Since its founding in 1854, Lincoln University, the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU), has been internationally recognized for its commitment to excellence in scholarship and service. Lincoln University graduates have distinguished themselves in many fields including medicine, science, technology, education, law and the arts. In addition to our more well-known graduates — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall ’30; poet and playwright Langston Hughes ’29; the first president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe ’30; and the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah ’39 — Lincoln University and its graduates have participated in the founding of eight U.S. universities and launched the model for what became the U.S. Peace Corps. Lincoln graduates also include the first African American bishop of the United Methodist Church, Roy C. Nichols ’41, and the U.S. Navy’s first African American female rear admiral, Lillian Fishburne ’71. In 1884, the University also produced the first alumni magazine published by any college or university in the United States.
Lincoln University’s beginnings can be traced back to its founder, Presbyterian Minister John Miller Dickey; his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson; and its first two students, brothers James Ralston and Thomas H. Amos. The University was initially chartered as Ashmun Institute in honor of Jehudi Ashmun, the first governor of Liberia, and renamed Lincoln University in 1866 after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Since its inception, Lincoln has attracted an interracial and international enrollment from the surrounding community, the region and throughout the world. The University admitted women students in 1952 and formally associated with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1972 as a staterelated, co-educational university. Lincoln University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
During its distinguished history, Lincoln University has had 14 presidents: John Miller Dickey (1854-1856); John Pym Carter (1856-1861); John Wynne Martin (1861- 1865); Isaac Norton Rendall (1865-1906); John Ballard Rendall (1906-1924); William Hallock Johnson (1926- 1936); Walter Livingston Wright (1936-1945); Horace Mann Bond (1945-1957); Marvin Wachman (1961-1969); Herman Russell Branson (1970-1985); Niara Sudarkasa (1987-1998); Ivory V. Nelson (1999-2011); Robert R. Jennings (2012- 2014); and Brenda A. Allen (2017-present).
The University’s historic campus is located on 422 acres in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. It also operates an additional location in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 3020 Market Street.
The University remains committed to preserving its distinction as an intellectual and cultural resource for this region and beyond.