May 27, 2024  
2023 - 2025 Voorhees University Catalog 
2023 - 2025 Voorhees University Catalog

General Information

The Voorhees Mission

Voorhees University is a private historically black liberal arts institution affiliated with the Episcopal church, whose mission is to produce highly qualified graduates who coalesce intellect and faith in pursuit of life-long learning, healthy living, the betterment of society, and abiding faith in God.

In forging this agenda for excellence, Voorhees University strives to achieve the following Institutional Goals:

I. Demonstrate Academic Excellence and Distinction

To provide and promote a learning environment of excellence and distinction centered on an engaged superlative faculty and staff committed to fostering intellectual growth, developing relevant skills and competencies, offering experiential learning reflective of student interests, and producing competent workers and leaders for a globally diverse world.

II. Facilitate Student Success

To create and enhance a unique learning, and student-focused environment that ensures excellence, creativity, and innovation by strategically planning and implementing initiatives to increase diversity, measures of retention and graduation, career exposure and placement, spiritual growth, and leadership development.

III. Ensure Institutional Efficiency and Effectiveness

To establish and maintain an organizational culture designed to meet the needs and expectations of an exceptional and efficient workforce and its stakeholders where accreditation is maintained, service is promoted, technology is enhanced, systems are results-oriented, processes are thoroughly assessed, accountability is expected, and financial stability is safeguarded.

IV. Strengthen Resource Development

To locate, acquire and increase the financial and funding resources to remain an affordable institution, recognized for financial stability, unparalleled management of human and physical resources, an expanded and comprehensive donor base, and an ongoing and increasing flow of gifts and donations to achieve the vision, mission, and programmatic needs of the University.

Memberships & Affiliations

Voorhees University is affiliated with The Episcopal Church and holds memberships in the following professional organizations:

  • American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)
  • Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Association of Universitys and University Auditors
  • Association of American Universitys
  • American Association of University Registrars and Admission Officers
  • American Association for Higher Education
  • American Council on Education
  • American Library Association
  • American Personnel and Guidance Association
  • Association for Institutional Research
  • Association of Episcopal Universitys
  • Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Universitys
  • Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP)
  • Black Caucus of the American Library Association
  • University Entrance Examination Board
  • Commission on Accelerated Programs (CAP)
  • Council for Adult & Experimental Learning (CAEL)
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • Council of Independent Universitys (CIC)
  • HBCU Library Alliance
  • Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Lyrasis
  • National Alumni Council of the UNCF
  • National Association of African American Honors Programs
  • National Association of African American Studies
  • National Association of University Admission Counselors
  • National Association of University and
  • University Business Officers (NACUBO)
  • National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
  • National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)
  • National Association of University Deans, Registrars, and Admissions Officers
  • National Association of Independent Universitys and Universities
  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
  • National Association of Women’s Deans and Counselors
  • Palmetto Academic Independent Library System (PAILS)
  • Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL)
  • Saint Monica University, Beau, Cameroon, Central West Africa
  • Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA)
  • South Carolina Association of Student
  • Financial Aid Administrators (SCASFAA)
  • South Carolina Association of Institutional Research (SCAIR)
  • South Carolina Association of Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs
  • South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
  • South Carolina Women in Higher Education (SCWHE)
  • Southern Association of Universitys and Schools, Commission on Universitys
  • Southern Association of Criminal Justice Educators
  • Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
  • The United Negro University Fund (UNCF)

University History & Philosophy

Inspiration, determination, imagination, and faith, have been pillar principles in Voorhees University’s century-long history, “changing minds” and “changing lives”.

That history started with Elizabeth Evelyn Wright-Menafee, who at 23 was only a little older than a typical University student when she came to Bamberg County, SC. A native of Georgia, Wright-Menafee found her inspiration while studying with Booker T. Washington at the world-renowned Tuskegee Institute. She said time at Tuskegee gave her a mission in life, being “the same type of woman as Mr. Washington was of a man, knowing the importance of education.” She moved to Denmark and started the first of several schools in the rural area, surviving death threats, attacks, and arson.

Wright-Menafee went back to Tuskegee to finish her degree before returning to South Carolina to try again. Undeterred and envisioning a better future for blacks through education, she founded Denmark Industrial School in 1897, modeling it after Tuskegee. 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-Menafee 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. This was the start of an affiliation that continues today. The original partnership between the church and Voorhees was based on the fact that the church alone cannot nourish and strengthen people without the help of Christian institutions of higher learning. At the same time, the University cannot effectively guide, educate and shape young minds without the spiritual influence of the church. These long-held values set the standard by which the University judges its teaching, scholarship, and service programs today. For the church, Voorhees is a ministry and investment, as well as a huge benefit to society.

In 1947, the school became Voorhees School and Junior University, awarding two-year degrees. This new beginning was validated through accreditation by the Southern Association of Universitys and Schools (SACS). Voorhees University was the first HBCU in South Carolina to receive this distinction. In 1962, Voorhees expanded its offerings, becoming a four-year institution.

Voorhees University strives to balance practical career training with a well-rounded background in the liberal arts. Dating back to Wright-Menafee’s era, there has been an ongoing debate in higher education, between those who follow the philosophy of Dr. Booker T. Washington, an advocate of education focused on developing job skills, and those who believe as Dr. W.E.B. Dubois did, that a liberal education can transform young adults into leaders. The Voorhees curriculum today reflects a balance of these two prevailing philosophies.

In accordance with its mission statement, Voorhees students combine intellect and faith as they prepare for professional careers. They learn to thrive in a diverse and global culture while pursuing life-long learning, healthy living, and abiding faith in God. They aim to better themselves, their communities, and society.

Elizabeth Evelyn Wright-Menafee, Founder & Principal 1897 - 1906
Gabrial P. Miller, Principal 1907 - 1911
Cyrus Campfield, Principal 1911 - 1912
Martin A. Menafee, Treasurer & Acting Principal 1912 - 1916
Jesse O. Thomas, Principal 1916 - 1918
E. R. Roberts, Principal 1918 - 1922
J. E. Blanton, President 1922 - 1947
Earl H. McClenney, President 1947 - 1950
Cecil B. Haliburton, President 1950 - 1953
T. H. Moore, Acting President 1953 - 1954
John F. Potts, President 1954 - 1970
Harry P. Graham, President 1971 - 1977
Lester B. Brown, Acting President 1977 - 1978
George B. Thomas, President 1978 - 1983
John F. Potts, Acting President 1983 - 1985
Leonard E. Dawson, President 1985 - 2001
Prezell R. Robinson, Interim President Summer 2001
Lee E. Monroe, Jr., President 2001 - 2007
Valdrie N. Walker, Acting President 2007 - 2008
Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr., President 2008 - 2016
W. Franklin Evans, President 2016 - 2021
Ronnie Hopkins, President 2021 - Present

The Voorhees University Board of Trustees is chartered to provide strategic leadership for the campus by working primarily with the President and the Executive Cabinet. The length of term and voting privileges for each board member can vary.

Executive Officers

Mr. David Miller, Chairperson
Dr. Traci Young - Cooper, Vice. Charperson
Rev. Dr. James Williams, Treasurer
Rev. Calhoun Walpole, Secretary
Dr. Michelle Meekins, Parliamentarian

Members at Large

Mr. Arturo Chavez
Rev. Dr. Sam Davis
Mr. Jerome Geathers
Atty. Laverene Lewis Gaskins
Rev. Dr. Solomon Jackson, Jr.
Dr. Latonya Gillespie-Johnson
Mr. John Loveday
Mr. Dan Martin
Mr. Scott McGregor
Dr. Michelle Meekins
Mr. Nathaniel Miller
Dr. Samuel Ntewusu
Dr. Fulton L. Porter, III
The Right Rev. Daniel P. Richards
Atty. Leslie Simpson
Ms. Leah Taylor
Mr. Kevin Voorhees - Carroll
Rev. Daniel Wagner
The Right Rev. Ruth Wodliff - Stanley

Staff Trustees

Dr. Ronnie Hopkins, President
Ms. Linda McCullough, National Alumni President
Dr. Marcus Amos, Faculty Representative
Mr. Lawrenz Ellman - Sanders, Student Representative

Board Liaison / Clerk

Ms. Jacqueline Williams

Trustee Emeritus Members

Ms. Mary Hepburn
Dr. Prezell R. Robinson