|Latin: Universitas Carolinae Septentrionalis|
|Type||Public university system|
|Established||1789 (Chapel Hill)|
1972 (current structure)
|Governing body||UNC Board of Governors|
|13,564 (2008 Fall)|
|30,664 (2008 Fall)|
|Students||244,507 (2021 Fall)|
|Undergraduates||191,517 (2021 Fall)|
|Postgraduates||52,990 (2021 Fall)|
The University of North Carolina is the multi-campus public university system for the state of North Carolina. Overseeing the state's 16 public universities and the NC School of Science and Mathematics, it is commonly referred to as the UNC System to differentiate it from its flagship, UNC-Chapel Hill.
The university system has a total enrollment of 244,507 students as of fall 2021.UNC campuses conferred 62,930 degrees in 2020–2021, the bulk of which were at the bachelor's level, with 44,309 degrees awarded. In 2008, the UNC System conferred over 75% of all baccalaureate degrees in North Carolina.
Founded in 1789, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (at the time called the University of North Carolina) is one of three schools to claim the title of oldest public university in the United States. It closed from 1871 to 1875, faced with serious financial and enrollment problems during the Reconstruction era. In 1877, the state of North Carolina began sponsoring additional higher education institutions. Over time, the state added a women's college (now known as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro), a land-grant university (North Carolina State University), five historically black institutions (North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Winston-Salem State University, Fayetteville State University, and Elizabeth City State University) and one to educate American Indians (the University of North Carolina at Pembroke). Others were created to prepare teachers for public education and to instruct performing artists.
During the Great Depression, the North Carolina General Assembly searched for cost savings within state government. Towards this effort in 1931, it redefined the University of North Carolina, which at the time referred exclusively to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the new Consolidated University of North Carolina was created to include the existing campuses of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University), and the Woman's College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). The three campuses came under the leadership of a single board of trustees and a single president, with "Deans of Administration" serving as day-to-day leaders of the three campuses. In 1945, the title "Dean of Administration" was changed to "Chancellor." By 1969, three additional campuses had joined the Consolidated University through legislative action: the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
In 1971, North Carolina passed legislation bringing into the University of North Carolina all 16 public institutions that confer bachelor's degrees. This latest round of consolidation gave each constituent school its own chancellor and board of trustees. In 1985, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, the nation's first public residential high school for gifted students, was declared an affiliated school of the university. In 2007, the high school became a full member of the university.[ citation needed ]
In March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNC System shut down in-person instruction at all of its campuses indefinitely. In an unprecedented move to limit the spread of the disease, institutions were asked to remove as many students from on-campus housing as possible, implement remote work wherever practical, and to transition to distance education.
|1||Rev. Joseph Caldwell||1804–1812|
|2||Robert Hett Chapman||1812–1816|
|-||Rev. Joseph Caldwell||1816–1835|
|*||Elisha Mitchell *||1835|
|3||David Lowry Swain||1835–1868|
|4||Rev. Solomon Pool||1869–1872|
|**||Rev. Charles Phillips**||1875–1876|
|5||Kemp Plummer Battle||1876–1891|
|6||George Tayloe Winston||1891–1896|
|7||Edwin Anderson Alderman||1896–1900|
|8||Francis Preston Venable||1900–1914|
|9||Edward Kidder Graham||1914–1918|
|*||Marvin Hendrix Stacy*||1918–1919|
|10||Harry Woodburn Chase||1919–1930|
|11||Frank Porter Graham||1930–1949|
(UNC Consolidation in 1931)
|*||William Donald Carmichael, Jr.*||1949–1950|
|*||J. Harris Purks*||1955–1956|
|13||William Clyde Friday||1956–1986|
(acting until 1957)
|15||Molly Corbett Broad||1997–2006|
|17||Thomas W. Ross||2011–2016|
|*||Junius J. Gonzales *||2016|
|*||William L. Roper *||2019–2020|
An asterisk (*) denotes acting president. Two asterisks (**) denotes chairman of the faculty.
The legal authority and mandate for the University of North Carolina is contained in the State's first Constitution (1776),which provided in Article XLI
That a school or schools shall be established by the Legislature, for the convenient instruction of youth, ... and all useful learning shall be duly encouraged, and promoted, in one or more universities,
The state legislature granted a charter and funding for the university in 1789.
Article IX of the 1971 North Carolina Constitution deals with all forms of public education in the state. Sections 8 and 9 of that article address higher education.
The General Assembly shall maintain a public system of higher education, comprising The University of North Carolina and such other institutions of higher education as the General Assembly may deem wise. The General Assembly shall provide for the selection of trustees of The University of North Carolina and of the other institutions of higher education, in whom shall be vested all the privileges, rights, franchises, and endowments heretofore granted to or conferred upon the trustees of these institutions. The General Assembly may enact laws necessary and expedient for the maintenance and management of The University of North Carolina and the other public institutions of higher education.
The General Assembly shall provide that the benefits of The University of North Carolina and other public institutions of higher education, as far as practicable, be extended to the people of the State free of expense.
Statutory provisions stipulate the current function and cost to students of the University of North Carolina.
Within its seventeen campuses, UNC houses two medical schools and one teaching hospital, ten nursing programs, two schools of dentistry, one veterinary school and hospital, and a school of pharmacy, as well as a two law schools, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering, and a school for performing artists.The oldest university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, first admitted students in 1795. The smallest and newest member is the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, a residential two-year high school, founded in 1980 and a full member of the university since 2007. The largest university is North Carolina State University, with 34,340 students as of fall 2012.
While the official names of each campus are determined by the North Carolina General Assembly, abbreviations are determined by the individual school.
As of Fall 2019
|Carnegie Classification||Founded||Athletics (Affiliation)||Joined system||Refs|
| Appalachian State University |
(Appalachian State Teacher's College, until 1967)
|Boone, Watauga County||19,280||master's university||1899||Mountaineers (NCAA D-I, Sun Belt)||1972|
| East Carolina University |
(East Carolina College, until 1967)
|Greenville, Pitt County||28,651||doctoral/research university||1907||Pirates (NCAA D-I, American)||1972|
| Elizabeth City State University |
(Elizabeth City State College, until 1969)
|ECSU||Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County||1,772||baccalaureate college||1891||Vikings (NCAA D-II, CIAA)||1972|
| Fayetteville State University |
(Fayetteville State College, until 1969)
|FSU||Fayetteville, Cumberland County||6,551||master's university||1867||Broncos (NCAA D-II, CIAA)||1972|
| North Carolina A&T State University |
(The Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina, until 1969)
|NC A&T||Greensboro, Guilford County||12,556||doctoral/research university||1891||Aggies (NCAA D-I, CAA)||1972|
| North Carolina Central University |
(North Carolina College at Durham, until 1969)
|Durham, Durham County||8,011||master's university||1909||Eagles (NCAA D-I, MEAC)||1972|
| North Carolina State University |
(North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering, until 1963)
NC State or State
|Raleigh, Wake County||36,304||doctoral/research university||1887||Wolfpack (NCAA D-I, ACC)||1932|
| University of North Carolina at Asheville |
(Asheville-Biltmore College until 1969)
|Asheville, Buncombe County||3,600||baccalaureate college||1927||Bulldogs (NCAA D-I, Big South)||1969|
| University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill |
(University of North Carolina, until 1963)
|UNC-Chapel Hill, |
UNC-CH, North Carolina, or Carolina
|Chapel Hill, Orange County||29,877||doctoral/research university||1789||Tar Heels (NCAA D-I, ACC)||1932|
| University of North Carolina at Charlotte |
(Charlotte College, until 1965)
|Charlotte, Mecklenburg County||30,146||doctoral/research university||1946||49ers (NCAA D-I, American)||1965|
| University of North Carolina at Greensboro |
(The Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, until 1963)
|UNCG||Greensboro, Guilford County||20,196||doctoral/research university||1891||Spartans (NCAA D-I, SoCon)||1932|
| University of North Carolina at Pembroke |
(Pembroke State University, until 1996)
|UNCP||Pembroke, Robeson County||7,698||master's university||1887||Braves (NCAA D-II, Carolinas)||1972|
| University of North Carolina Wilmington |
(Wilmington College, until 1969)
|UNCW||Wilmington, New Hanover County||17,499||doctoral/research university||1947||Seahawks (NCAA D-I, CAA)||1969|
| University of North Carolina School of the Arts |
(North Carolina School of the Arts, until 2008)
|UNCSA||Winston-Salem, Forsyth County||1,086||special-focus institution||1963||The Fighting Pickle (N/A)||1972|
| Western Carolina University |
(Western Carolina College, until 1967)
|Cullowhee, Jackson County||12,167||master's university||1889||Catamounts (NCAA D-I, SoCon)||1972|
| Winston-Salem State University |
(Winston-Salem Teacher's College, until 1969)
|WSSU||Winston-Salem, Forsyth County||5,124||baccalaureate college||1892||Rams (NCAA D-II, CIAA)||1972|
|North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics||NCSSM||Durham, Durham County||680||residential high school||1980||Unicorns (NCHSAA)||2007|
The enrollment numbers are the official headcounts (including all full-time and part-time, undergrad and postgrad students) from University of North Carolina website.This does not include the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, the figure for NCSSM is taken from its own website.
The following universities became four-year institutions after their founding (date each became a four-year institution in parentheses):[ citation needed ]
With the exception of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the institutions that joined the University of North Carolina in 1972 did so under their current name. As of 1972, all public four-year institutions in North Carolina are members of the university.[ citation needed ]
|North Carolina Arboretum||Asheville, Buncombe County||1989|
|North Carolina Center for International Understanding||Raleigh, Wake County|
|North Carolina Center for Nursing||Raleigh, Wake County|
|North Carolina State Approving Agency||Raleigh, Wake County|
|North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority||Raleigh, Wake County|
|UNC Center for Public Media (PBS NC)||Research Triangle Park, Durham County||1955|
|UNC Faculty Assembly||Chapel Hill, Orange County|
|University of North Carolina Press||Chapel Hill, Orange County||1922|
|UNC Staff Assembly||Chapel Hill, Orange County|
North Carolina State University is a public land-grant research university in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. Founded in 1887 and part of the University of North Carolina system, it is the largest university in the Carolinas. The university forms one of the corners of the Research Triangle together with Duke University in Durham and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".
East Carolina University (ECU) is a public research university in Greenville, North Carolina. It is the fourth largest university in North Carolina.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is the flagship of the University of North Carolina system. After being chartered in 1789, the university first began enrolling students in 1795, making it one of the oldest public universities in the United States.
The University of North Carolina Asheville is a public liberal arts university in Asheville, North Carolina, United States. UNC Asheville is the designated liberal arts institution in the University of North Carolina system. It is a member and the headquarters of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.
Western Carolina University (WCU) is a public university in Cullowhee, North Carolina. It is part of the University of North Carolina system.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a public university in Pembroke, North Carolina. UNC Pembroke is a master's level degree-granting university and part of the University of North Carolina system. Its history is intertwined with that of the Lumbee nation.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a public research university in Charlotte, North Carolina. UNC Charlotte offers 24 doctoral, 66 master's, and 79 bachelor's degree programs through nine colleges. It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a public, historically black land-grant research university in Greensboro, North Carolina. It is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina System. Founded by the North Carolina General Assembly on March 9, 1891, as the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race, it was the second college established under the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1890, as well as the first for people of color in the State of North Carolina. Initially, the college offered instruction in agriculture, English, horticulture and mathematics. In 1967, the college was designated a Regional University by the North Carolina General Assembly and renamed North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, or simply the Carnegie Classification, is a framework for classifying colleges and universities in the United States. It was created in 1970 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is managed by the American Council on Education.
Herbert Holden Thorp is an American chemist, professor and entrepreneur. He is a professor of chemistry at George Washington University. He was the tenth chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, assuming the position on July 1, 2008, succeeding James Moeser, and, at age 43, was noted as being among the youngest leaders of a university in the United States. At the time of his selection as chancellor, Thorp was the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a Kenan Professor of chemistry at the university. Thorp is a 1986 graduate of UNC; he later earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from California Institute of Technology, and was a postdoctoral associate at Yale University.
Lake Forest College is a private liberal arts college in Lake Forest, Illinois. Founded in 1857 as Lind University by a group of Presbyterian ministers, the college has been coeducational since 1876 and an undergraduate-focused liberal arts institution since 1903. Lake Forest enrolls approximately 1,500 students representing 43 states and 80 countries. Lake Forest offers 32 undergraduate major and minor programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and features programs of study in pre-law, pre-medicine, communication, business, finance, and computer science. The majority of students live on the college's wooded 107-acre campus located a half-mile from the Lake Michigan shore, however, the population of commuting students has increased in the past few years.
Conference Carolinas, formerly known as the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference (CVAC) or the Carolinas Conference, is a college athletic conference affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) primarily at the Division II level. It is also considered as one of the seven Division I conferences for men's volleyball. Originally formed in 1930, the league reached its modern incarnation in 1994. Member institutions are located in the southeastern United States in the states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The Conference Carolinas membership currently consists of 14 small colleges or universities, 12 private and two public.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a coeducational public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States. It is one of three schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States. The first public institution of higher education in North Carolina, the school opened on February 12, 1795.
The UNC Pembroke Braves football team represents the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in college football, competing in the Mountain East Conference. Pembroke plays its home games at the 4,000 seat Grace P. Johnson Stadium at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Field, which is located on-campus in Pembroke, North Carolina. Although only fielding a modern team since the 2007 season, Pembroke previously fielded teams between the 1946 and 1950 seasons as Pembroke State.
The UNC Pembroke Braves are the athletic teams that represent the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, located in Pembroke, North Carolina, in NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports.
Ruth Dial Woods is an American educator and activist. A member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, she was the first woman to serve as the associate superintendent of the Robeson County Public Schools and to receive an at-large appointment to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. After teaching in the public school system of Robeson County for 27 years, she joined the faculty at Fayetteville State University. In addition to her work as an educator, Woods was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's liberation movement, and the American Indian Movement. She has served as a community development consultant for the United States Department of Labor and as a consultant for the Lumbee Tribal Council for administration of tribal programs. The recipient of numerous awards and honors for her work in human rights and education, in 2011, she was inducted into the North Carolina Women's Hall of Fame.