Southern University and A&M College has lived as a model for a long-cherished dream of thousands of people for 142 years. Illustrating a living legacy of determination, commitment and success, it is the only historically Black university system in the United States.
Southern University has been striving relentlessly through its teaching methodology to prepare students for success beyond education, creating outstanding leaders throughout its glorifying history. The school successfully retains its prodigy, staying attached to its culturally deep roots while keeping at par with the advancements in global education.
The Knowledge Review takes immense pride in presenting the esteemed University’s Journey and vision through the president of the Southern University System and chancellor of Southern University and A&M College, Dr. Ray L. Belton.
Southern University and its Fitful Journey
Southern University was chartered in 1880 by the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana following a movement led by several individuals in the 1879 Louisiana State Constitutional Convention to establish “an institution for the education of persons of color.” Southern University opened its campus in New Orleans on March 7, 1881, with 12 students. Just five years later, the institution had outgrown its facilities, and in 1892 Southern University and A&M College was recognized by the United States Federal Government as a Land Grant College. In 1914, the campus of Southern University moved from New Orleans to Scott’s Bluff, overlooking the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.
- Southern University and A&M College is the flagship of the Southern University System, the only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) system in the nation.
- Southern in the higher education community has over 30 academic programs awarding bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. With representation from more than 20 countries, Southern University is a melting pot for culture, education, and service. Its arts, nursing, engineering, computer science, and business programs, among others, continue to grow to become among the best in the state and nation. Also, Southern University is a leader in economic and workforce development on local, state, and national levels.
A Visionary Leader leading from the Front
Ray L. Belton, who has served in the dual role of president-chancellor at Southern University since 2016, led the University during many advancements. This includes the successful reaccreditation by SACS/COC and the coveted Carnegie 2 Research Institution designation. The University has also experienced a consistent increase in the student population, corporate and governmental partnerships, and in-demand programming. Alumni giving other fundraising efforts have also been lauded as some of the top philanthropic activities in the nation.
The Values of the Esteemed University
The mission of Southern University and A&M College, also an 1890 land-grant institution, is to provide a student-focused teaching and learning environment that creates global leadership opportunities for a diverse student population. The teaching, research, service, scholarly and creative expectations for students and faculty are achieved through the institution’s bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs via different instructional modalities and public service.
The University’s vision is to provide access and opportunity to students and matriculate graduates who are equipped to excel in a 21st-century, knowledge-based, global economy.
Southern University’s Core Values are:
- Academic Excellence
- Research and Scholarship
Accreditations and the Academic Excellence
Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master’s, and doctorate degrees. The University has also been named one of the top 20 HBCUs in the nation by the US News and World Report. Southern University and A&M College is a Carnegie Research 2 institution.
Southern University and A&M College prioritizes providing opportunities for the diverse population to achieve a high-quality education. The institution is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) and is proud of its rich heritage of giving highly qualified graduates. More than 96 percent of all academic programs are nationally accredited by speciality area organizations.
Academic excellence provides the highest quality education and learning experiences made possible by its academically and professionally qualified faculty and staff. Southern University offers opportunities for contextual learning, state-of-the-art facilities, safe and aesthetically pleasing surroundings, and resources necessary to support teaching and learning.
Southern University is one of the nation’s rising stars in graduate and undergraduate level education through quality undergraduate, graduate, professional, and research programs on its five campuses.
Transforming American Education
While explaining the University’s foothold and its contribution to the American education, Belton says, “The widespread accomplishments of the faculty at Southern University, the students, and alumni have positively impacted society at every level, from the White House to local and state leaders.”
Southern University continues to produce a diverse group of professionals and is proof that HBCUs are committed to instilling greatness into the workforce.
Advanced Course Offerings
Southern University prides itself on its familial environment. While speaking about how the University hones grooming young talent to make future leaders, Belton asserts, “Students are not ‘just another number,’ as class sizes are small, allowing student-instructor interaction. The University is home to many first-generation college students, nontraditional students, and even students who feel they are not quite ready for the four-year experience.” Several programs are in place at the University to assist all students with specific needs. Among them are:
University College — offers tailored advisement, tutoring, and other programs for freshman and sophomore students.
SUSLA Connect — offers two-year college classes that can transfer seamlessly into the four-year experience.
SUSLA is Southern University Shreveport, one of the SU System’s five campuses.
Other: Tutoring services, Honors College, Veteran’s program.
Vision: IMAGINE 20K
Under Belton’s leadership, Southern University and A&M College has a strategic plan, “Imagine 20K,” to be road mapped from 2018 to 2030. The plan, which includes a goal of 20,000 students, provides direction for how Southern University will continue to advance by strategically focusing investments in the areas where the University can have the most significant impact.
Southern University’s plan presents 10 broad goals to ensure that the academic programs prepare students to meet the workforce needs of a global, knowledge-based economy by welcoming the world to its campus. To accomplish this, Imagine 20K includes goals to improve campus life through infrastructural development, increase student enrollment to 20,000 students (10,000 on-campus and 10,000 online students), and expand the University’s footprint throughout the city of Baton Rouge and the state of Louisiana. The strategic plan also includes priorities to support community improvements to meet the needs of both residents and Southern stakeholders, building lasting partnerships.