Founded as the African Institute, the school was soon renamed the Institute for Colored Youth. In its early years it provided a classical education to young African Americans in Philadelphia. In 1902 the Institute moved to George Cheyney's farm, west of Philadelphia, and afterward the name "Cheyney" became associated with the school.
The school's official name changed several times during the twentieth century. In 1983, Cheyney joined the State System of Higher Education as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.
The university offers baccalaureate degrees in more than 30 disciplines and the master’s degree in education.
The women's basketball team in 1982 competed in the championship game of the inaugural Division I NCAA tournament despite being a Division II school.
C.Vivian Stringer- 1972-83 Hall of fame Basketball coach
Fanny Jackson Coppin- The first African American woman to become a school principal. In her 37 years at the Institute for Colored Youth (Now Cheyney University), Fanny Jackson was responsible for vast educational improvements in Philadelphia.
Octavious Catto- After graduating from the Institute Catto taught here breifly. Catto was the class valedictorian in 1858 at the Institute for Colored Youth (later Cheyney University). An activist, Catto was influential in getting the 15th Amendment passed in 1870 which gave black men the right to vote. Catto is also the founder of the first black baseball team in the United States (The Pythians, 1867) and the Equal Rights League (Oct. 1864).
Edithe Scott Bagley- founder of the theater department sibling of Coretta Scott King.
Charles L. Reason- 1st Principal A prolific writer, Reason wrote political journalism as well as poetry. His most noted poems are “Freedom” “The Spirit Voice” and “Silent Thoughts.” Charles L. Reason died in 1893.
Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett- 2nd Principal and the 1st African American diplomat for America.
Richard T. Greener- 1870 hired.1st African American Harvard University graduate.
Edward A. Bouchet- 1876 hired.1st African American Yale University Doctoral graduate
William Adger- 1883, 1st African American University of Pennsylvania Baccalaureate Degree graduate.
Michelle R. Howard‐Vital, Ph.D.- 2007 1st Female President.}}