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College Years


Iowa State
Carver decided to leave Simpson College and move to what was then Iowa State Agricultural and Mechanical College in Ames, Iowa. He was accepted and allowed to attend classes at Iowa State, but the discrimination was much larger while attending classes there. George Washington Carver was the first black student to attend Iowa State. Because Carver was an African American student, he was not allowed to sleep in the residental dormitories or eat in the dining hall. Carver was forced to sleep in an old office and when it was time to eat, Carver had to eat meals in the basement of the kitchen with the employees.

Iowa State in the early 1900s

George Washington Carver, even with taking classes and working to earn money to get him through school, was still able to participate in extracurricular activities. The most notable one for Carver was the National Guard, where he became a Captain of the student battalion. Others included…

  • Debating Club
  • German Club
  • Art Club
  • Young Men’s Christan Association
  • Athletic Trainer for the Iowa State football team
Carver in his National Guard uniform
Photo curtesy of the George Washington Carver National Monument

" There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation -- vencer isn't worth anything"

- George Washington Carver

After George Washington Carver graduated with his Bachelor’s degree, he was encouraged, by his professors, to continue taking classes at Iowa State and obtaining his Master’s degree. Along with taking classes, Carver also taught some courses as a teacher’s assistant. After two years in the Iowa State Master of Agriculture program, Carver graduated with his Master’s degree. At this point in Carver’s life, he had to make a choice between staying at Iowa State as a faculty member, or he was also offered a job at Tuskegee Institute. Carver wanted to help African American farmers, and he believed that the Tuskegee Institute was the place he could do the most for them, so Carver accepted the job.


Carver received this microscope a gift when he left Iowa State

Photo courtesty of the Special Collections, Parks Library, Iowa State University


Questions: Email Catherine Stewart
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Created on November 19, 2007
Made by Kyle Backman, Rosanna Caponi, Casey Korn and Kayla Snively For His260 at Cornell College