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Founded in 1867 under the auspices of the Committee on Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, private, coeducational institution of higher learning.  Located in the rapidly growing metropolis of Charlotte, North Carolina, known as the "Queen City," this Historically Black University has a residential campus with a familial atmosphere where students are stimulated and nurtured by dedicated, caring faculty and staff.  Consistent with its Christian roots, the University recognizes the importance of moral and ethical values to undergird intellectual development and all endeavors.  JCSU believes in the unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and the value of cultivating the life of the mind. The University assigns great significance to the development of self-confidence; the understanding of one's own heritage, as well as anawareness of the cultures of others; the exploration of the myriad forcesaffecting people of this complex, technological age; and the formulation of asense of one's role in this schema.

 

The mission of JCSU is to provide an outstanding education for a diverse group of talented and highly motivated students from various ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographical backgrounds.  It offers a liberal arts education in conjunction with concentrated study in specialized fields in preparation for advanced study and specific careers.

 

Traditions at Johnson C. Smith University

 

For some 145 years, traditions have developed as a way of commemorating the important role of the University in educating young men and women. They foster a sense of pride and community among those who matriculate.

 

Founders' Day, generally celebrated in April, commemorates JCSU's founding in 1867.  In 1924, the University became the second Black institution in the state to be recognized as a standard four-year college by the North Carolina Board of Education.  It is also the first Black college in the South to receive regional accreditation. The first Black intercollegiate football game ever played in this country was between Biddle University (later to be named Johnson C. Smith University) and Livingstone College on December 27, 1892.  Biddle University won the game, 4-1,and the game ball is housed in the JCSU Archives.

 

Homecoming is celebrated each fall by hundreds of alumni and former students. Some of the festivities include alumni meetings and gatherings, dances, the coronation of Mr. and Miss. Johnson C. Smith University, pep rallies, Greek step shows, the Homecoming Football Game and tailgating, and the annual Homecoming Parade and Festiville. Gold and Blue Day is traditionally celebrated on the Friday prior to the Homecoming game.

 

Bullfest is an annual spring festival when students participate in a rich variety of cultural, social,and recreational activities.

 

International Poetry Festival features poets and poetry from around the world, providing cultural enrichment for the campus and community each spring. It grew out of Humanifest, originallysponsored by the Humanities Division.

 

The School Colors, Gold and Navy Blue, were selected in 1895 by a committee made up of J. Henry Warren, Walter A. Middleton, and Thaddeus Jerome Coles. The committee researched the meaning of many different colors to select the two most fitting. Gold and Navy Blue were determined to be the most appropriate.  The committee found both colors to represent truthfulness and loyalty.  After additional investigation, Mr. Middleton noted that Gold depicted truthfulnessa nd loyalty to an institution or organization, while Blue represented truthfulness and loyalty to an individual. These colors were felt to appropriately bind students, alumni, and the University together and were readily adopted when thecommittee made its report to the faculty and students. The colors were used for the first time on Easter Sunday in 1895 when they were displayed in every building on campus and in the rooms of boarding students. On Easter Monday, the colors were displayed at the University's first off-campus baseball game. Although not officially organized, the famous "colored" team was known as The Quick Steps and drew support from both the black and white communities.