Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, who studied at what was then the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, founded Denmark Industrial School in 1897 in South Carolina. New Jersey philanthropist Ralph Voorhees and his wife donated $5,000 to buy the land and build the first building, allowing the school to open in 1902 with Wright as principal. It was the only high school for blacks in the area.
In 1924 the American Church Institutes for Negroes, which was part of the Episcopal Church, agreed to support the school. In 1947, the school became Voorhees School and Junior College. In 1962, it was accredited as a four-year college. Now Voorhees College will transition to Voorhees University.
Next April during its 125th Anniversary (quasquicentennial) Founder’s Week, the institution will change its name from Voorhees College to Voorhees University. The change comes about as the college begins to offer its first graduate program, a master’s degree in education.
“This is a critical yet exciting time for Voorhees as we make this significant transition towards our next level of excellence,” Said Ronnie Hopkin, interim president of Voorhees College. “We are beyond excited to welcome graduate students to our first program while we make strides to build upon the School of Graduate Studies, Continuing Education, and Integrative Learning.”