CSU to Kick-Off Fund Drive to Create a Sculpture to Honor Fanny Jackson Coppin on October 15

BALTIMORE — Coppin State University (CSU) will host a celebration and kickoff a fundraising campaign to honor the legacy of Fanny Jackson Coppin, the namesake of the university, with the creation of a bronze sculpture, at noon on Oct. 15, on the campus in front of Parlett Moore Library, at Warwick and North Avenues, as part of I Love Coppin Week.

The life-sized sculpture will be erected on campus in October 2021, in a prominent campus location. The sculpture location will include engravings featuring the names of donors who contribute at specific giving levels. The event will be broadcast live online at: coppin.edu/watch. The rain location will be in the James Weldon Johnson auditorium on the CSU campus.

“We are excited to honor the life and legacy of a woman who pioneered the way for African-Americans to receive an education,” said CSU President Dr. Anthony L. Jenkins. “She is worthy of this great honor, and there is no better institution to carry out this vision than Coppin State University. She was a trailblazer, and her work still influences and inspires our mission,” Jenkins added.

The fundraising goal, set at $250,000, is scheduled for completion by July 31, 2021. A portion of the funds raised will be used to enhance the Fanny Jackson Coppin academic scholarship. Gifts from the external community will be integral to the success of the endeavor, according to CSU officials. A variety of giving levels will be offered, and donors who give $1,000 or more by the fund drive completion date, will have their names engraved on a plaque that will be placed near the sculpture. Gifts of all sizes are welcomed and appreciated. All donors will be acknowledged on the CSU website and other commemorative documents.

The sculpture will be created by West Virginia sculptor, Frederick Hightower. The artwork will be designed to serve as a source of inspiration to current and future generations of students, conveying the message that all is possible through dedication, hard work, and perseverance.

“I Love Coppin Week” is an annual, university-wide celebration, that includes a birthday celebration on October 15, the date commemorated in 2018, by mayoral proclamation as Fanny Jackson Coppin Day.

A teacher, principal, lecturer, missionary to Africa, political activist, and warrior against oppression, Fanny Jackson Coppin conquered overwhelming obstacles and became an educator who lifted up generations of African-Americans.

Freed from slavery as a child, Coppin believed in the power of education and made educating African-Americans her life’s mission. In 1865, she became one of the first African-American women in the nation to earn a college degree (Oberlin College in Ohio). While at Oberlin, Coppin established a special school with evening classes to teach freed slaves. In 1869, Coppin became the nation’s first African-American woman to be appointed a school principal while at the Institute for Colored Youth (ICY) in Philadelphia (the forerunner of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania). A few years later, she was promoted by the Philadelphia Board of Education to superintendent, becoming the nation’s first African-American superintendent of a school district.

Fanny Jackson Coppin is the namesake for Coppin State University. In 1926, the Baltimore Normal Department of the Colored High and Training School were permitted to change their name to Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School. In 1939, the name was changed to Coppin Teachers College. Overtime the institution became Coppin State University.