Historic sign - Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee

What Everyone Should Know About Fisk

Founded in 1866, Fisk University is the oldest institution of higher education in Nashville, Tennessee and will celebrate its sesquicentennial in 2016. Fisk received a charter for the first chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society on a predominantly black campus in 1953. Fisk’s outstanding faculty and students continue to enhance the University’s national reputation for academic excellence that is validated year after year by the leading third party reviewers, as well as by the pool of talented applicants and the large percentage of alumni who complete graduate or professional degrees and become leaders and scholars in their fields.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programs

Fisk’s longstanding legacy of excellence is reinforced by its accomplishments in the 21st century, especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Business disciplines. Fisk remains the only historically black college or university (HBCU) ever to win the prestigious R&D 100 award, and to date has won four.

Since 2009, the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program has produced thirteen Ph.D. graduates in physics, astronomy, and materials science, disciplines in which women, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are underrepresented. Just in the past three years, the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program has graduated a total of twelve Ph.D. recipients and is on track to graduate an average of three to four each year. This places the program at the top of productivity of Ph.D. degrees awarded to underrepresented minorities.

In September 2012, the National Science Foundation released its most recent study ranking U.S. higher education programs by their expenditures in research and development. Fisk University’s research in the physical sciences ranks in the top 3 percent while Fisk’s overall research ranks in the top 8 percent among all U.S. universities and colleges.

Department of Business Administration

The Department of Business Administration has a reputation for producing alumni who hold top positions in their fields. These include entrepreneurs George Russell Curtis, Sr. ’56, Karl Turner’77 and Jacquelyn Denton Alton ’66, sports agents and executives Carl Poston III ’77 and Kevin Poston ’81, Music World Entertainment Founding CEO Mathew Knowles ’75, hospital system executive Mark Chastang ’74, and past American Hospital Association Chairman and current Truman Medical Center CEO John W. Bluford III ’71.

Among the many young alumni who have begun to make their marks are risk analysts Jenise Burks ’11 and Jordan West ’10, financial services professional James Horton ’06, accounting executive Dominique D'Antignac-Bell ’97, social media strategist Rob Wingfield ’00, foreign services officer William Campbell ’07, and human resources professional Johnathan Montgomery ’99.

The department’s ENACTUS organization (formerly SIFE) regularly wins regional competitions for their innovative projects that make a difference in the Nashville community while developing them into socially responsible business leaders. Fisk holds membership in the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The Department of Business Administration offers a minor in music business through a collaborative agreement with Belmont University. In addition, Fisk offers a joint program with the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. In five years, students earn a Fisk B.S. degree and a Vanderbilt Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree.

National Rankings

According to the American Physical Society (April 2014), Fisk is the number one producer of underrepresented minority Master's in Physics degrees. Fisk is ranked in the top 15 institutions in the nation for awarding the Master's in Physics degree for all students, and tied for fourth place for Master's degrees awarded to women of any ethnic background. As of 2006, no U.S. institution awards more master’s in physics degrees to African-American U.S. citizen than Fisk University.

Forbes’ 650 Top Colleges for 2014 ranked Fisk #256 overall, #186 among private colleges and #54 in the South. Fisk was the highest ranked HBCU on the list and is the 4th highest ranked institution in Tennessee, ahead of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Belmont University, and seven other Tennessee institutions.
Source: Division of Institutional Advancement, January 15, 2015

U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 rankings continued Fisk in the prestigious Tier One of National Liberal Arts Colleges/ Universities. Only four HBCUs - Fisk, Morehouse, Spelman, and Xavier of Louisiana – are in Tier One. Among the four institutions, Fisk is the only one that has a BA to MA to PhD pipeline in the natural sciences and does so at the lowest tuition and fees costs.

Fisk University continues to be consistently ranked among the top 246 the liberal arts college in the nation, according to The Washington Monthly’s2014 Best Liberal Arts Colleges” edition. Fisk’s overall placement is #1 in Tennessee, #5 in the South and #55 in the U.S. A substantial gain this year was in the Social Mobility category, where Fisk is ranked 47th in the nation. In the categories of research expenditures and bachelor-to-PhD transition, Fisk ranks 3rd in the South.

For the 22nd consecutive year, the Princeton Review ranked Fisk among the “Best Southeastern Colleges.”

Fall 2014 Enrollment

We increased our enrollment, by 20%, to 773 students – the third consecutive year of increases. The average GPA for the 208 freshmen in the Class of 2018 is 3.12 and the average ACT is 21.

The Class of 2018 includes 4 Chairman’s Scholars, 22 Fisk Presidential Scholars, 15 Fisk Legacies, and a Gates Millennial Scholar. The class contains numerous Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Scholars.

Members of the Class of 2018 attained numerous honors during their high school careers including memberships in the National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Key Club, and Beta Club. They were valedictorians or salutatorians of their high school classes, and were leaders in diverse organizations, from the Student Government Association, Steve Harvey’s Disney Dreamers Academy, and Superintendent’s Leadership Team to Varsity Athletes, School Ambassadors and members of Future Business Leaders of America. Not only is the Class of 2018 a class of scholars and leaders, but a class of civically engaged students with active participation in numerous organizations including the Girl Scouts, Bahamas Gentlemen’s Club, Black Achievers, Jack and Jill, NAACP, American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross.

Among Fisk’s Class of 2018, biology is the most popular major, followed by business administration, political science, psychology, and chemistry.

Student Outcomes

Fisk’s persistence rate is 84 percent. Fisk’s six-year graduation rate is 52 percent.

During 2013-2014, over 14 percent of Fisk students were selected for internships by national, regional, and local firms.

Sixty-one percent of students who earn a Fisk degree enter graduate or professional school within one year of their graduation, ahead of the national average of 23 percent.

Fisk’s Class of 2014 included eight students who were inducted into The Phi Beta Kappa Society.

1 National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2013

2 National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2013