School:North Carolina Central University

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North Carolina Central University (NCCU or NC Central), is a state-supported liberal arts institution, and is a public, historically black university located in Durham, North Carolina. NCCU was 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. For more than a century, NC Central has prepared students to transform communities. We made the commitment as the nation's first public liberal arts institution for African American students. We sustain it as a future-focused modern university.

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.

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.

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. 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. 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.


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. The campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.


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.

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. As of 2020, NCCU had a student faculty ratio of 16:1.

Schools and colleges[edit]

  • School of Business (AACSB)
  • School of Education
  • School of Law
  • School of Library & Information Sciences
  • College of Health & Sciences
  • College of Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities
  • School of Graduate Studies

Research institutes[edit]

  • The Julius L. Chambers Biomedical Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI)
  • Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE)

Additional programs[edit]

  • University Honors Program (UHP)
  • NCCU Online
  • Evening & Weekend Degree Programs

Student activities[edit]

Student organizations[edit]

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

Student media[edit]

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. The Campus Echo contains articles covering local events, arts and entertainment, and sports among other topics.

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