The second annual Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) HBCU College Academy will be held in Detroit from May 12-14 at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School. This year, SMSB will have twice as many colleges and their football coaches in attendance. The FREE event will feature Norfolk State University head coach Dawson Odums and his staff.
Norfolk State University’s origins began as the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University during the Great Depression in the summer of 1935. It was formed to support the education of youth in Norfolk, Virginia, with the help of VUU, one of the oldest HBCUs in the country founded right after the Civil War. Norfolk gained its independence in 1942 from VUU and was renamed the Norfolk Polytechnic College. Polytechnic institutions focus on vocational or technical courses. By now, it was associated with another HBCU, Virginia State University, and became Norfolk State College. It began offering a bachelor’s degree for the first time in 1956.
The school separated from VSU and became fully independent in 1969. In 1979, university status was attained and the school became to be known as Norfolk State University. Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston currently serves as the president of Norfolk State University.
U.S. News ranked Norfolk State University as the 20th best HBCU in America in 2022. Notable alumni of NSU include former Detroit Lions safety Don Carey, comedians Tim Reid and J.B. Smoove, basketball legend Pee Wee Kirkland, and lawyer and civil rights activist Randall Robinson.
Norfolk State University has been playing football since 1938 and plays in the MEAC Conference. Head coach Dawson Odums is in his second season at Norfolk, going 6-5 in 2021.