Philander Smith University

About Philander Smith University

PSU is a historically African American liberal arts institution, founded in 1877 after the first attempt west of the Mississippi River to make education available to former slaves. Philander Smith University’s mission is to “graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better.”

The school has produced many notable graduates throughout the decades, such as former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, former Harlem Globetrotter Geese Ausbie, former NFL star Elijah Pitts, and legendary Union Theological Seminary professor James Cone.

Little Rock, Arkansas

Year Founded

In 1877 when the school was founded, PSU was named Walden Seminary, after Dr. J. M. Walden. Walden was the first corresponding secretary of the Freedmen’s Aid Society.

Philander Smith University is the only United Negro College Fund member in Arkansas.