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Master's Degree candidates enter the stadium during Southern University and A &M College's Spring Commencement for the Class of 2021at A.W. Mumford Stadium Friday May 14, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La.

Southern University was one of two historically Black colleges and universities recently designated as a Carnegie R2 research institution, the second-highest classification for American research universities.

The honor comes as part of the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of Higher Education, which assessed over 3,000 post-secondary institutions in 2021. 

The updated assessment, which included 100 HBCUs, maintained that eight HBCUs were worthy of maintaining their R2 designations while two, including Southern, achieved the status for the first time. 

“Through many years, the hard work and dedication of our faculty and students have propelled our institution to this very prestigious designation,” said Ray L. Belton, president of the Southern University System and chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus. “Southern has long been at the forefront of research and innovation that have benefited our communities all over the world. We will continue to rise to society’s challenges while continuing to strive for higher designations in the educational community.”

As a highly respected research university, Southern has a number of goals they would like to achieve to build and sustain an infrastructure that encourages greater participation by faculty.

University officials are looking to build nationally reputable and competitive academic department, land an increased number of publications in refereed journals and develop more significant opportunities for students to participate in scholarly activities and research with their professors.

"Southern is committed to a broad program of research, both basic and applied, and creative work to stimulate the faculty and students in a quest for knowledge," Southern University wrote in a statement about the designation. "And to aid society in resolving its scientific, technological, socioeconomic, and cultural problems."

Email Terell Wilkins at or follow him on Twitter, @terelljwilkins.