Norfolk State University was founded in 1935 during the Great Depression to provide higher education to African Americans in Virginia. At its founding, it was named the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University. In 1942, the college became the independent Norfolk Polytechnic College, and two years later the Virginia Legislature made it a division of Virginia State College. The school assumed an expanded mission in 1956 when another legislative act enabled the institution to offer its first baccalaureate degree. The college separated from Virginia State College and became independent in 1969. Subsequent legislative acts authorized the granting of graduate degrees, and in 1979 designated the institution as a university. Today, the University is one of the largest predominately black institutions in the nation.
The 134-acre campus has 37 buildings and, in 2009, a student population of approximately 7000, with fifteen percent non-black. The University offers 30 bachelor degrees, 16 master's degrees, and 3 doctoral degrees. The Harrison B. Wilson Archives at Norfolk State specialize in collecting and preserving the historical records of African Americans in Virginia, and the African Art gallery features over 300 pieces of art from thirteen different countries.
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2401 Corprew Avenue