Celebrating 160 Years of Scholarship & Achievement

Date of Publication: 
01/19/2011

UDC Celebrates 160 Years of Public Higher Education in Washington

Kick Off Gala Highlights Scholarship, Achievement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, DC - The University of the District of Columbia announces the beginning of a year-long series of events to commemorate 160 years of public higher education in the nation’s capital.  The gala, to be held at the Mellon Auditorium on January 29th, begins what will be a year of celebration for the District’s only public university and an opportunity for the community to engage the institution like never before.  UDC’s history is truly a remarkable history of Washington, DC itself.

The University of the District of Columbia traces its roots to the founding of the ‘Miner Normal School for Colored Girls’, established by abolitionist and educator Myrtilla Miner in 1851.  In 1879, the Miner school became a part of the DC Public School system.  In 1873, Washington Normal School, an institution formed for white girls, was established by an act of Congress and was renamed Wilson Teacher’s College in 1913.  When the US Supreme Court cleared the way for desegregation in 1955, both schools merged and became the District of Columbia Teachers College.

Over the years, efforts to combine the quality educational instruction in DC Teachers College with technical education were successful.  When Congress granted the District limited home rule in 1975, DC leaders set to work creating a full-service university with a mission of serving city residents.  In 1977, Washington Technical Institute, Federal City College and DC Teachers College were molded into one university, which opened in 1977 under the name University of the District of Columbia.  In 1996, the DC Council passed legislation merging the DC School of Law (formerly the Antioch School of Law) with UDC, creating the David A. Clarke School of Law, widely considered one of the finest public interest law schools in the US.

“We have a great opportunity to demonstrate to our community the tremendous value of their state university,” said President Allen L. Sessoms, PhD.  “This is a year in which you will see us reaching out like never before across the city, the nation and the world to catapult this institution to its rightful place as the example of quality public higher education.”

In 2009, UDC created the Community College of DC.  In 2010, after enrollment in the community college more than doubled, CCDC was moved to separate branch campuses, the headquarters being 801 North Capitol St., NE with other components located at the former Bertie Backus Middle School in Northeast, and the former PR Harris Educational Center in Southeast.  More sites are being considered as the university system continues to grow.

“We are fortunate to have city leadership that understands what is necessary to grow its public university,” said Dr. Sessoms.  “The contributions of our current mayor and city council are beyond stellar and will begin showing benefits for the thousands of students who attend UDC and the Community College.”


As the only urban land-grant institution in the United States, the University of the District of Columbia (www.udc.edu) supports a broad mission of education, research and community service across all member colleges and schools, which include the Community College, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, College Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Public Administration, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and David A. Clarke School of Law.

The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For a full version of the University’s EO Policy Statement, please visit:  http://www.udc.edu/equal_opportunity.

The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education - 3624 Market Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 267.284.5000

Contact:
Alan Etter, Vice President of University Relations & Public Affairs, aetter@udc.edu, 202.345.6371