A Brief History of Norfolk State University

Norfolk State University was founded in 1935. The college, brought to life in the midst of the Great Depression, provided a setting in which the youth of the region could give expression to their hopes and aspirations. 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 an Act of the Virginia Legislature mandated that it become a part of Virginia State College.

The College was able to pursue an expanded mission with even greater emphasis in 1956 when another Act of the Legislature enabled the institution to offer its first baccalaureate degree. The college separated from Virginia State College and became fully independent in 1969. Subsequent legislative acts designated the institution as a university in 1979 and authorized the granting of graduate degrees.

Today, the University is proud to be one of the largest predominantly black institutions in the nation. Furthermore, it is committed to pursuing its vital role of serving the people of the Hampton Roads area, the state, and the nation.

The first Administration and Classroom Building is G.W.C. Brown Hall (formerly Tidewater Hall).


Samuel F. Scott, First Director
Lyman B. Brooks, First President
Harrison B. Wilson, Second President
Marie V. McDemmond, Third President
Carolyn W. Myers, Fourth President
Tony Atwater, Fifth President


A Nostalgic Look at the Beginning of Four Momentous Eras
Click on a book below to view the full year book.

Click for the 1962 BookClick for the 1976 BookClick for the 1980 BookClick for 1996 Yearbook