A Partnership of Historic Proportions

Founded in 1837, Cheyney University is not only the nation’s 1st historically black university; it is one of Pennsylvania’s 1st universities. Twenty-four years before
the start of the Civil War, the first American institution to provide education for people of African descent to prepare them for skilled jobs and teaching was established in Philadelphia. The Institute for Colored Youth would later be renamed Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.

Innovation was at the very core of the school’s founding. The Institute saw education, critical scholarship, and Black excellence within the liberal arts and natural sciences as a pathway to freedom for Black students. Cheyney’s early leaders used innovative strategies to push their students forward, graduating some of the nation’s earliest Black architects, lawyers, and doctors. Education focused on professional excellence, and infused with a call for justice, helped Cheyney’s graduates to spread impactfully across their communities.

For the next 127 years, the education of Americans and American immigrants from all over the world would remain legally segregated by race until the signature of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, just 57 years ago. For those 127 years and even after the signing of the Civil Rights Act, government financial support of institutions founded to provide higher education for Black Americans would continue to be disproportionately low compared to predominately white institutions.

Today, Cheyney faces new challenges and opportunities with a deep reverence for its history.

With education being at the heart of social equality, at the heart of equal opportunity, and the heart of the self-evident truths and unalienable rights of life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness, Cheyney’s message, and mission have remained constant and strong since 1837. As we look towards a future of equitable opportunity, there is still clearly much work to be done.


Something Larger than Ourselves

If you or your company want to take action, and a modern-day, tangible approach to promote real opportunity for all people in our country resonates with you, consider taking part in something larger than ourselves. Engage a more diverse workforce to enrich your business by taking part in a new initiative that does just that. Cheyney has recently launched an initiative called the ThinkUbator, inviting the thriving American life science community to Cheyney’s campus.

The ThinkUbator carries Cheyney’s spirit of academic innovation infused with a message of deep social justice. The ThinkUbator offers biologics, cell, and gene therapy companies the opportunity to practically pursue their science in a campus setting by leasing the process development and wet lab space in an incubator building dedicated to private enterprise on campus. It provides opportunities to new enterprising businesses and students of color across the university.

The new facility is currently in the design phase. It offers opportunities to companies looking to get involved by supporting the establishment of the physical resource itself and offering leasing opportunities to companies looking for lab space in the Greater Philadelphia area, either as a satellite facility or a primary business address.

The ThinkUbator is a historic initiative. It helps to fill record low vacancy rates for lab space in the region and ensures that Cheyney University continues to serve as an engine for diverse and underrepresented students pursuing scientific careers in the life sciences. Education is at the heart of equal opportunity, and your action will be the pen that rights today’s history for generations to come.


For more information about the ThinkUbator, please contact:
Naim Mitchell – naim.mitchell@mosaicdp.com