American Football Database
American Football Database
Voorhees College
TypePrivate, HBCU
Religious affiliationEpiscopal Church
PresidentCleveland Sellers, Jr.[1]
LocationDenmark, South Carolina, United States
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Former namesDenmark Industrial School
Vorhees Industrial Institute for Colored Youths
Vorhees School and Junior College
ColorsRoyal Blue and White

Voorhees College is a private, historically black college (HBCU) in Denmark, South Carolina. It is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Voorhees College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


In 1897, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright and Jessie Dorsey founded Denmark Industrial School for African Americans. Located in a rural area and small town, it was modeled on Tuskegee Institute. It began in the upstairs of an old store.

In 1902, Ralph Voorhees, a New Jersey philanthropist, gave the school a donation to purchase land and construct buildings. In 1904 the South Carolina General Assembly renamed the school and incorporated it as the Voorhees Industrial Institute for Colored Youths.

In 1924, the school was affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. In 1947, its name was changed to Voorhees School and Junior College. In 1962, with the addition of departments, it became accredited as Voorhees College.[2]

In 1969, the schools predominantly Black student body demanded more Black study programs and the hiring of Black faculty as well as assisting the local lower income community of Denmark with scholarships. The Voorhees administration, made up of mostly Whites, ignored the students plea. A demonstration of 500 students began as a response and this eventually led to a 2 day armed student occupation of the college. The President of Voorhees agreed to the students demands but he subsequently called on the South Carolina National Guard to over take the students, arresting them after they had already surrendered. Many were suspended.

Voorhees College Historic District

See Main Article: Voorhees College Historic District

This historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1982. It includes thirteen contributing buildings constructed from 1905 to 1935. The historic district is noteworthy as an example of pioneering education for African Americans in the early 20th century, and for its association with Elizabeth Evelyn Wright. In addition, the buildings, constructed mostly by students, showed ambitious design and masonry techniques. Many of these buildings were constructed by the students of Voorhees College as part of their crafts program.[3] Photographs of some of the buildings are available.[4]


Voorhees College teams, nicknamed athletically as the Tigers, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing as an Independent of the Association of Independent Institutions (AII). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, softball, track & field and volleyball.

Notable Alumni

Name Class year Notability References
Dr. Pamela Wilson 1994 current president of Allen University [1]
Dr. Jim Reeves 1977 Deputy Chief, Forest Service Research and Development, United States Forest Service [2]
David Miller 1984 co-owner of the OurWeekly, a weekly periodical targeting the African-American community in Los Angeles [3]


External links