Lincoln University (LU) is a public state-related historically black university near Oxford, Pennsylvania. Founded as the private Ashmun Institute in 1854, it has been a public institution since 1972 and was the United States' first degree-granting HBCU. Its main campus is located on 422 acres near the town of Oxford in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania. The university has a second location in University City, Philadelphia. Lincoln University provides undergraduate and graduate coursework to approximately 2,000 students.
In 1854 Rev. John Miller Dickey, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson, a Quaker, founded Ashmun Institute, later named Lincoln University, in Hinsonville. They named it after Jehudi Ashmun, a religious leader and social reformer. They founded the school for the education of African Americans, who had few opportunities for higher education.
In 1866, a year after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Ashmun Institute was renamed Lincoln University. The college attracted highly talented students from numerous states, especially during the long decades of legal segregation in the South.
In 2020, MacKenzie Scott donated $20 million to Lincoln University. Her donation is the largest single gift in Lincoln's history.