Founded in 1837 it was a small one building called Melrose Cottage. Founder Richard Humphreys gave one-tenth of his estate to fund the institute. In 1902, it was relocated to the farm of George Cheney who donated his land for the school to expand. Thus the name was changed to Cheney, and then Cheney University of Pennsylvania in 1983. The first degree awarded was in 1914. It was not the first HBCU to award a degree nonetheless the University paved the way for colleges such as Lincoln University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.