CSU History

Our History

...this facility for teacher training was named Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School in honor of the outstanding African-American woman who was a pioneer in teacher education.


Coppin State University is a model urban, residential liberal arts university located in the northwest section of the City of Baltimore that provides academic programs in the arts and sciences, teacher education, nursing, graduate studies, and continuing education. An HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), Coppin has a culturally rich history as an institution providing quality educational programs and community outreach services. Coppin offers 53 majors and nine graduate-degree programs. A fully accredited institution, Coppin serves Baltimore residents as well as students from around the world, with flexible course schedules that include convenient day, evening, and weekend classes and distance learning courses.

Coppin was founded in 1900 at what was then called Colored High School (later named Douglass High School) on Pennsylvania Avenue by the Baltimore City School Board who initiated a one-year training course for the preparation of African-American elementary school teachers. By 1902, the training program was expanded to a two-year Normal Department within the high school, and seven years later it was separated from the high school and given its own principal.

In 1926, this facility for teacher training was named Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School in honor of the outstanding African-American woman who was a pioneer in teacher education. Fanny Jackson Coppin was born a slave in Washington, D.C. She gained her freedom, graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio, and founded the Philadelphia Institute that was the forerunner of Cheyney State University.

By 1938 the curriculum of the normal school was lengthened to four years, authority was given for the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree, and the name of the Normal School was changed to Coppin Teachers College. In 1950, Coppin became part of the higher education system of Maryland under the State Department of Education, and renamed Coppin State Teachers College. Two years later Coppin moved to its present 38-acre site on West North Avenue.

In acknowledgment of the goals and objectives of the College, the Board of Trustees ruled in 1963 that the institution's degree-granting authority would no longer be restricted to teacher education. Following this ruling, Coppin was officially renamed Coppin State College, and in 1967 the first Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred. In 1988, the College became part of the newly organized University of Maryland System (now the University System of Maryland.)

Coppin's first president was Dr. Miles Connor, who was appointed in 1950. The institution's second president was Dr. Parlett Moore, who was appointed in 1956. Dr. Calvin W. Burnett was appointed as Coppin's third president in 1970. Coppin's fourth president, Dr. Stanley F. Battle, was appointed on March 3rd, 2003. Dr. Reginald S. Avery was appointed as Coppin’s fifth president on January 14th, 2008. Dr. Mortimer H. Neufville was appointed as Interim President, on January 22, 2013.

Fulfilling its unique mission of primarily focusing on the problems, needs and aspirations of the people of Baltimore's central city and its immediate metropolitan area, Coppin took over nearby Rosemont Elementary School in 1998, and is the first and only higher education institution in Maryland to manage a public school. Rosemont Elementary is located in the Greater Rosemont Community, an area adjacent to the University. In 1997, the Maryland Department of Education (MSDE) had declared Rosemont to be "…below acceptable standards." As operator of Rosemont, Coppin hired staff and developed the school's educational program. In 2000, Rosemont Elementary first-graders led Baltimore City in largest percentile gains in First Grade Reading. In 2003, Rosemont was removed from MSDE's "watch list" citing that Rosemont has "…made enough progress to exit the school improvement program."

Another community outreach program operated by Coppin is the Coppin State University Community Nursing Center, a fully equipped medical clinic that offers affordable health care for children and adults. The Community Nursing Center is located on the 1st Floor of the Health and Human Services Building.

Coppin, which was officially renamed Coppin State University on April 13, 2004, is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the undergraduate and graduate academic programs are accredited by a number of specialized agencies. Teacher education programs are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and are approved by the Maryland State Department of Education.

The nursing program is approved by the Board of Nursing and accredited by the National League of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The Social Work and Rehabilitation Counseling Education programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and the Council of Rehabilitation Counseling Education, respectively.

Faculty members of Coppin State University are well qualified as confirmed by all of the accrediting agencies that evaluate our academic programs. Many hold terminal degrees in their field. They come to Coppin from diverse ethnic backgrounds, with outstanding credentials from leading universities throughout the country and abroad.

The student population is comprised of nearly 4,000 students who are enrolled in day, evening and weekend undergraduate/graduate courses. Many are Baltimore residents from very diverse ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Coppin has graduated thousands of alumni who are making a tremendous impact in the State of Maryland in various fields, particularly Human Services.

Now, and in the years to come, Coppin State University will continue to help bring the dreams of its students to fruition through its educational programs, reach beyond its campus to help the community, and serve the citizens of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and the nation.