About Howard University


Located in the District of Columbia (Washington, DC), Howard University is one of only 48 U.S. private, Doctoral/Research-Extensive universities, comprising 13 schools and colleges with 10,500 students enjoying academic pursuits in more than 120 areas of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University continues to attract the nation’s top students and produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. Since 1998, the University has produced a Rhodes Scholar, A Truman Scholar, six Fulbright Scholars and nine Pickering Fellows.


In November 1866, shortly after the end of the Civil War, members of the First Congregational Society of Washington considered establishing a theological seminary for the education of African-American clergymen. Within a few weeks, the concept expanded to include a provision for establishing a University. Within two years, the University consisted of the colleges of Liberal Arts and Medicine. The new institution was named for General Oliver O. Howard, a Civil War hero who was both a founder of the University and, at the same time, commissioner of the Freedman’s Bureau.

The University charter as enacted by Congress and subsequently approved by President Andrew Johnson on March 2, 1867, designated Howard University as “a University for the education of youth in the liberal arts and sciences.” The Freedmen’s Bureau provided most of the early financial support of the University. In 1879, Congress approved a special appropriation for the University. The charter was amended in 1928 to authorize an annual federal appropriation for construction, development, improvement and maintenance of the University.


Select Bibliography

The University

  • Battle, Thomas C. and Clifford L. Muse, Jr. Howard in Retrospect: Images of the Capstone. Washington, DC: Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, 1995.
  • Dyson, Walter Dyson. Howard University: The Capstone of Negro Education, A History: 1867-1940. Washington, DC: The Graduate School of Howard University, 1941.
  • Logan, Rayford W. Howard University: The First Hundred Years. New York: New York University Press, 1968.
  • Patton, William W. The History of Howard University, 1867-1888. Washington, DC: Printed at the Industrial Department of Howard University, 1896.
  • Robinson III, Harry G. and Hazel Ruth Edwards. The Long Walk: The Placemaking Legacy of Howard University. Washington, DC: Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, 1996. Watch the Long Walk video
  • Campus Virtual Tour

Departmental Histories