The second-oldest public university in Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a historically black institution founded in 1873 as the Branch Normal College, a teacher’s education school intended to prepare teachers for the state’s segregated black schools. With Arkansas’s segregated school system, an all-black normal school was a necessary compromise, as was the reestablishment of Pine Bluff as a land-grant university in 1890; the federal government required the state establish a land-grant college for students shut out of the University of Arkansas. Today UA Pine Bluff is a highly respected HBCU and one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 50 regional institutions in the South.
Academic ProgramsUAPB has had a complex life, from a teacher’s college to an agricultural and mechanical college (under the 1890 federal land-grant) to a comprehensive university. As a public university, UAPB is dedicated to providing opportunity for Arkansas’s people, and as an HBCU, that mission is doubled for the educational needs of Arkansas’s African-American and minority population, who have historically been denied opportunity elsewhere. Student-centered education and service is at the heart of UA Pine Bluff’s core values, as the university works to fight discrimination and prejudice and provide a place for all deserving students. That mission includes a global perspective, ethical rigor, and holistic education.
With its dual heritage, as a teacher’s college and a land-grant university, UAPB is equally adept and distinguished in teacher education and STEM. Though UAPB does not have its own engineering program, a partnership with the University of Arkansas offers students a 3-2 curriculum, allowing qualified students to earn two bachelor’s degrees in five years – an engineering degree from UA, and a related degree from UAPB. UAPB is also known for the state’s only comprehensive aquaculture program, offering degrees in the field from the bachelor’s to the doctorate, and helping develop and sustain Arkansas’s fishery industry.
Student LifeUA Pine Bluff has a small student body of just 2800, providing students with the close-knit, highly supportive atmosphere of a small liberal arts college, but with all the opportunity for advancement that a public university can provide, from internships and research to top-tier athletics. More than 70 student-led organizations and clubs keep UAPB’s student body busy, with activities including intramural sports, community service, and entertainment. UAPB is also home to eight out of the nine traditional Pan-Hellenic fraternities and sororities, the legendary HBCU Greek organizations.
The Golden Lions, UAPB’s NCAA Division I athletic teams, are stunningly successful despite the university’s size, having earned conference championships in football, soccer, and basketball. The Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South, UAPB’s award-winning marching band, is one of the top show bands in the South and a feature of the 2009 presidential inauguration parade. Marching bands are a proud HBCU tradition, and the M4 (as it is called) is a sterling representative.