Norfolk State University

Norfolk State University (NSU) is a public historically black university in Norfolk, Virginia. The university is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Virginia High-Tech Partnership.

Norfolk State University
Other name
Former name
Norfolk State College
Norfolk Division of Virginia State College
Norfolk Polytechnic College
MottoWe See the Future in You
TypePublic, HBCU
Established18 September 1935 (1935-09-18)
AffiliationOak Ridge Associated Universities
Virginia High-Tech Partnership
Endowment31 million
PresidentDr. Javaune Adams-Gaston,Ph.D.[1]
Academic staff
247 [2]
Administrative staff
589 [2]
Students5,305 (Fall 2017) [2]
Undergraduates4,689 (Fall 2017) [2]
Postgraduates616 (Fall 2017) [2]
Location, ,
United States

36°50′55″N 76°15′45″W
134 acres (54 ha)
ColorsGreen, Gold and Grey [3]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I


Directors and Presidents of Norfolk State University
Samuel Fischer Scott Director 1935–1938
Lyman Beecher Brooks Director 1938–1963
Provost 1963–1969
President 1969–1975
Harrison Wilson, Jr. President 1975–1997
Marie McDemmond President 1997–2005
Alvin J. Schexnider Interim President 2005–2006
Carolyn Meyers President 2006–2010
Tony Atwater President 2011–2013
Sandra DeLoatch Acting President & Provost 2013
Eddie N. Moore Jr. Interim President & CEO 2013–2016
President 2016–2017
Melvin Stith Interim President 2018–2019
Javaune Adams-Gaston President 2019-

The institution was founded on September 18, 1935 as the Norfolk Unit of Virginia State University.[4] Eighty-five students attended the first classes held in 1935. Mr. Samuel Fischer Scott, an alumnus of Virginia Union and Portsmouth native, served as the first director with the primary focus of maintaining the solvency of the school. Dr. Lyman Beecher Brooks, a Virginia Union alumnus, succeeded Mr. Scott as director in 1938, and served as provost, 1963–1969, and the first president 1969–1975.

In 1942, the school became independent of VSU and was named Norfolk Polytechnic College.[4] Within two years, by an act of the Virginia Legislature, it became a part of Virginia State College (now Virginia State University).[4] By 1950, the 15th anniversary of the college founding, the faculty had grown to fifty and the student enrollment to 1,018. In 1952, the college's athletic teams adopted the "Spartan" name and identity.

The City of Norfolk provided a permanent site for the college on Corprew Avenue, and in 1955 Brown Hall, formerly Tidewater Hall, opened as the first permanent building on the new campus. In 1956 the future Norfolk State College granted its first bachelor's degrees.

In 1969, the college divided from Virginia State College and was named Norfolk State College. The college was issued accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools the same year with an enrollment of 5,400 students. In 1975 and the year following, the first master's degrees were awarded in Communications and Social Work, respectively. Dr. Harrison Benjamin Wilson, Jr., in 1975, succeeded Dr. Lyman Beecher Brooks as President after 37 years.

When the college was granted university status in 1979 by the General Assembly of Virginia, it changed its name to Norfolk State University.

Norfolk State University celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1985 with a year of observances and with an enrollment of 7,200. In 1995 Norfolk State University's enrollment reached 9,112.

Upon the retirement of Dr. Harrison Benjamin Wilson in 1997, Dr. Marie Valentine McDemmond, became NSU's third President in 1997 and served until her retirement. Dr. Alvin J. Schexnider became interim president in July 2005. Dr. Carolyn Winstead Meyers was selected as the fourth President and began service on July 1, 2006. Dr. Tony Atwater was announced as the new president in 2011 becoming the fifth president and served until he was removed by the board of visitors of Norfolk State University on August 23, 2013. Dr. Sandra DeLoatch the Provost and President of Academic Affairs was named acting president effective.[5] On September 13, 2013, Eddie N. Moore Jr. was appointed interim president of Norfolk State University and started serving in that capacity on September 23, 2013.[6]

In December 2013, the university was placed on probation by its regional accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, for "financial and governance issues."[7] The probation was lifted two years later.[8]

Eddie Moore, Jr. became the 6th president of Norfolk State University on January 10, 2016.[9]

Upon President Moore announcing his retirement in late September 2017 the NSU board of visitors named Dr. Melvin Stith as interim president. He assumed office on January 1, 2018. On June 24, 2019 Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston will become the 7th president of Norfolk State University after moving from her job as Senior Vice President for Student Life at The Ohio State University.[10]


The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited Norfolk State to award associate, baccalaureate, master and doctoral degrees.[11] Currently, Norfolk State offers two doctorate and 15 master's degrees, including master's degree programs in Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, and Criminal Justice. The school also offers 36 undergraduate degrees, including the only undergraduate degree in Optical Engineering in Virginia.[12]


Norfolk State's undergraduate and graduate programs are divided into eight schools/colleges.[13]

  • School of Business
  • School of Education
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Engineering, Science & Technology
  • School of Social Work
  • School of Extended Learning
  • Honors College
  • Graduate School


Located on the former site of the 50-acre (202,343 m2) Memorial Park Golf Course, which the city of Norfolk sold to the school for one dollar, the campus now encompasses 134 acres (0.5 km2) of land and 31 buildings.

The Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall is a large health, physical education, and ROTC complex with a seating capacity of 7,500. Other facilities include a 30,000-seat football stadium; a television studio and radio station, an African art museum, and a multi-purpose performing arts center. Research facilities include a life sciences building with a planetarium and a materials research wing with crystal growth, organic synthesis, laser spectroscopy, and magnetic resonance equipment.

In September 2009, the New Student Center facility opened. The three story building, which includes a game room, a dining area, a new bookstore, a wellness center (work-out facility), student lounges, and administrative offices, marks the first of two major projects for NSU.

Construction on a New Nursing and General Classroom Building is underway and scheduled to open in 2014, . Other recent construction on the campus includes the new police station (2007), the Marie V. McDemmond Center for Applied Research (2006), and the Spartan Suites Apartments (2005), and state-of-the-art Library (2012).

Student activities

Campus organizations

The below list includes organizations registered with the Norfolk State University Office of Student Actitvities for the 2007–2008 academic year.[14]

200 Plus Men
Alpha Kappa Alpha
Alpha Kappa Mu
Alpha Phi Alpha
Alpha Phi Omega
Association for Computer Mach.
Athletes in Action
Baptist Student Union
Biology Society
Caribbean Students Association
Chi Alpha
Chi Eta Phi
Concert Choir
Dance Theatre
Delta Sigma Pi
Delta Sigma Theta
DNIMAS Student Association
Finance & Banking Association
G.I.S.E.T. (Girls in Sci.Eng. & Tech.)
Golden Key Honour Society
Gospel Choir/Voices of Inspiration
Grace Campus Ministry
Graduate Student Association
Habitat for Humanity
International Student Organization
Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers
Iota Phi Theta
Junior Class
Kappa Alpha Psi
Kappa Kappa Psi
Mass Communications Student Assoc.
Mu Omicron Gamma
National Broadcasting Society
National Pan-Hellenic Council
National Society of Black Engineers
National Society of Minorities in Hos.
National Society of Pershing Angels
National Society of Pershing Rifles
Nursing Honor Society
Optical Society of America
Omega Psi Phi
Phi Beta Sigma
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
Pi Sigma Epsilon
Political Science Association
Pre-Alumni Club
Psychology Club
Residence Life Association
Senior Class
Sigma Gamma Rho
Society for Advancement of Management
Society of Physics Students
Sociology Club
Sophomore Class
Spanish Club
Spartan Reflections Yearbook
Student Ambassadors
Student Athlete Advisory Com.
Student Government Association
Student Nurses Association
Student Va. Education Association
The Spartan Echo, NSU's student newspaper
Tau Beta Sigma
Veterans Club
Whitney Young Social Work Club
Zeta Phi Beta

The university offers organized and informal co-curricular activities including 63 student organizations, leadership workshops, intramural activities, student publications and student internships.


Norfolk State sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (Football Championship Subdivision for all sports including football) in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Norfolk State was formerly a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Conference (1953–1960) and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1962–1996).[15]

The 2011–12 Norfolk State Spartans men's basketball team won the 2012 MEAC Men's Basketball Tournament championship which gave them the conference's automatic bid in the 2012 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the school's first ever appearance in the tournament. The Spartans, a 15 seed, defeated the #2 seeded Missouri Tigers in the second round, 86-84. This victory was only the fifth time in NCAA Tournament history that a 15 seed defeated a 2 seed, with the last coming in 2001 by MEAC in-state rival Hampton.[16][17]

Marching band

The Marching Spartan Legion Band performs at campus events and during Norfolk State football games. They were featured performers in the Honda Battle of the Bands in 2007 and 2008. In 2018 they were featured in the official music video for the song Heavy Metal by French house act Justice[18].

National fraternities and sororities

All nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations currently have chapters at Norfolk State University. These organizations are:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚΑ Delta Epsilon ΔΕ
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ Epsilon Pi ΕΠ
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ Epsilon Theta ΕΘ
Iota Phi Theta ΙΦΘ Delta Δ
Kappa Alpha Psi ΚΑΨ Epsilon Zeta EZ
Omega Psi Phi ΩΨΦ Pi Gamma ΠΓ
Phi Beta Sigma ΦΒΣ Delta Zeta ΔΖ
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ Gamma Nu ΓΝ
Zeta Phi Beta ΖΦΒ Zeta Gamma ΖΓ

The Council of Independent Organizations includes:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Chi Eta Phi ΧΗΦ Eta Beta ΗΒ
Mu Omicron Gamma ΜΟΓ Gamma Γ
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia ΦΜΑ Rho Mu ΡΜ
Sigma Alpha Iota ΣΑΙ Lambda Rho ΛΡ
Pi Sigma Epsilon ΠΣΕ Epsilon Tau ΕΤ
Tau Beta Sigma ΤΒΣ Epsilon Sigma ΕΣ
Kappa Kappa Psi ΚΚΨ Iota Xi ΙΞ
Pershing Rifles P/R Company R-4 R-4
Pershing Angels P/A Company R-4-5 R-4-5
Alpha Phi Omega ΑΦΩ Phi Mu ΦΜ

Student media


The Spartan Echo is the official student-produced newspaper of Norfolk State University. The paper is available in print (available twice a month) and on the web (updated daily).[19]

WNSB (College Radio Station)

Norfolk State operates WNSB(FM) radio, which broadcasts in stereo 24 hours a day from the campus and covers all of the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, reaching the Eastern Shore of Virginia, northeast North Carolina and the Richmond, Virginia suburbs.[20] Established on February 22, 1980 (1980-02-22) and known as "Hot 91.1", WNSB's programming is also broadcast via the internet.[20][21]

Notable faculty and staff

This list of notable faculty and staff contains current and former faculty, staff and presidents of the Norfolk State University.

Name Department Notability Reference
Na'im Akbar Psychology Clinical psychologist, prominent lecturer, and author on the psychology of Africans [22]
Anthony Evans Athletic Current interim head men's basketball coach at Norfolk State University and former head coach at Delhi Tech (Delhi, N.Y.) and Ulster County Community College (Kingston, N.Y.) [23]
Yacob Haile-Mariam Business an elected member of the Ethiopian parliament and a former Senior Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Adolphus Hailstork Music former professor of music and Composer-in-Residence at Norfolk State [24]
Robert R. Jennings Administration current president of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
Yvonne B Miller Professor Emeritus Democratic State Senator who represents the 5th Senatorial District of the Commonwealth of Virginia. [25]
Steve Riddick Athletic Olympic gold medal winner and former Norfolk State University coach

Notable alumni

This is a partial list of notable alumni which includes graduates, non-graduate former students, and current students of Norfolk State University or predecessors such as Norfolk State College.

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Willard Bailey 1962 Former head football coach at Virginia Union University, Norfolk State University, and Saint Paul's College
Gordon Banks Guitarist, producer, writer and musical director [26]
Al Beard Former ABA player for the New Jersey Americans [27]
Ron Bolton 1972 Former NFL player for the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns [28]
Karen Briggs Violinist [29]
Chris Brown Bahamian track & field sprinter
Don Carey 2009 NFL safety for the Browns Jaguars, Lions [30]
Eric Crozier Former MLB player for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bob Dandridge 1969 Former NBA player for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Bullets [31]
Ray Epps 1977 Former NBA player for the Golden State Warriors [32]
Evelyn J. Fields 1971 Former director of the Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps Operations and the NOAA Commissioned Corps. She was the first woman and the first African American to hold this position. [33]
Future Man Percussionist and member of the jazz quartet Béla Fleck and the Flecktones [34]
Willie Gillus Former NFL player for the Green Bay Packers [35]
Elbert Guillory Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate from Opelousas, Louisiana; elected as a Democrat in 2007 but switched parties on May 31, 2013 [36]
Algie Howell American politician
Jedidah Isler 2003 First African-American woman to receive a PhD in Astrophysics from Yale University in 2014 [37]
Raymond Alvin Jackson 1970 United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia
Ray Jarvis Former NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and the New England Patriots [38]
Leroy Jones Former NFL player for the San Diego Chargers [39]
Pee Wee Kirkland First-round NBA draft pick (1969, Chicago Bulls) and notable Rucker Park street basketball star. As a junior, he teamed with Bob Dandridge, and was named to the all-tournament team at the NCAA Mideast Regional in 1967. [40]
Nathan McCall Former reporter for the Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Washington Post and the author of the best selling book Makes Me Wanna Holler
Yvonne B Miller Democratic State Senator who represents the 5th Senatorial District of the Commonwealth of Virginia [25]
Alex Moore American football player [41]
Kyle O'Quinn 2012 NBA player for the New York Knicks
David Pope 1984 Former NBA player for the Utah Jazz, Kansas City Kings, and the Seattle SuperSonics [42]
Ken Reaves Former NFL player for the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and the St. Louis Cardinals [43]
Tim Reid 1968 Comedian, actor, director [44]
Randall Robinson African-American lawyer, author and activist, who is noted as the founder of TransAfrica [45]
James Edward Roe 1995 Former NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens and Arena Football League player for the San Jose SaberCats [46]
J.B. Smoove Actor, writer, and stand-up comedian, best known for role as Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm [47]
Chandra Sturrup Bahamian track sprinter; Gold Medal Winner in the 2000 Olympics
Shawn Z. Tarrant 1998 Member, Maryland House of Delegates
Andrew Warren 1993 Former U.S. diplomat to Algeria [48]
Susan Wigenton 1984 Federal Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
D'Extra Wiley Entertainment veteran, producer and former MCA Records R&B Artist for the 90's New Jack group II D Extreme

See also


  2. "Fact Book 2013-2017" (PDF). Norfolk State University. Norfolk State University Office of Institutional Research. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  3. "Norfolk State University Brand and Visual Identity Quick Guide" (PDF). Norfolk State University. Norfolk State University. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  4. "About Norfolk State". Archived from the original on 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  5. Denise M. Watson (23 August 2013). "Norfolk State board fires President Tony Atwater". Virginian Pilot. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  6. Denise M. Watson (13 September 2013). "Norfolk State names Moore as interim president". Virginian Pilot. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  7. "Southern Accreditor Clears Virginia, Fisk, Florida A&M". Inside Higher Ed. December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  8. "Southern Accreditor Places Tennessee-Martin on Probation". Inside Higher Ed. December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  9. Green, Kevin. "NSU finalizes contract with former interim president". WAVY-TV. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  10. "President-elect | Norfolk State University - Norfolk State University". Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  11. "Accreditation and Affiliations". Norfolk State University. Archived from the original on 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  12. "Engineering Schools in Virginia". Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  13. "Schools of NSU". Archived from the original on 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  14. "Student Organizations and Activities". Archived from the original on 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  15. "College Football Data Warehouse: Norfolk State Historical Data". Archived from the original on 2007-11-04. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  16. ESPN
  17. Skretta, Dave (March 16, 2012). "Norfolk State upsets Missouri 86-84 in NCAA tourney". The Virginian-Pilot (Associated Press). Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  19. "Spartan Echo". Spartan Echo. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  20. "Norfolk State University Student Life". Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  21. "WNSB Hot 91.1 = Norfolk State University". Archived from the original on 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  22. "Dr. Na'im Akbar". Na'im Akbar Consultants. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  23. "Norfolk State Athletics". Norfolk State University. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  24. "Old Dominion University Libraries Adolphus Hailstork Collection Biography". Old Dominion University. Archived from the original on January 1, 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  25. "Yvonne B. Miller – State Senator". Yvonne B. Miller. Archived from the original on 2008-02-18. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  26. Gordon Banks at AllMusic
  27. "Al Beard Statistics". Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  28. "Ron Bolton Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  29. "Karen Briggs". Diva Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  30. "Don Carey Recent Games Career Stats". Retrieved 2011-01-13.
  31. "Bob Dandridge Statistics". Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  32. "Ray Epps Statistics". Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  33. Boyd, Charles E. (February 2001). "Rear admiral Evelyn Fields, NOAA Corps, rises to a prestigious military level". Black Collegian. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  34. Roy Wooten at AllMusic
  35. "Willie Gillus". Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  36. "Elbert Guillory". Ballotpedia. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  37. "Jedidah Isler First African-American Woman To Receive A Yale PhD In Astrophysics". Retrieved 2016-12-26.
  38. "Ray Jarvis – Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  39. "Leroy Jones – Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  40. Mallozzi, Vincent M. (1997-01-12). "The Legend of Pee Wee Kirkland Grows". The New York Times Print Edition. The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  41. "ALEX MOORE". Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  42. "David Pope Statistics". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  43. "Ken Reaves – Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  44. "Tim Reid". The Museum of Broadcast Communications.
  45. "TransAfrica founder, Randall Robinson . ." The African American Registry. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  46. "James Roe – Past Stats, Statistics, History and Awards". Archived from the original on 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  47. Axelrod, Josh (14 January 2012). "The Comedic Stylings of J.B. Smoove". Retrieved 2013-03-21.
  48. "The Spartan Bookcase -Alumni authors". Norfolk State University. Archived from the original on 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
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