Hampton University: Educating for Life in the New Century; Virginia Institution Celebrates 135th Anniversary

By Foston, Nikitta A. | Ebony, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Hampton University: Educating for Life in the New Century; Virginia Institution Celebrates 135th Anniversary


Foston, Nikitta A., Ebony


WITH seven colleges, 38 bachelor's degree programs, 14 master's degree programs and four doctoral or professional degrees, Hampton University is on the cutting edge of American education, offering state-of-the-art facilities and the latest in technological innovation.

Nestled on the waterfront landscape of Southeastern Virginia, the 314-acre campus, which recently expanded to include its newest satellite campus, the College of Virginia Beach, is known as "the home by the sea," and is considered a historical and educational landmark.

Recently selected as one of the nation's "100 Most Wired Universities" by Yahoo.com, Hampton University was the first African-American university to offer a Ph.D. in nursing, the first to offer an equestrian program and the first to establish a sailing program. Hampton University was also the first African-American institution to be responsible for a major NASA mission, receiving a $92 million grant from NASA, and launching satellites from both Russia and California in the same week.

Out of more than 50 universities, Hampton was one of four universities selected, and the only African-American institution to be honored, as a Physics Frontier Center by the National Science Foundation. Hampton professors, through groundbreaking research in breast cancer detection and prosthesis development, have designed revolutionary medical devices currently used in area hospitals.

These programs are supported, in large part, by Hampton's $180 million endowment, one of the largest among African-American institutions in the United States, and the university's $200 million capital campaign, which raised $264 million. Additionally, Hampton Harbors, the university-owned shopping center and apartment complex, generates over $1 million annually for the university's scholarship programs.

Poised confidently at the helm of the prestigious institution, which attracts more than 7,500 applicants for its 1,400-seat freshman class, is Hampton University president, Dr. William R. Harvey. "In addition to the fine academics, we tout very strongly such things as honesty, integrity, respect, decency, dignity and taking responsibility for your actions," says Dr. Harvey. "My objective is not to make my mark. What I want to do is make a difference. We know what our mission is and we're carrying out what we think is good for the country, for African-Americans and for society."

Founded in 1868 by General Samuel Chapman Armstrong as Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Hampton's dedication to excellence began as an institution for emancipated African-Americans and admitted significant numbers of Native Americans in its early years. Cloaked in a heritage that includes a major African-American museum and a library that boasts more than 375,000 volumes, the 135-year-old university and the alma mater of Booker T. Washington is a testament to its founders and a wealth of opportunity for its students. …

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