Explore HBCU – LeMoyne-Owen College

Staff Writer
July 7, 2022

LeMoyne-Owen College is a private, United Church of Christ, historically black college located in Memphis, Tennessee. 


After the occupation of Memphis during the Civil War, the American Missionary Association sent Ms. Lucinda Humphrey to Camp Shiloh to open an elementary school for freedmen and runaway slaves in 1862. The school was originally named Lincoln Chapel, and after being moved to Memphis in 1863 and then subsequently destroyed in the race riots in 1866, it was re-erected in 1867. The Lincoln Chapel school was replaced by the LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School in 1871 and the school was moved to its present location on Walker Avenue in 1914.

After the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention bought property on Vance Avenue to build a junior college, Owen College was founded. The school opened to 33 students as S.A. Owen Junior College in 1954, securing accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; the school offered two-year associate degrees in general education, business, home economics, and religious education along with becoming largely involved in Memphis’ civil rights movement. Both schools were reportedly in talks about a potential merger, and in 1968—after Owen College faced financial challenges as well as a fire that resulted in $500,000 in damage—the two institutions merged. 

LeMoyne-Owen College is now Memphis’ only historically black college, intent to be an exemplary college that provides an excellent liberal arts education capable of transforming students, institutions, and communities.

Programs & Opportunities

At LeMoyne-Owen College, there are five academic divisions that offer undergraduate majors in 22 areas of study. Students can pursue degree pathways that lead to the attainment of the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, or the Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. In addition to the Bachelor’s degree offerings, LeMoyne-Owen also offers an Associates of Arts and Associates of Science in General Studies.

Additionally, LeMoyne Owen students are encouraged to engage in campus life activities as a way to receive a full college experience. Students are welcome to join one of the many organizations located on campus such as the Student Government Association, Academic Organizations, Honor Societies, or Greek Lettered Organizations, which are all intended to build an array of skills and habits not taught inside the classroom.

Learn more about what LeMoyne-Owen College has to offer here.

Alumni Affairs

LeMoyne-Owen College works to provide a transformative educational experience for modern scholarship, leadership, and professional careers. 

Some LeMoyne-Owen College notable alumni include, but are not limited to:

  • Marion Barry—politician, civil rights activist, and former mayor of Washington, DC—attended LeMoyne Owen College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree.
  • Dr. Larry Robinson—chemist and current president and distinguished professor and researcher at Florida A&M University (FAMU)—attended LeMoyne-Owen College.
  • Benjamin Hooks—former executive director of the NAACP, attorney, and government official—originally enrolled pre-law at LeMoyne before joining the army to serve in the Second World War.

Financial Information

At LeMoyne-Owen, tuition is $5,388 per semester and $10,776 per academic year for students with full-time enrollment status (12-18 credit hours). Additional fees include that of Audit fees ($449 per course), Student Activity Fee ($100 per semester), Student Technology Fee ($400 per semester), Student Health Care Fee ($150 per semester), and more. 

The Office of Student Financial Services at LeMoyne-Owen aims to make it possible for any qualified student to attend LeMoyne-Owen. The college administers several federal and state aid programs, such as federal pell grants, federal supplemental educational opportunity grants, federal college work-study, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans (subsidized, unsubsidized and PLUS), Tennessee Student Assistance Grants, ROTC scholarship programs (through the University of Memphis), and the Veterans Educational Benefits.


LeMoyne-Owen College is an institution that has stood the test of time and served as a constant source of inspiration for students and members of the greater Memphis community. LeMoyne-Owen plans to continue its legacy and mission of education and developing leaders.

Learn more about LeMoyne-Owen College here.