Allen University


Allen University was founded in 1871 on a plot of land bought by the clergy of the Columbia District of the AME church. Originally named Payne Institute in honor of Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne, a native South Carolinian, the founder of Wilberforce University and the driving force behind the quest for an educated clergy and laity in the African Methodist Episcopal Church it was later changed after the schools move to Columbia. Allen University is the only institution named after the Right Reverend Richard Allen and the first institution in South Carolina founded by African Americans for the purpose of educating African Americans. Within the first nine years the school produced 75 graduates and introduced a Theological Department named in honor of Bishop Dickerson. Since then Allen University produced eight students who came to be presidents of their own colleges and universities including Dr. Wardell Nichols, Dr. Sylvia P. Swinton and Dr. Frank R. Veal who all returned to their alma mater and served. Allen University also produced twelve individuals who later became Bishops of the AME Church.