirds of its faculty holds a terminal degree.


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