Norfolk State University

Norfolk State University
Norfolk State University

Seal of Norfolk State University
Motto "Achieving With Excellence"
Established 1935 (1935)
Type Public, HBCU
Endowment US $21.5 million
President Tony Atwater
Academic staff 285
Undergraduates 5,400
Postgraduates 835
Location Norfolk, Virginia,
United States

36°50′59″N 76°15′46″W / 36.8495922°N 76.2627174°W / 36.8495922; -76.2627174Coordinates: 36°50′59″N 76°15′46″W / 36.8495922°N 76.2627174°W / 36.8495922; -76.2627174
Campus Urban, 134 acres (0.5 km2)
Former names Norfolk State Unit of Virginia Union University
Norfolk Polytechnic College
Virginia State College
Norfolk State College
Academic Affiliations VHTP
U.S. Census Bureau
Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund
Colors Green and Gold
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Spartans
Affiliations MEAC
Norfolk State Spartans Logo

Norfolk State University (NSU) is a four-year, state-supported, coed, liberal arts, historically black university located in Norfolk, Virginia. It is member school of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and the Virginia High-Tech Partnership.



The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited Norfolk State to award associate, baccalaureate, master and doctoral degrees.[1] Currently, Norfolk State offers two doctorate and 15 master's degrees, including Master's degree programs in Optical Engineering, Computer Science, and Criminal Justice. The school also offers 36 undergraduate degrees, with a new degree being offered in Optical Engineering.


Norfolk State's undergraduate and graduate programs are divided into eight schools/colleges.[2]

  • School of Business
Accounting, Finance Information Management
Tourism and Hospitality
Management, Marketing, Entrepreneurship
Center for Entrepreneurship
  • School of Education
Secondary Education & School Leadership Development
Special Education
Early Childhood/Elementary Education
Center for Professional Development
Health, Physical Education & Exercise Science
  • College of Liberal Arts
Military Science (Army ROTC)
English and Foreign Languages
Fine Arts
Political Science
Interdisciplinary Studies
Mass Communications & Journalism
  • College of Engineering, Science & Technology
Allied Health
Computer Science
CMR (Center for Materials Research)
Center for Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences
STARS (Science & Technology Academicians on the Road to Success)
  • School of Social Work
Continuing Education Program
Child Welfare Education & Support Program
  • School of Extended Learning
  • Honors College
  • Graduate School


Directors and Presidents of Norfolk State University
Samuel Fischer Scott Director 1935 – 1938
Lyman Beecher Brooks Director 1938 – 1963
President 1969 – 1975
Harrison Wilson, Jr. President 1975 – 1997
Marie McDemmond President 1997 – 2006
Carolyn Meyers President 2006 – 2010
Tony Atwater President 2011-present

The institution was founded in 1935 as the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University (VUU).[3] Eighty-five students attended the first classes held in 1935. Mr. Samuel Fischer Scott, an alumnus of Virginia Union and Portsmouth native, served as the first director with the primary focus of maintaining the solvency of the school. Dr. Lyman Beecher Brooks, a Virginia Union alumnus, succeeded Mr. Scott as director in 1938, and served as provost, 1963–1969, and the first president 1969-1975.

In 1942, the school became independent of VUU and was named Norfolk Polytechnic College.[3] Within two years, by an act of the Virginia Legislature, it became a part of Virginia State College (now Virginia State University).[3] By 1950, the 15th anniversary of the College founding, the faculty had grown to fifty and the student enrollment to 1,018. In 1952, the College's athletic teams adopted the "Spartan" name and identity.

The City of Norfolk provided a permanent site for the college on Corprew Avenue, and in 1955 Brown Hall, formerly Tidewater Hall, opened as the first permanent building on the new campus. In 1956 Norfolk State College granted its first bachelor's degrees.

In 1969, the college divided from Virginia State College and was named Norfolk State College. The College was issued accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools the same year with an enrollment of 5,400 students. In 1975 and the year following, the first Master’s degrees were awarded in Communications and Social Work, respectively. Dr. Harrison Benjamin Wilson, Jr., in 1975, succeeded Dr. Lyman Beecher Brooks as President after 37 years.

When the college was granted university status in 1979 by the General Assembly of Virginia, it changed its name to Norfolk State University.

Norfolk State University celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1985 with a year of observances and with an enrollment of 7,200. In 1995 Norfolk State University's enrollment reached 9,112.

Upon the retirement of Dr. Harrison Benjamin Wilson in 1997, Dr. Marie Valentine McDemmond, became NSU’s third President in 1997 and served until her retirement. Dr. Carolyn Winstead Meyers was selected as the fourth President and began service on July 1, 2006. Dr. Tony Atwater was announced as the new president in 2011.



Located on the former site of the 50-acre (202,343 m2) Memorial Park Golf Course, which the city of Norfolk sold to the school for one dollar, the campus now encompasses 134 acres (0.5 km2) of land and 31 buildings at 36°50′59″N 76°15′46″W / 36.84972°N 76.26278°W / 36.84972; -76.26278 (36.8495922, -76.2627174)[4] [5] The Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall is a large health, physical education, and ROTC complex with a seating capacity of 7,500. Other facilities include a 30,000-seat football stadium; a television studio and radio station, an African art museum, and a multi-purpose performing arts center. Research facilities include a life sciences building with a planetarium and a materials research wing with crystal growth, organic synthesis, laser spectroscopy, and magnetic resonance equipment.

In September 2009, the New Student Center facility opened. The three story building, which includes a game room, a dining area, a new bookstore, a wellness center (work-out facility), student lounges, and administrative offices, marks the first of two major projects for NSU.

Work on a new library, currently scheduled to open in 2011, is underway. Other recent construction on the campus includes the new police station (2006), the Marie V. McDemmond Center for Applied Research (2006), and the Spartan Suites Apartments (2005).

Student activities

The university offers organized and informal co-curricular activities including 63 student organizations, leadership workshops, intramural activities, student publications and student internships.

Marching band

The Marching Spartan Legion Band performs at campus events and during Norfolk State football games. They were featured performers in the Honda Battle of the Bands in 2007 and 2008.

National fraternities and sororities

All nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations currently have chapters at Norfolk State University. These organizations are:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚA Delta Epsilon ΔE
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ Epsilon Pi
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ Epsilon Theta
Iota Phi Theta IΦΘ Delta Δ
Kappa Alpha Psi ΚΑΨ Epsilon Zeta EZ
Omega Psi Phi ΩΨΦ Pi Gamma ΠΓ
Phi Beta Sigma ΦΒΣ Delta Zeta ΔZ
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ Gamma Nu ΓN
Zeta Phi Beta ΖΦΒ Zeta Gamma

The Council of Independent Organizations includes:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Mu Omicron Gamma ΜΟΓ Gamma Γ
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia ΦΜΑ Rho Mu
Pi Sigma Epsilon ΠΣΕ Epsilon Tau ΕΤ
Tau Beta Sigma ΤΒΣ Epsilon Sigma
Kappa Kappa Psi KKΨ Iota Xi ΙΞ
Alpha Phi Omega ΑΦΩ Phi Mu ΦΜ

Student media


The Spartan Echo is the official student-produced newspaper of Norfolk State University. The paper is available in a print (available twice a month) and online (updated daily). The online edition was awarded Best Online Site and Best Online Video by the Black College Communication Association in 2009.[citation needed]

WNSB (College Radio Station)

Norfolk State operates WNSB(FM) radio, which broadcasts in stereo 24 hours a day from the campus and covers all of the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, reaching the Eastern Shore of Virginia, northeast North Carolina and the Richmond, Virginia suburbs.[7] Established on February 22, 1980 (1980-02-22) and known as "Hot 91.1", WNSB's programming is also broadcast via the internet. [1] [7][8]


Norfolk State sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (Football Championship Subdivision for all sports including football) in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Norfolk State was formerly a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Conference (1953–1960) and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1962–1996).[9]

Notable faculty and staff

This list of notable faculty and staff contains current and former faculty, staff and presidents of the Norfolk State University.

Name Department Notability Reference
Na'im Akbar Psychology Clinical psychologist, prominent lecturer, and author on the psychology of Africans [10]
Anthony Evans Athletic Current interim head men’s basketball coach at Norfolk State University and former head coach at Delhi Tech (Delhi, N.Y.) and Ulster County Community College (Kingston, N.Y.) [11]
Yacob Haile-Mariam Business an elected member of the Ethiopian parliament and a former Senior Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Adolphus Hailstork Music former professor of music and Composer-in-Residence at Norfolk State [12]
Robert R. Jennings Administration current president of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
Yvonne B Miller Professor Emeritus Democratic State Senator who represents the 5th Senatorial District of the Commonwealth of Virginia. [13]
Steve Riddick Athletic Olympic gold medal winner and former Norfolk State University coach

Notable alumni

This is a partial list of notable alumni which includes graduates, non-graduate former students, and current students of Norfolk State University or predecessors such as Norfolk State College.

A photo of Randall Robinson and his wife in Haiti in 1994 at the inauguration ceremony of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Name Class year Notability References
Willard Bailey 1962 former head football coach at Virginia Union University, Norfolk State University, and Saint Paul's College
Gordon Banks guitarist, producer, writer and musical director [14]
Al Beard former ABA player for the New Jersey Americans [15]
Ron Bolton 1972 former NFL player for the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns [16]
Karen Briggs Violinist [17]
Vincent Brothers convicted American mass murderer [18]
Don Carey 2009 NFL defensive back [19]
Bob Dandridge 1969 former NBA player for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Bullets [20]
Derek T. Dingle senior vice president/editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise magazine [21]
Ray Epps 1977 former NBA player for the Golden State Warriors [22]
Evelyn J. Fields 1971 former director of the Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps Operations and the NOAA Commissioned Corps. She was the first woman and the first African American to hold this position. [23]
Future Man percussionist and member of the jazz quartet Béla Fleck and the Flecktones [24]
Willie Gillus former NFL player for the Green Bay Packers [25]
Paul Hines football coach and the inspiration for Denzel Washington's character in the Disney film Remember the Titans
Pee Wee Kirkland First-round NBA draft pick (1969, Chicago Bulls) and notable Rucker Park street basketball star. As a junior, he teamed with Bob Dandridge, and was named to the all-tournament team at the NCAA Mideast Regional in 1967. [26]
Jose Jamier 2006 Professional Writer, Griot and Motivational Speaker, Member of Omega Psi Phi [27]
Ray Jarvis former NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and the New England Patriots [28]
Lee Johnson former NBA player for the Detroit Pistons; selected as the 72nd player (22ndth player in the 3rd round) in the 1988 NBA Draft [29]
Leroy Jones former NFL player for the San Diego Chargers [30]
Nathan McCall former reporter for the Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Washington Post and the author of the best selling book Makes Me Wanna Holler
Jon McKinney former NBA player for the Boston Celtics; selected as the 55th player (4th player in the 4th round) in the 1970 NBA Draft [31]
Yvonne B Miller Democratic State Senator who represents the 5th Senatorial District of the Commonwealth of Virginia [13]
David Pope 1984 former NBA player for the Utah Jazz, Kansas City Kings, and the Seattle SuperSonics [32]
Ken Reaves former NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and the St. Louis Cardinals [33]
Tim Reid 1968 comedian, actor, director [34]
Randall Robinson African-American lawyer, author and activist, who is noted as the founder of TransAfrica [35]
James Edward Roe 1995 former NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens and Arena Football League player for the San Jose SaberCats [36]
Shawn Z. Tarrant 1998 member, Maryland House of Delegates
Andrew Warren 1993 former U.S. diplomat to Algeria [27]

See also


  1. ^ "Accreditation and Affiliations". Norfolk State University. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  2. ^ "Schools of NSU". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  3. ^ a b c "About Norfolk State". Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  4. ^ "Geographic Names Information System". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Geographic Names Information System Feature Detail Report". U.S. Department of the Interior (U.S. Geological Survey). Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  6. ^ "Student Organizations and Activities". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  7. ^ a b "Norfolk State University Student Life". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  8. ^ "WNSB Hot 91.1 = Norfolk State University". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  9. ^ "College Football Data Warehouse: Norfolk State Historical Data". Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  10. ^ "Dr. Na'im Akbar". Na'im Akbar Consultants. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  11. ^ "Norfolk State Athletics". Norfolk State University. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  12. ^ "Old Dominion University Libraries Adolphus Hailstork Collection Biography". Old Dominion University. Retrieved 2008-01-04. [dead link]
  13. ^ a b "Yvonne B. Miller - State Senator". Yvonne B. Miller. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  14. ^ Gordon Banks at Allmusic
  15. ^ "Al Beard Statistics". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  16. ^ "Ron Bolton Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  17. ^ "Karen Briggs". Diva Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  18. ^ "The Accused". Clear Channel Broadcasting Inc.. Retrieved 2008-01-04. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Don Carey Recent Games Career Stats". Retrieved 2011-01-13. 
  20. ^ "Bob Dandridge Statistics". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  21. ^ "Derek T. Dingle Black Enterprise". Retrieved 2011-01-13. 
  22. ^ "Ray Epps Statistics". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  23. ^ Boyd, Charles E. (2001-02). "Rear admiral Evelyn Fields, NOAA Corps, rises to a prestigious military level". Black Collegian. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  24. ^ Roy Wooten at Allmusic
  25. ^ "Willie Gillus". Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  26. ^ Mallozzi, Vincent M. (1997-01-12). "The Legend of Pee Wee Kirkland Grows". The New York Times Print Edition. The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  27. ^ a b "The Spartan Bookcase -Alumni authors". Norfolk State University. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  28. ^ "Ray Jarvis - Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  29. ^ "1988 NBA Draft". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  30. ^ "Leroy Jones - Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  31. ^ "1970 NBA Draft". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  32. ^ NBA stats "David Pope Statistics". NBA stats. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  33. ^ "Ken Reaves - Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  34. ^ "Tim Reid". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. 
  35. ^ "TransAfrica founder, Randall Robinson . . .". The African American Registry. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  36. ^ "James Roe - Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Retrieved 2008-01-04. 

External links

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