“We teach the mind to think, the hands to work and the heart to love.” This captures the essence of what it means to prepare the whole person for life service.

Mission Statement

Allen University is an academic community which provides students an opportunity to obtain baccalaureate and graduate degrees in liberal arts and professional programs in traditional and distance education formats. The University has a strong unalterable commitment to teaching in delivery of its baccalaureate and graduate programs.


Allen University is a Christian Liberal Arts institution whose purpose is to prepare leaders who are skilled in communication, critical thinking, and who demonstrate high moral character. Our aim is to provide an environment of academic excellence in order to heighten our students’ chances of succeeding in a culturally diverse and economically global world. Allen University desires to follow a Total Life Curriculum model, which addresses preparation of the whole person for life service.

We seek to develop the intellect, the spirit, and the body as we bring our students into a climate designed for success. Successful development of each student is our goal. Allen believes that faith plays a major role in developing one’s character. Therefore, our curriculum includes principles and practices of the historical beliefs of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Core Values

Allen University’s core values are selected principles that govern our behavior and operation as an organized body:

Integrity: Allen University seeks to practice truth and propriety in our personal and corporate practices and relationships.

Accountability: Allen University accepts its responsibility to be consistent in sound practices, loyal in reference to duties, agreements, obligations and relationships.

Respect: Allen University aspires for its faculty, staff and students to live and work in harmony with peers, by respecting each individual’s right to exist, think and speak in an appropriate manner. The dignity of each one will be honored by all.

Excellence: Allen University is committed to the vigorous pursuit of excellence in our educational endeavors.

Faith: Allen University is a Christian liberal arts institution of higher learning under the auspices of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Celebrating Over a Century of Education

Allen University celebrated its centennial year in 1970, thus closing a century of fulfilling its educational mission. The institution, founded in 1870 by former slaves, still provides undergraduate education with an unalterable commitment to teaching, research and community service, undergirded by the faith expressed in the motto of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: “God our Father, Christ our Redeemer, Man our brother.”

Allen University celebrates each year with a renewed commitment to prepare its students to meet the challenges of this century. That commitment is reflected in the University’s attainment and maintenance of accreditation to award the baccalaureate degree by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its accepted membership in the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). The University remains faithful to the dreams of its founders and to its historic mission and purpose as expressed in its motto, “We teach the mind to think, the hands to work, and the heart to love.”

Distinguished Alumni

The productivity of Allen University is reflected in the accomplishments of the graduates of the institution.  Alumni of Allen University have distinguished themselves in almost every field of endeavor. Allen Alumni have a history of forging pathways to greatness in their chosen profession by becoming judges, legislators, business leaders, and entrepreneurs.  In addition, eight graduates of Allen University have become presidents of colleges and universities. This list includes:

Dr. William C. Brown (Barber Scotia College and Fayetteville State University)
Dr. Lewis Dowdy (North Carolina A&T State University)
Dr. Jerome L. Gresham (Barber Scotia College)
Dr. John Middleton (Morris Brown College)
Dr. Iona B. Mishoe (Delaware State College)
Dr. Wardell Nichols (Allen University)
Dr. Sylvia P. Swinton (Allen University)
Dr. Frank R. Veal (Allen University)

Allen University’s leading role in the preparation of clergy for the African Methodist Episcopal Church is reflected in those alumni who have become Bishops of the Church. This list includes:

Harrison James Bryant (Deceased)
Vernon Randolph Byrd (Deceased)
William David Chappelle (Deceased)
Monroe Hortensius Davis (Deceased)
Zedekiah Lazett Grady
Lawrence H. Hemingway (Deceased)
Richard Allen Hildebrand (Deceased)
Frederick Calhoun James
Henry Wendell Murph (Deceased)
George Dewey Robinson (Deceased)
Frederick Hilborn Talbot
David R. Daniels, Jr.

Allen University alumni continue to prove to the world even in the present century that black people can and do produce worthwhile and needed services in the governmental forces of our state and nation. As a result of the type of training offered at Allen University, several alumni have been elected, served and are still serving in the House of Representatives and the Senate.


Allen University was founded by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1870. The University has a distinguished history, rich in the tradition of promoting spiritual growth  and  training  men  and  women  to  become  productive  leaders  in  an  ever- changing society. Manifesting the dream of Daniel Alexander Payne, an apostle of black education in the United States, Allen University educated men and women for stellar leadership and service.

Under the leadership of Bishop John M. Brown on July 29, 1870, the Columbia Conference purchased 150 acres of land in historic Cokesbury, SC. At the Annual Conference, the deed for the land and buildings was presented by Reverend Simon Miller, and the Institute was named in honor of Daniel A. Payne. For its first 10 years, the school prospered in fulfilling its mission of developing an educated clergy in the face of repression and violent opposition during the Reconstruction Era in South Carolina.

At the Annual Conference meeting in Spartanburg in 1880 (Bishop William F. Dickerson), delegates agreed on the need for a more centralized location for Payne Institute and voted to move it to Columbia, SC. Concurrently, Payne Institute was renamed Allen University in honor of Bishop Richard Allen, founder of the AME Church. Under the first two presidents, J.E. Walters and J.W. Morris, who had studied law, Allen made great progress. During this period, the Theological and Law Departments were formed. Between 1884 and 1890, 14 students received a degree, and 54 graduated from the Normal Collegiate Department.

During the Depression, Allen overcame many hardships to keep its doors open. In 1930, the Department of Science was established, followed by a Department of Languages. In these early years, Allen satisfied the needs of its students at all educational levels. The curriculum not only included legal courses, but theology, the arts, and courses at elementary and high school levels. It was possible for a student to enter Allen as a child in the first grade and leave prepared to teach, preach or prosecute/defend in the courts as fully trained educators, ministers and lawyers. The grammar school continued until the mid-1920s. The high school was closed after the graduation of the class of 1933. For the 1933 school term, the University accepted only persons who had completed high school.

The decade of the 1940s saw many adjustments in response to World War II.  Following the war, an influx of veterans pursued studies at Allen. In 1945, the Departments of Humanities, Philosophy, Psychology and Religion joined the existing curricula.   In 1970, Allen University celebrated its Centennial, marking the close of a century and the beginning of a bright future, rededicated to the principles upon which it was founded. Responsive to changes in society, Allen revised its curricula in the 1980s and began to pursue regional accreditation.

The 1990s were a period of rededication, growth and development. The University began the decade by strengthening its operations across a broad spectrum. Hard work and commitment resulted in the first accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and successful reaffirmation six years later. During that period, the John Hurst Adams Gymnatorium was constructed. In the early 2000s, Arnett Hall received a major restoration, followed by the construction of the Williams Residence Halls, and later a major restoration of Chappelle Auditorium and Gallery.

Today, Allen University is engaged in a resurgence fueled by an enlightened system of governance brought by Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr. Under the leadership of its 31st President Dr. Ernest McNealey, the University has moved from Level II to Level III to offer its first graduate program, the Master of Divinity degree.  The newly formed Dickerson-Green Theological Seminary enrolled its first class in the fall of 2018. New academic programs have been added, the campus has received an aesthetic facelift, a system of shared governance has been introduced, and enrollment is on an upward trajectory.   In the tradition of Bishop Richard Allen, the University continues to teach the mind to think, the heart to love, and the hands to work.




Allen University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and masters degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Allen University.

Allen University’s SACS Leadership Team:

  • Marilyn DeBerry
  • Ruby Fielding
  • Kenneth Green
  • Christopher Rounds
  • Charlene Spearen
  • Kevin Trumpeter
  • Michelle Young
  • SACS Resources

We are always looking for talented and qualified individuals for faculty and staff positions.

We are accepting applications for faculty and staff in the following positions:

PLEASE NOTE:  All applicants must pass a background check.

Work Schedule: These are full-time positions working Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 pm, with occasional evening and weekend hours as deemed necessary. Police Officers work shifts.

 Application Procedure:

 A complete application package is required for any position for which you apply. The application should include the following items:

• Cover Letter – a letter of application addressing your interest and ability to enhance Allen University’s advancement capacity in a highly diverse environment

• A Curriculum Vitae or Resume detailing education, experience, and professional activities

• A completed Allen University Employment Application which can be downloaded from link or obtained from 1530 Harden Street

• Three (3) letters of professional references including email addresses and telephone numbers

All materials should be sent to the following address: Allen University, Office of Human Resources, 1530 Harden Street, Columbia, SC 29204. Application materials may also be submitted electronically to humanresources@allenuniversity.edu. Employment with Allen University is contingent upon a background check and proper documentation of identity and employability. All new employees are required to provide official transcripts within 30 days of employment.