University of the District of Columbia

University of the District of Columbia
Former names
Normal School for Colored Girls (1851–1879)
Miner Normal School (1879–1929)
Miner Teachers College (1929–1955)
Washington Normal School (1873–1913)
Wilson Normal School (1913–1929)
Wilson Teachers College (1929–1955)
District of Columbia Teachers College (1955–1977)
Federal City College (1966–1977)
Washington Technical Institute (1966–1977)
Antioch School of Law (1972–1986)
District of Columbia School of Law (1987–1996)
Motto"Aspire, Accomplish, Take on the World"
TypePublic historically black land-grant university
EstablishedDecember 3, 1851; 172 years ago (December 3, 1851)
FounderMyrtilla Miner
Academic affiliations
Endowment$49.1 million[1]
PresidentMaurice Edington[2]
Administrative staff
3,747 (Fall 2018)
Undergraduates3,867 (Fall 2018)
Postgraduates633 (Fall 2018)
Location, ,
CampusLarge city, 23 acres (0.093 km2)
Colors  Red
Sporting affiliations
MascotFelix the Firebird

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is a public historically black land-grant university in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1851 and is the only public university in the city. UDC is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The full university system offers workforce and certificate programs in addition to Associate, Baccalaureate, Master's, professional, and Doctoral degrees. The university's academic schools and programs include the UDC Community College, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of Business and Public Administration, Colleges of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability & Environmental Sciences, and David A. Clarke School of Law.

The university operates a flagship campus at Van Ness in the Northwest quadrant of the city with several branch campuses across Washington, DC. Other campuses and sites include the Lamond-Riggs Campus, Congress Heights Campus, aviation facilities (Hangar #2) at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the UDC Firebird Farm Research Farm in Beltsville, Maryland.


Dennard Plaza at the Van Ness campus.

University of the District of Columbia was consolidated in August 1, 1977 with the merge of Teachers College, Federal City College, and Washington Technical Institute.

Normal School for Colored Girls[edit]

Myrtilla Miner with six pupils founded the Normal School for Colored Girls against considerable racist opposition. On December 3, 1851, it started operations in a rented room about fourteen feet square, in a frame house then owned and occupied as a dwelling by African American Edward Younger. This was the first normal school in the District of Columbia and the fourth one in the United States.

Myrtilla Miner (1815–1864), founder of the Normal School for Colored Girls in 1851, predecessor to UDC

The school trained young black women to become teachers. Among its benefactors were the Society of Friends, Henry Ward Beecher, and his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe; Stowe donated $1,000 from the sales of her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Although Mayor Walter Lenox believed that education would make Blacks a "restless population" and local residents formed some mobs in opposition to the school, the school remained open until the Civil War began.[5] Reopened after her death, by 1879 the Normal School for Colored Girls was then known as Miner Normal School. It joined the D.C. public education system.[when?]

James Ormond Wilson Normal School[edit]

In 1873, Another institution for white girls was established in Washington D.C. in 1913 was named the Washington Normal School, and it was renamed the Wilson Normal School[6]

District of Columbia Teachers College[edit]

In 1929, the United States Congress made both schools Miner Normal School and James Ormond Wilson Normal School four-year teachers' colleges and designated Miner Teachers College for African Americans and Wilson Teachers College for white people. On July 1, 1955, following Brown v. Board of Education, the two schools merged into the District of Columbia Teachers College.[7]

Federal City College & Washington Technical Institute[edit]

U.S. Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon and Representative Ancher Nelsen of Minnesota sponsored the District of District of Columbia School Reform Act, it was enacted on November 7, 1966, as (Public Law 89-791), which established two additional institutions: $7.24 million (~$52 million in 2023)

  • The Federal City College was created as a four-year liberal arts college. It was originally planned to be a small, selective college of about 700 students. By the time the college opened in 1968, however, admission was open and applications had soared to 6000; students were placed by lottery.[8]
  • The Washington Technical Institute was established as a technical school.

Both institutions were also given land-grant status and awarded a $7.24 million endowment (USD), in lieu of a land grant. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MACS) initially accredited the Washington Technical Institute in 1971 and Federal City College in 1974.[9]

University of the District of Columbia[edit]

Efforts to unify the D.C. Teachers College, Federal City College, and Washington Technical Institute under a single administrative structure began in earnest after the passage of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act. A merger of the institutions was approved in 1975, and on August 1, 1977, the three institutions were formally consolidated as the University of the District of Columbia, with Lisle C. Carter named its first president. The Council of the District of Columbia later passed legislation merging the District of Columbia School of Law with the University of the District of Columbia in 1996.

Beginning with the 2009–2010 academic year, UDC's programs were split into two separate institutions under an umbrella "university system"-style setup. A new Community College (UDC-CC) assumed UDC's associate's degree, certificate, continuing education, and workforce development programs, while the UDC Flagship campus continued with its bachelor's and graduate degree programs. While UDC-CC maintained an open enrollment policy for entry to its associate degree programs, a high school diploma no longer guaranteed admission into UDC’s flagship programs.[10]

In late 2012, the university reported that its average expenses of "$35,152 (~$46,126 in 2023) per full-time student] are 66 percent higher than expenses for comparable schools."[11] To cut costs, UDC underwent a reorganization and eliminated several degree programs.[11]

In 2012 and 2013, the university eliminated 97 full-time equivalent positions including abolished positions, executive appointments, and vacant funded positions. In late December 2012, the Board of Trustees approved a change in the university's executive administration and appointed Rachel Petty to serve as interim COO. During the spring of 2013 James E. Lyons Sr. was hired as an interim President to lead the institution through strategic planning. Since July 1, 2015, president Ronald Mason has led the resurgence of the university by implementing its Equity Imperative.[12] UDC expanded its footprint through campus expansions and community extensions across the District of Columbia. In 2021, the university was ranked 59th in U.S. News & World Report annual list of Top Performers on Social Mobility for Regional Universities North.[13]

The university launched the District of Columbia's Institute of Politics Policy and History in 2019.[14] In response to the George Floyd protests in 2020, the university launched the Institute for the Study and Elimination of White Supremacy[15]


UDC offers 81 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The Workforce Development Program also offers a variety of practical, nonacademic educational programs and training. The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. UDC spends $35,152 per full-time student.[16] IPEDs reports UDC's full-time student graduation to be 15%; although UDC graduates more District resident students than any college or university in the District of Columbia.[17] The university relaunched doctoral programs in 2019 with PhDs in Computer Science & Engineering and Urban Leadership & Entrepreneurship.[18] UDC also has an accredited law school (UDC David A. Clarke School of Law). There are presently six historically black colleges and universities in the United States housing Historically black law schools: Howard University, Texas Southern University, Southern University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), North Carolina Central University, and the University of the District of Columbia. The Felix Grant Jazz Archives are maintained by the University of the District of Columbia's Jazz Studies Program within the university library. The majority of the archives' holdings consist of about 45,000 LP albums, 10,000 CDs, reel-to-reel tapes, audio cassettes, 45s, and 78s which were donated to the university by Grant. Books, periodicals, photographs, and other paper materials complement the sound recordings.

Schools and colleges[edit]


Among UDC's faculty are Paul Cooke, who taught English and directed several plays at the university for 22 years, including serving as president, and historian C.L.R. James who taught at the university from 1972 to 1980 and whose work is a staple of subaltern studies and postcolonial literature.[19][20]

International programs[edit]

A 1996 academic partnership with the Modern Academy In Maadi (located in Maadi, a southern suburb of Cairo, Egypt) encourages the material, physical, and intellectual growth of students, faculty, and staff of both institutions through Cairo-based UDC Bachelor's degrees, Computer Science and Business Administration management programs. In July 2001, the partnership included Accounting and Finance options in Business, Computer Engineering and Information Technology and Electronic Engineering and Communication Technology and graduate studies in Business Administration (MBA).[21]

The Maadi branch campus partnership ended in June 2014. All matriculating students will participate in a teach-out process. No degrees will be conferred after May 2016 to any currently enrolled students.

The UDC's adult education department had a collegial relationship with the University of Nairobi for several years, including faculty exchange and doctoral student sponsoring.


UDC is ranked #133-#175 in Regional Universities North by U.S. News & World Report in its 2022 rankings.[22]


The flagship campus of UDC, known as the Van Ness campus, is in the North Cleveland Park neighborhood at Connecticut Avenue and Van Ness Street in Northwest Washington, D.C. It lends its name to the nearby Van Ness–UDC Metrorail station.

Primarily a commuter school, UDC opened its first residential accommodations or dormitories in August 2010 by leasing an apartment building across the street from its campus.[23] UDC plans to open a new residence hall on its main campus by 2012 that could house as many as 300 students.[23] Construction of a new $40 million (~$52.5 million in 2023) student center also began in 2012.[23]

The Van Ness Campus opened in 1968 as the campus of the Washington Technical Institute, occupying buildings vacated by the National Bureau of Standards. Following the announcement of the UDC in 1975, work began on redeveloping the campus, with the construction of Buildings 32, 38, and 39 completed in 1976.[24] Seven additional buildings opened in 1981 at the conclusion of a second phase of construction. The DCTC facilities at the old Wilson Teachers College building at 11th and Harvard Streets, NW and at the Franklin School were retired.

Mt. Vernon Square was selected as the site for Federal City College in 1968, and in 1973 FCC took control of the Carnegie Library, closed in 1970 in anticipation of the D.C. Public Library's move to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Funding for the campus did not materialize until 1978, however.[24] Facing declining enrollment and lack of funding, operations at the downtown campus were wound down in the 1990s, and the facilities shuttered.[25] "UDC" was removed from the name of the nearby Mount Vernon Square Metro Station in 2001.

In January 2019, UDC leased property near its Van Ness campus as part of its project to improve its infrastructure.[26]


The University of the District of Columbia athletic teams are known as the UDC Firebirds. The university is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and competes at the Division II level as a member of the East Coast Conference (ECC). The university currently fields ten varsity sports, five men's sports: basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, lacrosse; and six women's sports: basketball, cross country, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field, and volleyball.[27] In 2012, the university announced plans for athletic expansion, with the addition of men's and women's lacrosse in 2014 and soon thereafter men's and women's swimming.[28]

Student activities[edit]

Greek Letter organizations[edit]

Greek-lettered organization[edit]

UDC has several Greek-lettered organizations including all nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations.

Student media[edit]

UDC publishes The Trilogy, a student-paper highlighting campus events and national and local news. The Flightpath yearbook focuses on graduating students and the years' activities.


UDC cable television, channel 19, is the District Government's non-commercial, adult education program service.

UDC Cable TV 98 supports teaching, research and public service with educational-access television and instructional programming. Cable TV 98 operates an audio and video recording service center, electronic field and studio production and a video training center for Public-access television production.[29]

Cost and scholarships[edit]

The University of the District of Columbia is a public university receive funds from the Government of the District of Columbia and from the Federal government of the United States. Therefore students fees are lower than private universities in the area, with in-state tuition being around $6,000. DC residents fees are lower than students that live out of Washington D.C.[30][31] In addition to its low cost, DC residents who apply to DC Futures Program can receive up to $8,000 In Scholarships.[32][33]

UDC Police Department[edit]

The UDC Police Department (UDCPD) is an operating element within the Office of Public Safety & Emergency Management (OPSEM). The UDCPD is tasked with providing full service policing for all UDC assets and stakeholders in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year. The department consists of commissioned Police Officers and non-sworn support staff. UDCPD officers have full authority to investigate crimes, respond to calls for service and effect arrests on any UDC property. OPSEM and the UDCPD are under the command of Marieo Foster who serves as the Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety.[34]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Best Colleges US News
  2. ^ "Office of the President". University of the District of Columbia. Retrieved October 23, 2023.
  3. ^ "New Logo | University of the District of Columbia". Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  4. ^ "UDC Branding Style Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  5. ^ Batesel, Paul (2017). "Miner Teachers College". Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  6. ^ "University of the District of Columbia, African-American Heritage Trail", Cultural Tourism D.C., archived from the original on 2013-04-14, retrieved 2012-11-21
  7. ^ [B-167006 Problems in Financial and Property Administration at the District of Columbia Teachers College]
  8. ^ Roberts, Wallace (Nov–Dec 1969), "Federal City: Prospects for the Common College", Change in Higher Education, 1 (6): 44–47, 50–52, doi:10.1080/00091383.1969.10567838, JSTOR 40160965
  9. ^ "UDC's History",, archived from the original on 2012-10-12, retrieved 2012-11-21
  10. ^ "About CCDC". UDC. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  11. ^ a b Nick Anderson and Nikita Stewart (October 3, 2012). "UDC plans cuts, including degree programs, to solve budget problems". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  12. ^ "UDC uses its strategic initiative to invest in better serving DC students". 11 March 2020.
  13. ^ "University of the District of Columbia | UDC Overall Rankings | US News Best Colleges". Archived from the original on 2017-05-19.
  14. ^ "IPPH Event".
  15. ^ "UDC creates Institute for the Study and Elimination of White Supremacy". 19 June 2020.
  16. ^ Gartner, Lisa (November 22, 2012). "UDC requests $4 million to lay off employees". The Examiner Newspaper. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  17. ^ "UDC is taking an unusual route to attract more quality students". 15 July 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  18. ^ "Fielding Graduate University". Fielding Graduate University. March 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "Federal City College -- Faculty -- C.L.R. James".
  20. ^ "District of Columbia Teachers College – President Paul Cooke".
  21. ^ "U.D.C. Programs". University of the District of Columbia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  22. ^ "University of the District of Columbia". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  23. ^ a b c Johnson, Jenna (August 30, 2010). "The right spot for a UDC student to live". The Washington Post. p. B1.
  24. ^ a b "Chronology of the University of the District of Columbia and Its Predecessor Institutions, 1951–2009", UDC Digital Archives Collection, retrieved 2012-11-27
  25. ^ "University of the District of Columbia -- Mt. Vernon Campus, 1985", UDC Digital Archives Collection, retrieved 2012-11-27
  26. ^ "UDC Expands Presence on Connecticut Avenue". The Washington Informer. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  27. ^ "University of the District of Columbia". NCAA. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  28. ^ "University of the District of Columbia Announces the Addition of Men's and Women's Lacrosse Programs for Competition in Spring of 2014". The University of the District of Columbia. September 25, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  29. ^ "U.D.C. Cable T.V. Channel 8". University of the District of Columbia. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  30. ^ "Tuition & Fees | Admissions". 25 September 2016.
  31. ^ "Fees | University of the District of Columbia Community College". 17 October 2016.
  32. ^ "DC Residents Can Receive up to $8,000 in Scholarships Through the DC Futures Program at the University of the District of Columbia | University of the District of Columbia". 8 April 2022.
  33. ^ "DC Futures Program | osse".
  34. ^ "Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety". University of the District of Columbia (UDC). 2015-09-05. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  35. ^ "Amadou Gallo Fall". NBA Careers.
  36. ^ "Little Known Black History Fact: Euphemia Lofton Haynes". September 12, 2019.
  37. ^ "Ruby Hurley". 21 February 2023. Retrieved 6 May 2023 – via Wikipedia.
  38. ^ Cohen, Matt (November 15, 2017). "Remembering Dolores Kendrick, D.C.'s Poet Laureate, 1927–2017". Washington City Paper.
  39. ^ "President Ramsammy | HVCC".
  40. ^ "Albany State President Portia Shields to Step Down At Year's End | Communications | University System of Georgia".
  41. ^ "Frank Ski's Biography". The HistoryMakers. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  42. ^ Jones, Chris (August 14, 2013). "A Hundred Bucks Says You Won't Read This Story". Esquire.
  43. ^ "John Thompson dies at 78; coach built Georgetown basketball into national power - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.

External links[edit]

38°56′38.2″N 77°3′55.2″W / 38.943944°N 77.065333°W / 38.943944; -77.065333