Virginia State University was founded in 1882 as a normal school for African Americans and is now one of Virginia’s two land-grant institutions. It received university status in 1979. It is an historically black institution. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university defines its mission as “to promote and sustain academic programs that integrate instruction, research, and extension/public service in a design most responsive to the needs and endeavors of individuals and groups within its scope of influence.” It is classed as a Master’s College and University I by the Carnegie Institute.