In 1926, this facility for teacher training was named Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School in honor of an African-American woman who was a pioneer in teacher education, Fanny Jackson Coppin.
By 1938 the curriculum of the normal school was lengthened to four years, authority was given for the granting of the Bachelor of Science degree, and the name of the Normal School was changed to Coppin Teachers College. In 1950, Coppin became part of the higher education system of Maryland under the State Department of Education, and renamed Coppin State Teachers College. Two years later Coppin moved to its present 38 acre site on West North Avenue.
In acknowledgment of the goals and objectives of the college, the Board of Trustees ruled in 1963 that the institution's degree-granting authority would no longer be restricted to teacher education. Following this ruling, Coppin was officially renamed Coppin State College, and in 1967 the first Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred. In 1988, the College became part of the newly organized University of Maryland System (now the University System of Maryland.)
Coppin's first president was Dr. Miles Connor, who was appointed in 1950, while the institution's second president was Dr. Parlett Moore who was appointed in 1956. Dr. Calvin W. Burnett was appointed as Coppin's third president in 1970. Coppin's fourth president, Dr. Stanley F. Battle, was appointed on March 3, 2003. After Dr. Battle departed for North Carolina A&T State University in 2007, Coppin's fifth president, Dr. James Avery was hired.
Organizations participate in the Student Senate at Coppin State. There is currently a board called the SAPB (Student Activities Planning Board) which plans students events for and by the student body.
In 1997, the Coppin State Men's Basketball team defeated the University of South Carolina in the opening round of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship becoming just the third #15 seed to defeat a #2 seed. In the 2007-08 season, Coppin State became the first team in NCAA College Basketball history to reach the NCAA Tournament with 20 losses.
Another community outreach program operated by Coppin is the Coppin State University Community Nursing Center, a fully equipped medical clinic that offers affordable health care for children and adults. The Community Nursing Center is located across the street from the University's campus.
Coppin has form The Coppin Academy, which is a public charter high school for students in grades 9 - 12. The goal is to encourage young people to attend college.
Coppin is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the undergraduate and graduate academic programs are accredited by a number of specialized agencies. Teacher education programs are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and are approved by the Maryland State Department of Education.
The nursing program is approved by the Maryland State Board of Examiners of Nurses and accredited by the National League of Nursing. The Social Work and Rehabilitation Counseling Education programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and the Council of Rehabilitation Counseling Education, respectively.