History & Alumni
Hampton University’s roots started in 1868 with its founding on the banks of the Virginia Peninsula by Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, the 29-year-old son of missionary parents. Hampton became an oasis of opportunity for the thousands of newly freed people gathered behind Union lines. With the aid of the American Missionary Association, the school was established to train selected young men and women to “go out to teach and lead their people,” and to build a viable industrial system on the strength of self-sufficiency, intelligent labor, and solid moral character. The first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in 1922. On July 1, 1930, the school’s name was changed to Hampton Institute, reflecting college level accreditation. In 1984, Hampton’s Board of Trustees formally adopted a university structure and changed the name to Hampton University, which today represents the unparalleled standard of excellence in American higher education.