Cheyney University is a higher learning institution based in southeastern Pennsylvania offering both undergraduate and graduate programmes. Founded by Quaker and abolitionist Richard Humphreys in 1837 as the Institute For Coloured Youth, it is considered the oldest university in the United States built specifically for African American students. The expansive 275-acre campus in country surroundings was acquired in 1902, after purchase from Quaker and farmer George Cheyney, for whom the university is now named.
At undergraduate level Cheyney is divided into the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education and Professional Studies. The B.S. offered in Business Administration uses periods of one on one teaching and the latest technology in training the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders, requiring 57 semester hours of work in fields from humanities to health and physical education.
Outside of the historic campus is the Cheyney Centre at Philadelphia, a campus that is located in the great American city and offering graduate programmes in Education and Public Administration, and seven accelerated undergraduate degree programmes.
Since 2001 Biddle Hall has been host to a fine art gallery and has housed exhibitions from renowned local and countrywide artists. In 2015 photographer Denise Allen introduced a display of photography entitled My Son Matters, motivated by the death of Trayvon Martin in using photos of her child to highlight difficulties faced by African American mothers.
A historically important figure to have been educated at Cheyney was Octavius Catto, who campaigned for the passage of the 15th Amendment and was himself killed when travelling to the ballot box. Civil rights and gay rights activist Bayard Rustin also attended Cheyney, as did playwright Levy Lee Simon and Rebecca Cole, the second African American woman to become a doctor in the United States.