Saint Augustine’s University
Saint Augustine’s University’s St. Agnes Hospital and Training School for Nurses provided medical care for and by African Americans. It was the “first” school of nursing in the state of North Carolina for African American students and served as the only hospital that served African Americans until 1940. One of its most famous patients was boxer Jack Johnson, the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion, who was taken to the hospital following a fatal 1946 auto accident near Franklinton, NC.
Affiliated with the Episcopal Church, Saint Augustine’s University was started by twelve Episcopal priests to teach freedmen. Alumnus Henry Beard Delany, the first African American elected Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, led as a teacher of carpentry and masonry at Saint Augustine’s University. Students who were enrolled in the carpentry and masonry classes were required to construct the university’s chapel, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Delany and his wife, Nanny, were the parents of 10 children, all of whom were born at St. Agnes Hospital. Two of their children, Sadie and Bessie, are alumnae of Saint Augustine’s University. The Delany sisters’ best-selling memoir, “Having Our Say,” was made into a hit Broadway play.
“The Falcons of Saint Augustine’s University are like a big family. From President Ward to the faculty and staff, it is a great feeling to know that they have my best interest at heart.
Stephen McLeon Junior, Sociology major
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Saint Augustine's University Facts
- Scholar-athletes at Saint Augustine’s University graduate at a higher rate than the general student body
- Saint Augustine’s University ranked as one of the Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the U.S. News &World Report’s 2016 Best Colleges list
- Saint Augustine’s University alumnus, legendary head track and field coach and athletic director George “Pup” Williams has coached 30 Olympians, including three gold medalists
- Prominent alumni include:
- Luther Barnes, gospel music recording artist
- Honorable James E. C. Perry, first African American appointed to the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit in Florida
- Bershawn “Batman” Jackson, who won the bronze medal in the 400 meter hurdles at the 2008 Olympics
- Robert X. Golphin, actor, starred in “The Great Debaters”
- Cynthia Pratt, Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas
- Dr. Selma Burke, one of America’s most gifted and distinguished artists. Her most famous work is the bust of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that appears on the U.S. 10-cent coin.
- Dr. Brian O. Hemphill, president of Radford University
- Dr. Dwight J. Fennell, president of Texas College