Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is the oldest of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America. Founded by Richard Humphreys in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth, Cheyney University was made possible when Humphreys, a Quaker philanthropist, bequeathed one tenth of his estate, $10,000, to design and establish a school to educate the descendents of the African race.
From its beginnings in Philadelphia as the Institute for Colored Youth, Cheyney University successfully provided free classical education for qualified young people. The institute was moved to George Cheyney's farm, 25 miles west of Philadelphia, in 1902. The name was changed several times: To Cheyney State Teachers College in 1913; to The State Normal School at Cheyney in 1921; and to Cheyney State College in 1959. In 1983, Cheyney joined the State System of Higher Education as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.