Shaw University exists to advance knowledge, facilitate student learning and achievement, to enhance the spiritual and ethical values of its students, and to transform a diverse community of learners into future global leaders. (Approved by the Shaw University Board of Trustees on October 16, 2008)
Expanded Statement of Purpose
Shaw University was founded in 1865 by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of the Baptist Church to provide theological education to freedmen after the Civil War. It is a private, coeducational, liberal arts institution of higher learning with the main campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and five satellite campuses dispersed throughout the state. Shaw University is committed to providing educational opportunities to all segments of society without regard to race, creed, or ethnic origin. However, as the oldest historically African-American university in the south, it has maintained a special interest in the education of minorities from diverse backgrounds, with academic potential for success. Consistent with its motto, Pro Christo et Humanitate (For Christ and Humanity–that religion and learning may go hand in hand, and character grow with knowledge), Shaw University seeks to empower students with a sense of moral purpose based on Christian principles that provide guidance for intellectual and personal growth.
Shaw University is committed to the transformative educational process of preparing graduates for citizenship in the twenty-first century workplace and for graduate or professional school, and seeks to instill in its students a philosophy that values lifelong learning, leadership, and service. In order to meet the challenges of a global society, Shaw University endeavors to develop graduates who are broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences, possessing the knowledge and skills required of all disciplines, and the competencies associated with their chosen fields of study. Students who successfully complete undergraduate degree programs at Shaw University will demonstrate proficiency in critical and creative thinking, an ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; proficiency in mathematical reasoning skills, scientific inquiry, technological and information literacy, an awareness of and commitment to ethical judgment, awareness of global issues, knowledge of diverse human cultures, and a commitment to personal and social responsibility. Students enrolled in graduate degree programs will, upon graduation, be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge in their chosen discipline.
The mission of Shaw University is to advance knowledge, facilitate student learning and achievement, to enhance the spiritual and ethical values of its students, and to transform a diverse community of learners into future global leaders, by providing quality educational programs and services to students that prepare graduates to lead productive lives and successful professional careers as citizens in a globally competitive society.
Central to the accomplishment of this mission is the recruitment and retention of qualified faculty and staff, who possess the qualifications and expertise to actively support students in the learning process. The University demonstrates its commitment to teaching and learning by providing quality educational programs and services in a safe and supportive learning environment, which meet the needs of students, promotes personal growth and development, and fosters academic achievement and student success. In addition to teaching and learning, Shaw University strives to create and maintain an academic climate that promotes the scholarship of research and the pursuit of new knowledge through active research programs. The University also recognizes its responsibility to instill in students, the importance of making a difference, not only in their own lives, but in the lives of others, by partnering with local communities to provide services that improve the human condition and contribute to the betterment of society. (Approved by the Board of Trustees on May 7, 2010)
On December 1, 1865, when Henry Martin Tupper undertook the organization of a theology class as a means of teaching Freedmen to read and interpret the Bible, no one envisioned the end result of this being the establishment of a university. Rapid growth in the size of this class led to the purchase of land in 1866 for the purpose of erecting a building to serve as both church and school. The school was named the “Raleigh Institute,” and it functioned as such until 1870, when it was supplanted by “The Shaw Collegiate Institute.” In 1875, it was incorporated as “The Shaw University,” which name it still bears, with the charter specifying that students were to be admitted without regard to race, creed, or sex. The school does not bear the name of its founder but of Elijah Shaw, the benefactor who provided funds for the first building, Shaw Hall, erected in 1871.
The coeducational emphasis of the institution was noted with the erection of Estey Hall (1873), the first dormitory in the United States for African-American women. The building was named for its primary benefactor, Jacob Estey, and was used as a residence hall for women until 1968 and for men from 1968 to 1970. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and now serves as a cultural center for the Raleigh community.
Shaw University graduated its first class in 1878, its first theology graduates in 1880, its first class of medical doctors in 1886, awarded its first law degree in 1890, and awarded its first pharmacy degree in 1893. In 1909, the Normal Department was supplanted by an Education Department, and in 1910, the Preparatory Department became a four-year academy. The professional schools were closed in 1918, but the college, the Theological Department, and the academy were continued, the latter existing until 1926. The Theological Department became a theological seminary in 1933 and continued as a part of Shaw University until 1976, when it became an independent institution.
Since 1921, Shaw has functioned primarily as a liberal arts college, although it has retained its name as a university. In 1931, Shaw University elected its first African-American president, Dr. William Stuart Nelson, who served from 1931 to 1936. In 1963, Dr. James E. Cheek, a 1955 alumnus of Shaw University became its ninth president. Dr. Cheek was president from December 1963 to June 1969. Dr. Talbert O. Shaw, the 12th President of Shaw University (1987-2003), led the institution in its “Strides to Excellence: Why Not the Best?” campaign. He and Shaw University was the subject of a March 1994 cover article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the leading college and university professional publication. The article focused on the University’s recent history, remarking on the great strides it has made and the momentum it has developed.
Dr. Clarence G. Newsome served as the 13th President. Under his administration, cutting-edge technological advances were installed; land acquisition increased; professional partnerships were established; and faculty, staff, and student morale showed signs of positive improvement. His vision, “A New Shaw for a New Millennium,” coupled with “Strides to Excellence: Only the Best” characterized the administration of Dr. Newsome.
Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy was named Interim President in June, 2009. Dr. Yancy served as the 14th and first female President of The Shaw University. Under her leadership, the University restructured its debt and greatly improved its CFI (Composite Financial Index) ratio - an indication of institutional viability and completed renovations to over 17 campus buildings. Prior to Shaw University, Dr. Yancy served as the 15th President of Johnson C. Smith University.
In September, 2010, Dr. Irma McClaurin was named 15th President of Shaw University. Among Dr. McClaurin’s goals was to establish, foster, and nurture a culture of collaboration and partnerships, specifically related to what she described as the four Es (E4) - employment, economy, education, and emerging technologies.
Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy returned in September of 2011 to take the helm of Shaw University as its 16th President. The focus, during her tenure, has been strategic planning to build Institutional capacity to support teaching, research and service, create financial stability and growth, enhance student success and competitive edge, create innovation and development, and enhance community engagement and service.
Dr. Gaddis Faulcon was named Acting President in January 2014. Dr. Faulcon, who served as a faculty member and the Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Shaw University, has chosen the following priorities for the University: to increase retention; to increase enrollment at the CAPE sites; and to improve the customer service experience across the academy.
Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy was named the 17th President in August 2015. Dr. Dubroy is a proud alumnus of Shaw University. She initiated the EPIC program- Entreprunial Thinking and Excellence, Presence, Innovation, and Customer Care.
Dr. Paulette R. Dillard was appointed the 18th President in September 2018. Dr. Dillard previously served as Shaw University’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. She has ushered in a new era of excellence which will focus on student academic and career success, the development of new programs, new revenue streams, streamlined structures and processes all of which are institutional priorities captured in our 2020 Strategic Plan.