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Tuskegee University (TU), founded in 1881, is an independent, state-related institution of higher education. Tuskegee rose to national prominence under the leadership of its founder, Dr. Booker T. Washington, who headed the institution from 1881 until his death in 1915. Institutional independence was gained in 1892, when Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute was granted authority to act independently of the State of Alabama. Tuskegee gained university status in 1985. The university's accrediting body, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, approved Tuskegee's first PhD program in 1998.

The academic programs are now organized into five colleges: (1) The College of Agricultural, Environmental and Natural Sciences; (2) The College of Business and Information Science; (3) The College of Engineering, Architecture, and Physical Sciences; (4) The College of Liberal Arts and Education; and (5) The College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health. The curricula for the five colleges currently offer 49 degrees, including 35 Bachelor's, 11 Master's, Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy in Integrative Biosciences, and the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Today, nearly 7% of AA veterinarians in America are Tuskegee graduates. Graduate instruction leading to the Master's degree and the Doctor of Philosophy Degree is offered in three of the five colleges.

The university as a whole is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Additionally, the following professional programs are accredited by national professional agencies: Architecture, Business, Education, Engineering, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, and Veterinary Medicine. Of special note is the fact that TU is the only independent historically black university with four engineering programs that are nationally accredited by the Accrediting Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET), the major accrediting body for the engineering sciences. Also, TU's chemistry program is one of only a few among historically black colleges and universities that is approved by the American Chemical Society. Furthermore, the Dietetics Program is approved by the American Dietetic Association, and the Food Science Program is approved by the Institute of Food Technologists.

TU has grown to 3,000 students from more than 30 countries and employs 286 full-time faculty, 55% of which are minority. The university has risen to its current status as a comprehensive, deeply engaged, and highly respected academic institution. Its impact is broadly recognized for its revolutionary research, development of students into outstanding leaders, and its contributions to American society. From July 2005 through December 2006, TU has received more than $70 million in grants and contracts to continue the university's tradition of instruction, research, and public service. Its operating budget is close to $100 million per year.