Langston University is a public university in Langston, Oklahoma, USA. It is the only historically black college in the state and the westernmost historically black college in the United States. 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. 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. 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. Thus, despite the problems, Langston has braved the storms and produced outstanding graduates. Langston alumni are scattered throughout the nation and are serving humanity with pride.
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. The School currently has an open doors admissions policy. LU has nearly 3,000 students from several states representing a diverse student body at an Oklahoma college.
The university was accredited with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy program in 2005.
The student life at Langston University garnered the attention of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the second season of the reality television show College Hill was filmed there.
The university boasts one of the nation's top choral programs and its nearly 150 piece show band is sought after for bowl games, parades, government ceremonies and marching competitions across the nation and abroad.
The Langston University Quiz Bowl team won games against Spelman and an all-star team from the City Colleges of Chicago on the 2009 nationally televised "Black College Quiz" show airing nationally throughout Black History Month in 2009 to make the championship game.
Langston University teams, nicknamed athletically as 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 Mike Garrett.