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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Allen University is the home of more than 15 students on-campus organizations.
Allen University has eight of the nine national black fraternities and sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council present on campus.
Allen University teams, nicknamed athletically as the Yellow Jackets, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing as an Independent of the Association of Independent Institutions (AII). The Yellow Jackets formerly competed in the now-defunct Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (EIAC). Men's sports include basketball; while women's sports include basketball and volleyball.
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