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“All who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matt. 23:12

Racial Ethnic Schools and Colleges
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Sherree May
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Explore racial-ethnic schools and colleges

Photo of a young man studying

Students like this young teen are the essence of the Presbyterian Pan American School, where 96 percent of seniors go on to colleges or universities. Photo by Toya Richards Hill.

The Racial Ethnic Schools and Colleges relate to the General Assembly Mission Council through the Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women ministry area. Each college welcomes students of any racial, ethnic or cultural background. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) helps to support the racial ethnic schools and colleges through the Christmas Joy Offering. This offering is shared 50 percent with the Board of Pensions.

Educating racial-ethnic students has been a mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for decades. From Stillman College founded in 1876 to the Presbyterian Pan American School started as Texas-Mexican Institute in 1911, the denomination’s commitment has continued. Learn more about Racial Ethnic Schools and Colleges.


Discover Johnson C. Smith University

Johnson C. Smith University, a thriving educational center in Charlotte, N.C., celebrated the inauguration of the institution's 13th president, Dr. Ronald Lee Carter, in conjunction with its 142nd Founder's Day event in April, 2009. Read about the new directions the university is taking in global education and youth outreach and learn about the lives, accomplishments and future plans of JCSU's students. Learn more

Knoxville College

Founded in 1875 by the Board of Missions to the Freedmen of the United Presbyterian Church in North America for the purpose of educating blacks. The school became a college in 1877 and was operated directly by the above-named Board until the mid 1960s, at which time the church turned over management and some of the property to the Board of Trustees with the balance of the property being transferred in 1979.  After the loss of accreditation in 1997 the school leadership took a unique approach to formal education by becoming the first Historically Black College or University (HBCU) that is a work college. A work college is designed to assist the students maintain employment to pay for their education. Learn more


Menaul School

Presbyterian missionaries founded the school in 1881, and it operated as a school for Native Americans until 1891. It operated as a boarding school from 1896 until 2000 at which time Menaul became a day school. Its student body is comprised primarily of majority Hispanic/Latino and Native Americans. A change in leadership, a strong Board of Trustees, a loan from the General Assembly Mission Council, sale of some of its property and steady increase in enrollment has enabled the school to remain open and viable. At least 80 percent of its students continue their education beyond high school. Learn more


Presbyterian Pan American School

The Presbyterian Church in the United States founded the school as the Texas-Mexican Institute in 1911 and changed the name to Presbyterian Pan American School in 1956. The school is an institution that serves primarily Hispanic/Latino students that live south of the U.S. border. The institution prepares young people to be leaders in their native countries and in a society that is increasingly becoming multicultural and multilingual. The administrators of the school say, “The school has been called into being and exists to serve the Church rather than its own life and to develop Christian leadership for all the Americas and beyond. The success of the school is to be measured in the lives of its graduates who fulfill its purpose in their lives.” More than 85 percent of its students continue their education beyond high school. Learn more


Stillman College

A group of Presbyterians, led by the Reverend Charles Allen Stillman, submitted an overture to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) requesting the establishment of a training school for Negro ministers, and in 1876 Stillman College was founded. This institution has evolved into a coeducational college that serves primarily African-American students. Dr. Ernest McNealey, the former president, states, “We must constantly seek to be and do better than we are today. It is noble for individuals to aspire to achieve at the fullness of their potential, while embracing collective expectations without limits. The aim must be performance at the highest level, using the yardstick that governs the larger domain.” Learn more

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