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Creole Colleges
and Universities









Southern University at New Orleans

started and supported by the New Orleans Creole and African American Population



SUNO campus being prepared for reopening after Katrina

September 4, 1956 (1956-09-04)





Men and women's: basketball, cross country and track & field

Columbia Blue and Sunset Gold


The Knight





The Univerrsity at New Orleans is an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is part of the Southern University System, the only HBCU system in the world. It is often referred to by its initials SUNO.

Other campuses of the Southern University System are Southern University and Agriculatural & Mechanical College, Southern University at Shreveport, the Southern University Law Center and the Southern University Agricultural Extension. The university's first chancellor was Dr. Emmett W. Bashful, who remains the institution's chancellor emeritus.

SUNO was established on September 4, 1956 and opened its doors on September 21, 1959 adjacent to the historic Pontchartrain Park neighborhood, a subdivision historically made up of African-American single-family residences in eastern New Orleans and the first African-American subdivision in America.

Like most of New Orleans, the campus experienced extensive flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hurricane Rita also caused damage to all eleven of the buildings on the 17-acre (69,000 m2) campus.

The university is an open admission institution until the fall of 2010 when it will become a Louisiana "Selective III" institution. At that time potential students will have to complete the Louisiana Board of Regents high school core curriculum. In addition candidates will need at least a high school grade point average of 2.0 or an ACT composite score of at least 20 or the SAT equivalent of 950. Students requiring more than one remedial course will not be eligible for immediate admission.

Dancing Dolls

Added by juboudreaux on November 26, 2007 at 2:21 PM

Twin Southern University Dancing Dolls Raeanna and Raeven Hall of Atlanta, and alumni doll Judy Boudreaux of New Orleans, 2007 State Farm Bayou Classic. Photo courtesy of Al Medley

The Beginning

Southern University at New Orleans was founded as a branch unit of Southern University in Baton Rouge by Act 28 of the Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature. When the university's doors opened in 1959, classes began with 158 freshmen, one building and a faculty of fifteen instructors.

The university offered courses in four academic disciplines, including the humanities, science, social science and commerce. The first graduation took place in May, 1963 when baccalaureate degrees were awarded to fifteen graduates


Expansion and Change

Over the years several events have affected the direction of SUNO. Within five years SUNO grew rapidly. During the fall of 1964 the university's enrollment grew to 1,300 and the institution boasted 70 members. One occurred on November 8, 1960. It was then that the Louisiana Legislature adopted Amendment 26. The act prescribed that SUNO should remain an extension of Southern University, thereby precluding any impending status of autonomy for SUNO.

In January, 1964 Virginia Cox Welch, a white high school teacher, filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the Louisiana State Board of Education. This litigation, Civil Action No. 14217, resulted in opening the university to all regardless of race or color.

The University Seal

In 1975 the management of SUNO was transferred from the Louisiana State Board of Education to the newly-created Board of Supervisors of Southern University by virtue of Article 8, Section 7 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974. The new constitution also designated SUNO as a campus of the Southern University System creating parity with the other Southern University campuses.

SUNO would later benefit from a consent decree on September 8, 1981. The court order, which was handed down by federal judges as an out-of-court settlement between the State of Louisiana and the Justice Department over the issue of segregation, allowed SUNO to add nine academic programs and also to receive funds to upgrade campus facilities.

Despite the order racial discrimination in the higher education landscape remained an issue. As a result of Civil Action 80-3300 on November 14, 1994 the United States, the State of Louisiana, the governor of Louisiana, the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Boards of Supervisors for Louisiana State University and Southern University and the Board of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities agreed to a desegregation settlement.


The settlement, which was effective through 2004, enabled SUNO to retain its open admissions status and classification as a Four Year-V university. The university, as a result, expected to qualify as a Four Year-IV institution by offering four-year undergraduate programs and graduate programs in specific areas.As time progressed the university took advantage of valuable opportunities to boost its academic programs.

The most notable progress came in SUNO's School of Social Work. Guided by the institution's first dean, Millie McClelland Charles, the School of Social Work blossomed into one of the most recognized programs in the South. Particularly the popularity of the School of Social Work's master's program grew. In the fall of 2008 the Master of Social Work program grew to capacity with 150 students and many more candidates on the waiting list.


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