Harris–Stowe State University

Coordinates: 38°38′00″N 90°13′27″W / 38.63333°N 90.22417°W / 38.63333; -90.22417
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Harris–Stowe State University
Harris–Stowe State University
Former names
Harris Teachers College (1857–1954)
Sumner Normal School (1890–1929)
Stowe Teachers College (1929–1954)
Harris–Stowe State College (1954–2005)
MottoInspiring change.
Typepublic historically black university
Established1857; 167 years ago (1857)
PresidentLaTonia Collins Smith
ProvostEdward Hill
Students1,098 (Fall 2023)[1]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsBrown & Gold
Sporting affiliations
NAIAAmerican Midwest
Harris–Stowe State University is located in St. Louis
Harris–Stowe State University
Harris–Stowe State University is located in Missouri
Harris–Stowe State University
Harris–Stowe State University is located in the United States
Harris–Stowe State University
Location3026 Laclede Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63103
Coordinates38°38′00″N 90°13′27″W / 38.63333°N 90.22417°W / 38.63333; -90.22417
Area1.9 acres (0.77 ha)
Built1905 (1905)
Architectural styleTudor Revival
NRHP reference No.04000787[2]
Added to NRHPAugust 4, 2004

Harris–Stowe State University (HSSU) is a public historically black university in St. Louis, Missouri. The university offers 50 majors, minors, and certificate programs in education, business, and arts & sciences. It is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. It is immediately east of the Saint Louis University campus. The school enrolled 1,098 students in 2023.[1]


In 1857, St. Louis Public Schools established a normal school (teaching college) for white students; it was subsequently named Harris Teachers College, after William Torrey Harris, a former St. Louis superintendent of schools and United States Commissioner of Education. In 1863 philosopher Anna Brackett became principal of the school, and it became the first normal school led by a woman in the United States. During her tenure, Brackett worked to ensure female students had access to higher education and liberal studies as preparation for professional teaching. She made two proposals to the Board of Education that were eventually adopted. The first proposal was an age requirement for entrance to the school. Second, there should be an entrance exam for admission to the St. Louis Normal School. In 1872, Brackett resigned as principal after there were changes in the curriculum that went against her beliefs.[3] In 1920, it was authorized to issue a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Education degree.[4]

In 1890, the St. Louis school system established Sumner Normal School to train black teachers. In 1929, its name was changed to Stowe Teachers College, after author Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, had promoted the abolitionist cause in the antebellum United States.[4] from 1930 until 1940, Stowe Teachers College existed in the former Simmons Colored School campus.[5]

The U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education mandated integration of public school systems. In response to this, Harris and Stowe Colleges were merged into one institution, which retained the "Harris Teachers College" name. At the behest of Stowe alumni and other St. Louisans, the name "Stowe" was added, and the school became Harris-Stowe College.[4]

In 1979, the college was added to the state system of public higher education, under the name of Harris-Stowe State College. Its four-year education degree was changed to a Bachelor of Science in Education. It subsequently expanded its programs to offer several new degrees in education, including the B.S. in Urban Education, designed to enable non-teaching urban education personnel to address problems specific to urban schools; and a degree in Business Administration with various professional options.[4]

The Stowe Teachers College building (built 1938-40), later the Turner Middle School, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.[6] Its listing was compatible with a 1998 study, and its 2010 extension, of historic resources in the Ville neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri.[7][8]

In 2005, the college attained university status and was renamed Harris–Stowe State University.[4]

Academics and accreditation[edit]


The Department of Academic Affairs comprises three academic units:

  • Anheuser-Busch School of Business
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Education

All degree programs at Harris-Stowe begin with general education studies. Then upper-level courses concentrate on disciplinary studies.[9]

William L. Clay, Sr. Early Childhood Development/Parenting Education Center[edit]

The William L. Clay, Sr. Early Childhood Development/Parenting Education Center is an early childhood child care center located on campus. Harris-Stowe invested $11 million into the new facility to train early learning professionals, provide parenting education, and offer high quality day care for children. Harris-Stowe was awarded an FY09 Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS) start-up and expansion grant to assist in the purchase of developmentally appropriate materials for the center's new infant/toddler rooms.[10]


Harris–Stowe State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Anheuser-Busch School of Business is also accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. The School of Education is also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.[11]


Harris-Stowe State University was ranked #55-#70 in Regional Colleges Midwest in 2020 by U S News & World Report.[12]

Student activities[edit]

Student organizations[edit]

The Office of Student Engagement sponsors or hosts more than thirty activities or special interest clubs and approximately a dozen academic clubs and honor societies, several campus affiliate chapters of national organizations, and nearly 12 Greek organizations (mostly in conjunction with other St. Louis area colleges and universities).[13]

Academic organizations[edit]


The Harris–Stowe State athletic teams are called the Hornets. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) since the 1986–87 academic year. Their mascot is the Hornet.[14]

Harris–Stowe State competes in 12 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, soccer and track & field (indoor and outdoor); while women's sports include basketball, soccer, softball, track & field (indoor and outdoor) and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading.

Men's basketball[edit]

The Harris–Stowe State men's basketball team won the American Midwest Conference tournament championship in 2017 and 2018.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Enrollment Report for Missouri Public and Comprehensive Independent Institutions". Missouri Department of Higher Education. December 1, 2024. Retrieved February 3, 2024.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Norma Kidd Green, "Brackett, Anna Calender," in Edward T. James et al eds. Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Harvard UP, 1971) 1:217-218. online
  4. ^ a b c d e "Campus History". Harris-Stowe State University. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
  5. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Simmons Colored School" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved October 30, 2023. With accompanying pictures
  6. ^ National Register of Historic Places Registration.
  7. ^ John Saunders; Lynn Josse; Carolyn Toft; Cynthia Longwisch; Steven E. Mitchell (November 1998). National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation: Historic and Architectural Resources of The Ville. St. Louis [Independent City]. Missouri. National Park Service.
  8. ^ Betsy Bradley; Jan Cameron; Andrea Gagen; Robert Bettis; Kathleen E. Shea; John Saunders; Lynn Josse; Carolyn Toft; Cynthia Longwisch; Stephen E. Mitchell (August 2010). National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation: Historic and Architectural Resources of The Ville, St. Louis (lndependent City), Missouri. National Park Service.
  9. ^ "Harris-Stowe State University (314) 340-3366". hssu.edu. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  10. ^ "ARCHS' PRE-K PARTNER SET TO OPEN NEW CENTER". ARCHS. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Harris-Stowe State University (314) 340-3366". hssu.edu. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Harris-Stowe State University". usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Harris-Stowe State University (314) 340-3366". hssu.edu. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Athletics". Archived from the original on 2006-01-13.
  15. ^ "The Mayors of Ypsilanti (1858-1981)" (PDF). Ann Arbor District Library.
  16. ^ Clay, William (November 15, 1989). "A Tribute to John Burton - p. 29306" (PDF). Congressional Record.
  17. ^ "DJ Tab – Passion is Pursuit Conference". Retrieved 2020-11-06.

External links[edit]