American Football Database
American Football Database
Johnson C. Smith University
MottoSit Lux
Motto in EnglishLet There Be Light
TypePrivate, HBCU
Religious affiliationPresbyterian Church (USA)
Endowment$51.1 million (Beneficiary of the Duke Endowment, 1924)[1]
PresidentRonald L. Carter
LocationCharlotte, North Carolina,
United States
CampusUrban 105 acres
Former namesBiddle Memorial Institute
Biddle University
ColorsGold and Navy Blue
AthleticsNCAA, Division II
track and field
NicknameGolden Bulls
MascotThe Golden Bull
AffiliationsCentral Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) is a private, co-ed, four-year research university of higher learning located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. JCSU is also a historically black college. JCSU offers an assortment of academic programs, aimed at ensuring that its graduates are prepared for success in the workforce. JCSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE). The school awards Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work degrees to its graduates. The school also presents many internship opportunities for its students.


Johnson C. Smith University was established on April 7, 1867 as the Biddle Memorial Institute at a meeting of the Catawba Presbytery in the old Charlotte Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Mary D. Biddle, a churchwoman, donated $1,400 to the school. In appreciation of this first contribution, friends requested Mrs. Biddle to name the newly established school after her late husband, Major Henry Biddle. Two ministers, Rev. Samuel C. Alexander and the Rev. Willis L. Miller, saw the need for a school in the south and after the birth of the school they were elected as some of the first teachers. Its coordinate women's school was Scotia Seminary (now Barber-Scotia College).[2]

In 1876, the charter was changed by the Legislature of the State of North Carolina and the name became Biddle University, under which name the institution operated until 1923.

In 1891, Biddle University elected Dr. Daniel J. Sanders as the first African-American as President of a four-year institute in the south.


Johnson Crayne Smith

From 1921 to 1922, Jane Berry Smith donated funds to build a theological dormitory, a science hall, a teachers' cottage and a memorial gate. She also provided an endowment for the institution in memory of her late husband, Johnson C. Smith. Up until her death she donated funds for five more buildings and a campus church. In recognition of these generous benefactions, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Johnson C. Smith University. The charter of the school, accordingly, was amended on March 1, 1923, by the Legislature of the State of North Carolina.

In 1924, James B. Duke established the Duke Endowment. While the largest share of that the Endowment's earnings are allocated to support Duke University, Duke's donation required that 4% of its earnings be given to the university.[3] Over the years, this share of the Endowment's distributions has exceeded $90 million.

In 1932, the university's charter was amended, providing for the admission of women. The 65-year-old institution for men then became partially coeducational. The first residence hall for women, named in memory of James B. Duke, was dedicated in 1940. In 1941, women were admitted to the freshman class. In 1942, the university was a fully coeducational institution.

JCSU joined the United Negro College Fund in 1944 as a founding member. This fund was organized primarily to help church-related schools of higher learning to revamp their training programs, to expand their plants, to promote faculty growth and to create new areas of service.[4]

In Fall 2000, JCSU launched the IBM Laptop Initiative becoming one of few colleges in the country and the first historically black college to provide an IBM laptop computer to every student. Known as "ThinkPad U", JCSU gives students and their computers complete access to the campus-wide network and the Internet. Since 1994, the ratio of computers to students improved from 1:10 to 1:1.1.[citation needed] With this new initiative and the commitment to integrate technology throughout the curriculum, JCSU gained national recognition. It also ranked #10 among Top HBCU's.

Biddle Memorial Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Student activities

Due to its location in a large urban area, there are many social and cultural activities for JCSU students and faculty to enjoy, including professional sporting events, theater/movies, concerts, art exhibits, bands, chorale, poetry readings, and dance, among others.


Student-athletes compete in intercollegiate and intramural athletics. Students can choose to be involved in various on-campus organizations, including fraternities, sororities, and intramural sports.

JCSU is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division II and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). Its intercollegiate sports programs include basketball, bowling, cross-country, football, golf, softball, volleyball, tennis, and track and field. Its teams are nicknamed the Golden Bulls.

In 2001 the men's basketball team won the CIAA Basketball Tournament and advanced to the Division II Elite Eight. In 2006 the men’s and women’s basketball teams were the CIAA Western Division Champions and the Tournament Runner-ups. In 2007 the men's basketball team were the 2007 CIAA Western Division Champions. In 2008 the men's basketball team won the 2008 CIAA Men's Basketball Championship. In 2009 the men's and women's basketball team won the 2009 CIAA basketball championship.

JCSU's on-campus stadium is called the Irwin Belk Complex which serves as home to the track and field and football teams, though homecoming games are played at the larger American Legion Memorial Stadium.

'COMMEMORATIVE CLASSIC': "The Birth of Black College Football"

On December 27 of 1892, Livingstone College and Biddle College, (Johnson C. Smith) University played in the snows of Salisbury, North Carolina, just two days after Christmas. A writer of a story in the 1930 year-book of Livingstone College provided a glimpse of that December experience when the team from Biddle Institute traveled to Livingstone's Old Delta Grove campus in Salisbury to play while writers recorded the results of a historic moment in sports history.

According to historian T.M. Martin, the men of Biddle spent two years studying and practicing the sport of football. In 1892, they challenged the men of Livingstone, whose team was formally organized in the fall of that year.

It is doubtful that when Biddle University and Livingstone College teed it up on Dec. 27, 1892, in what was described as little more than a cow pasture, no less, if the contestants in this momentous occasion had the slightest inkling of the legacy they were about to give birth to. Games of monumental historical significance, coaches of legendary proportions and players of extraordinary brilliance ultimately emerged from the mother lode that was to become known as the historically Black colleges and universities. The teams played two 45-minute halves on Livingstone's front lawn. W.J. Trent scored Livingstone's only touchdown on a fumble recovery. By then snow had covered the field's markings and Biddle argued that the fumble was recovered out of bounds. The official ruled in Biddle's favor, allowing them to keep the 5–0 lead that they had established early on and giving JCSU the historic 1st victory! And the rivalry continues....[5]

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability References
Gregory Clifton was an NFL Player with the Washington Redskins and the Carolina Panthers
Grover Covington was a Canadian Football League defensive end for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He often led the league in quarterback sacks and was a division All-Star seven times. He won the Schenley Award for Most Outstanding Defensive Player once and also lead the Tiger-Cats to a Grey Cup victory in 1986. He finished his career with 157 sacks, a CFL record. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
De'Audra Dix 2009 2008 Division II 1st Team All-American. He plays for the Montreal Allouettes in the Canadian Football League. He was the starting cornerback when the Allouettes won back-to-back Canadian Football League Grey Cup Championships in 2009 and 2010.
Eddie McGirt 1948 a CIAA football coach legend.
Pettis Norman 1962 tight end with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers. He is on the top-50 greatest Dallas Cowboys of All-Time. (the school's annual award given to the outstanding student-athlete is called the Pettis Norman Award.)


External links

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