North Carolina Central University

Last updated
North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University seal.svg
MottoTruth and Service
Type Public, HBCU
Established1910;111 years ago (1910)
Parent institution
UNC System
Endowment $54 million
Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye
Provost Yolanda Banks Anderson (interim)
Students8,207 (Fall 2018)
Location, ,
United States
Campus Urban
NewspaperThe Campus Echo [1]
Colors Maroon & Gray
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Eagles
Affiliations Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
North Carolina Central University logo.svg
North Carolina Central University
NCCU campus grounds.JPG
North Carolina Central University campus
USA North Carolina location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
LocationBounded by Lawson St., Alston Ave., Nelson, and Fayetteville Sts., Durham, North Carolina
Coordinates 35°58′27″N78°53′55″W / 35.97417°N 78.89861°W / 35.97417; -78.89861 Coordinates: 35°58′27″N78°53′55″W / 35.97417°N 78.89861°W / 35.97417; -78.89861
ArchitectAtwood & Nash; Public Works Administration
Architectural styleColonial Revival, Georgian Revival
MPS Durham MRA
NRHP reference No. 86000676 [2]
Added to NRHPMarch 28, 1986

North Carolina Central University (NCCU or NC Central), a state-supported liberal arts institution, is a public, historically black university in Durham, North Carolina. Founded by Dr. James E. Shepard in affiliation with the Chautauqua movement in 1909, it was supported by private funds from both Northern and Southern philanthropists. It was made part of the state system in 1923, when it first received state funding and was renamed as Durham State Normal School. It added graduate classes in arts and sciences and professional schools in law and library science in the late 1930s and 1940s.


In 1969 the legislature designated this as a regional university and renamed it as North Carolina Central University. It has been part of the University of North Carolina system since 1972, and offers programs at the baccalaureate, master's, professional and doctoral levels. The university is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.


James E. Shepard President19091947
Alfonso Elder President19481963
Samuel P. Massie President19631966
Albert N. Whiting President
LeRoy T. Walker Chancellor19831986
Tyronza R. Richmond Chancellor19861992
Donna J. BensonInterim Chancellor19921993
Julius L. Chambers Chancellor19932001
James H. Ammons Chancellor20012007
Beverly Washington JonesInterim Chancellor20072007
Charlie Nelms Chancellor20072012
Charles Becton Interim Chancellor20122013
Debra Saunders-White Chancellor20132016
Johnson O. Akinleye Interim Chancellor20162017
Johnson O. Akinleye Chancellor2017Present

North Carolina Central University was founded by Dr. James E. Shepard as the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race in the Hayti District. Chautauqua was an educational movement that originated in the Northeast. The school was chartered in 1909 as a private institution and opened on July 5, 1910. Woodrow Wilson, the future U.S. president, contributed some private support for the school's founding. [3]

The school was sold and reorganized in 1915, becoming the National Training School; it was supported by Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, a philanthropist of New York who was particularly concerned about education. (She founded the Russell Sage Foundation and made generous bequests to several schools.) The National Training School supported Black teacher development in the Jim Crow era, a time when Black education was underfunded by southern states at both the lower and upper levels.

Statue of NCCU founder James E. Shepard. James E. Shepard was also a pharmacist, civil servant and educator. He served as the first president of NCCU for nearly 40 years. NCCU James E. Shepard statue.JPG
Statue of NCCU founder James E. Shepard. James E. Shepard was also a pharmacist, civil servant and educator. He served as the first president of NCCU for nearly 40 years.

Becoming a state-funded institution in 1923, this school was renamed as Durham State Normal School for Negroes; normal schools trained teachers for elementary grades. In 1925, reflecting the expansion of its programs to a four-year curriculum with a variety of majors, the General Assembly converted the institution into the North Carolina College for Negroes, dedicating it to the offering of liberal arts education and the preparation of teachers and principals of secondary schools. It was the nation's first state-supported liberal arts college for black students. [4] To avoid the state Jim Crow system of segregated passenger cars on trains, Shepard insisted on traveling to Raleigh by car to lobby the legislature. [4] The college's first four-year class graduated in 1929.

The college was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools as an "A" class institution in 1937 and was admitted to membership in that association in 1957. Graduate courses in the School of Arts and Sciences were added in 1939, in the School of Law in 1940, and in the School of Library Science in 1941. In 1947, the General Assembly changed the name of the institution to North Carolina College at Durham.

On October 6, 1947, Dr. Shepard, the founder and president, died. He was succeeded in 1948 by Dr. Alfonso Elder. At the time of Dr. Elder's election, he was serving as head of the Graduate Department of Education and had formerly been Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Elder retired September 1, 1963. Dr. Samuel P. Massie was appointed as the president on August 9, 1963, and resigned on February 1, 1966. On July 1, 1967, Dr. Albert N. Whiting assumed the presidency. He served as president and chancellor of the institution. Among the significant developments during his service was the creation of NCCU School of Business. Programs in public administration and criminal justice were also launched. Dr. Whiting retired June 30, 1983.

The 1969 General Assembly designated the institution as one of the State's regional universities, and the name was changed to North Carolina Central University. Since 1972, NCCU has been a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system. On July 1, 1972, the state's four-year colleges and universities were joined to become The Consolidated University of North Carolina, with 16 individual campuses, headed by a single president and governed by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. However, each campus was led by a separate chancellor and a campus-specific Board of Trustees. [5]

Whiting was succeeded by LeRoy T. Walker as chancellor, followed by Tyronza R. Richmond, Julius L. Chambers (who had previously been director-counsel (chief executive) of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund), James H. Ammons, Charlie Nelms, and Debra Saunders-White in 2013. Dr. Saunders-White was the first woman to hold the office on a permanent basis (Donna Benson was the first woman to serve as interim chancellor of the university). [6] Dr. Saunders-White took a leave of absence in 2016, then provost, Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye, was appointed as acting chancellor. Following her death in November 2016, Akinleye became interim chancellor.

Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye was elected as the 12th chancellor of NCCU on June 26, 2017. [7] In this position, Dr. Akinleye has worked to expand the university's academic partnerships, including new agreements with community colleges, as well as introduced a robust online, distance-education program, NCCU Online. He also created K-12 initiatives and implemented a security strategy to increase safety for campus constituents. He continues to enhance the NCCU legacy with his platform, The Eagle Promise [8] which focuses on six strategic priorities.


The campus is located about a mile south of downtown Durham, North Carolina and about three miles east of Duke University. Eleven buildings built before 1940 are included in a national historic district. All of the buildings, except for the three residences, are Georgian Revival-style buildings; they have contemporary fireproof construction with steel trusses and brick exterior walls. They include the James E. Shepard Administration Building, Alexander Dunn Hall, Annie Day Shepard Hall, and five institutional buildings built in the late 1930s under the auspices of the Public Works Administration. [9] The campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. [2]


NCCU is a part of the University of North Carolina (UNC) System. The campus is governed by a thirteen-member Board of Trustees: eight elected, four appointed, and the president of the Student Government Association also serves as an ex-officio member. The Board elects its officers annually and meets five times per year. [10]

As of Fall 2020, NCCU had a total of 8,078 students, (full and part-time) including 6,067 undergraduate and 1,608 graduate students. Nearly 70% are women and 30% are men. 71.6% percent are Black, 9.7% are white, 6.6% are Hispanic and 1.3 Asian. [11] As of 2020, NCCU had a student faculty ratio of 16:1. [12]

Schools and colleges

Research institutes

Additional programs

Student activities

Student organizations

North Carolina Central University has over 130 registered student organizations and 12 honor societies.

Student media

The students of North Carolina Central University publish the Campus Echo, a bi-weekly newspaper that has been in publication since the school's founding in 1910. [18] [19] The Campus Echo contains articles covering local events, arts and entertainment, and sports among other topics.


NCCU sponsors fourteen men's and women's sports teams that participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I as a newly readmitted member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Athletic teams include football, softball, baseball, basketball, track and field, tennis, volleyball, bowling, and golf.

Read More: NCCU Championships
Basketball (Men)
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)1946, 1950
NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances1957, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997
NCAA Division II Regional Champions1989, 1993
NCAA Division II National Champions1989
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champions (MEAC)2014, 2015, 2017
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament Champions and NCAA Division I Tournament Appearances2014, 2017, 2018, 2019
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)1953, 1954, 1956, 1961, 1963, 1980, 2005, 2006
NCAA Division II Playoff Appearances1988, 2005, 2006
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champions (MEAC)1972, 1973, 2014, 2015, 2016
Track & Field (Men)
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)1964, 1965, 1971
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champions (MEAC)1972, 1973, 1974
NAIA National Champions1972
Tennis (Men)
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)1957, 1958, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1998
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Champions (MEAC)1972, 1973, 1974, 1975
Volleyball (Women)
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)1999, 2004, 2005, 2006
NCAA Division II Playoff Appearances2004, 2005, 2006
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)1998, 1999, 2006
NCAA Division II Playoff Appearances2006, 2007
Basketball (Women)
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)1984, 2007
NCAA Division II Playoff Appearances1984, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007
Cross Country (Women)
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)2005, 2006
NCAA Division II Regional Champions2006
Cross Country (Men)
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)2004
Bowling (Women)
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Champions (CIAA)2001


Notable alumni

NameClass yearNotabilityReference(s)
Arenda Wright Allen 1985judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Sunshine Anderson singer
Louis Austin newspaper publisher
Dorothy F. Bailey 1962civic leader, Maryland Women's Hall of Fame inductee [20]
Frank Ballance 1963former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (North Carolina 1st district)
Ernie Barnes 1960artist and former professional football player
Larry Black Olympic track & field gold and silver medalist
Dan Blue 1970multiple African-American "firsts": North Carolina Speaker of the House; president of National Conference of State Legislatures
Herman Boone 1958former high school football coach, profiled in the motion picture Remember the Titans
Julia Boseman 1992State Senator (North Carolina)
Jim Brewington former professional football player
Wanda G. Bryant 1982North Carolina Court of Appeals jurist
G. K. Butterfield 1974Congressman and former Associate Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court
Phonte Coleman rapper
Kim Coles comedian and actress
Julius L. Chambers 1958lawyer, civil rights leader, and educator. Founded the first integrated law firm in North Carolina
Eva M. Clayton former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (North Carolina's 1st district)
Lee Davis 1968former professional basketball player, 1-time ABA all-star [21]
Morris "Moe" Davis 1983 United States Air Force officer, lawyer, and administrative law judge who is running as a Democrat for Congress in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District. Davis was appointed the third Chief Prosecutor of the Guantanamo military commissions, where he served from September 2005 until his resignation in October 2007 citing objections over the use of waterboarding in obtaining evidence.
Ivan Dixon 1954actor, Hogan's Heroes
Patrick Douthit ("9th Wonder") attendedGrammy award-winning hip-hop producer, college lecturer and former teaching fellow at Harvard University
Mike Easley 1976former Governor of North Carolina
Rick Elmore 1982North Carolina Court of Appeals jurist
Stormie Forte 2002First African-American woman and openly LGBTQ woman to serve on the Raleigh City Council
Robert D. Glass 1949First African American justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court
Bill Hayes 1965former head football coach at Winston Salem State University and North Carolina A&T State University; current athletic director at Winston-Salem State University
Harold Hunter first African-American to sign a contract with the NBA; former coach for Tennessee State, player for North Carolina College [22]
Maynard Jackson 1964first black mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. Graduate of NC Central University School of Law
Sam Jones NBA Hall of Famer
Vernon Jones politician, former Georgia state legislator, and former chief executive officer of DeKalb County, Georgia
Eleanor Kinnaird Member of the North Carolina Senate (23rd district)
Clarence Lightner First black mayor of Raleigh, N.C.
Bishop Eddie Long Senior Pastor, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, Georgia
Lillian M. Lowery Superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education
Jeanne Lucas first black elected to the North Carolina Senate
Crystal Mangum False accuser in the Duke lacrosse case and convicted murderer. [23]
Robert Massey 1989former NFL defensive back and current head football coach at Shaw University
Jonathan Melton 2011first opnely gay member of the Raleigh City Council
Henry "Mickey" Michaux member of the North Carolina House of Representatives (31st district)
LeVelle Moton 1996former NC Central basketball player and current head coach of the men's basketball team
Ida Stephens Owens 1961Biochemist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Greg Peterson 2007former professional football player
Xavier Proctor 2013football player
Charles Romes 1977former professional football player
Ben Ruffin 1964civil rights activist, educator, and businessman
Julius Sang former Kenyan track athlete
Richard Sligh 1966professional football player-Oakland Raiders (California) and Cincinnati "Bengals" (Ohio); "Tallest Pro Football Player"
Al Stewart J.D.acting United States Secretary of Labor (2021)
Ted G. Stone M.A. 1958Southern Baptist evangelist and recovered amphetamine addict
André Leon Talley Editor-at-Large, Vogue Magazine
Cressie Thigpen 1968 North Carolina Court of Appeals jurist
Doug Wilkerson former professional football player
Paul Winslow former professional football player
Yahzarah attendedsinger
David Young former professional basketball player
Ernie Warlick former AFL and CFL professional football player
Harold T. Epps Sr. 1948,1950Prominent North Carolina attorney who was instrumental in desegregating the University of North Carolina School of Law.

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  23. or empty |title= (help)