Mississippi Valley State University – Nation’s Youngest Historically Black Public University

1 Posted by - March 3, 2023 - BLACK EDUCATION, Black History

Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) is one of the public institutions located in Itta Bena, Mississippi. This university is one of the nation’s youngest and historically Black public universities that made its name through thick and thin. In 1949, an act was passed by the Mississippi legislature that authorized the plan and development of a new institution in the city by the name of Mississippi Vocational College. The main purpose was to establish a college that can train teachers for elementary and rural schools and also provide all sorts of vocational training.

In February 1950, construction of the new school started, and the first batch of classes commenced during the summer when around 250 teachers reached the campus to attend the in-service classes. The first academic year of the college started during the fall in 1950 with the enrollment of 15 students and seven faculty members. The college provided bachelor’s degree in Science during the first academic year in 14 different areas along with extension services. After fourteen years of services, in 1964, the college got authorized to offer education, arts, and science degrees and changed its name to Mississippi Valley State College. The governor of Mississippi, Mr. William Waller granted a bill that authorized a university status to this school. After the bill, the institution had a new name and was known as the Mississippi Valley State University. The university started offering its first master degree after two years of its university status.

Till date, the MVSU holds four colleges, along with 14 undergraduate degree-conceding departments.  The degrees are granted in five different areas: elementary education, criminal injustice, teaching, special education and environmental health. The Mississippi Valley State University consists of a student body with an approximate number of 3,100 and according to a recent report by the president of the university an initiative is taken to increase the population of students in the coming future.

The major population of students in the university is mostly Black, and that makes around 95% of the total students. The ratio of men to women students in the institution is 1:2 and there is a facility of on-campus housing that caters around 1,800 students, with four female-only and five male-only residential halls. There is 121 full-time teaching staff, and the classes are held considering the semester system. Two of the most famous MVSU graduates are former NFL players Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers and Deacon Jones of the Los Angeles Rams.

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