North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University
Former names
National Religious Training School and Chautauqua
National Training School
Durham State Normal School
North Carolina College for Negroes
North Carolina College at Durham
Motto Truth and Service
Type Public, HBCU
Established 1910
Chancellor vacant due to the death of Debra Saunders-White on November 26, 2016
Provost Johnson O. Akinleye
Students 9,600
Location Durham, North Carolina, U.S.
Campus Urban
Colors Maroon & Gray
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Eagles
Affiliations Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University campus
Location Bounded by Lawson St., Alston Ave., Nelson, and Fayetteville Sts., Durham, North Carolina
Coordinates 35°58′27″N 78°53′55″W / 35.97417°N 78.89861°W / 35.97417; -78.89861Coordinates: 35°58′27″N 78°53′55″W / 35.97417°N 78.89861°W / 35.97417; -78.89861
Built 1928
Architect Atwood & Nash; Public Works Administration
Architectural style Colonial Revival, Georgian Revival
MPS Durham MRA
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP March 28, 1986

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is a public historically black university in the University of North Carolina system, located in Durham, North Carolina, offering programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, professional and doctoral levels. The University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.


James E. Shepard, c. 1947, founder of the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua
James E. Shepard President 19091947
Alfonso Elder President 19481963
Samuel P. Massie President 19631966
Albert N. Whiting President
LeRoy T. Walker Chancellor 19831986
Tyronza R. Richmond Chancellor 19861992
Donna J. Benson Interim Chancellor 19921993
Julius L. Chambers Chancellor 19932001
James H. Ammons Chancellor 20012007
Beverly Washington Jones Interim Chancellor 20072007
Charlie Nelms Chancellor 20072012
Charles Becton Interim Chancellor 20122013
Debra Saunders-White Chancellor 20132016

North Carolina Central University was founded by James E. Shepard as the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua in the Hayti District. It was chartered in 1909 as a private institution and opened on July 5, 1910. Along with other progressives, Woodrow Wilson, the future U.S. President, contributed some private support for the school's founding.[2] 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. It supported Black teacher development in the Jim Crow era, a time when funding and support for Black education by southern states was severely limited.

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, it was renamed Durham State Normal School. In 1925, reflecting the expansion of its programs to a four-year curriculum with a variety of majors, it was renamed the North Carolina College for Negroes. It was the nation's first state-supported liberal arts college for black students.[3] To avoid the Jim Crow system of segregated passenger cars on the train, Shepard insisted on traveling to Raleigh by car to lobby the legislature.[3] 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, but it was not admitted to membership until 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, Shepard, the founder and president, died. He was succeeded in 1948 by Alfonso Elder. Elder served as president until he retired September 1, 1963. Samuel P. Massie was appointed as the third president on August 9, 1963, and resigned on February 1, 1966. On July 1, 1967, Albert N. Whiting assumed the presidency, serving until his retirement 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.[4]

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 in 2013 by Debra Saunders-White, 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).[5]


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 of fireproof construction with steel trusses and brick exterior walls. They include the Clyde R. Hoey 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.[6] The campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[1]

North Carolina Central University entrance seen from S. Alston Avenue.


NCCU is a part of the 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.[7]

As of 2011, NCCU had a total of 8,587 students, (full and part-time) including 5396 full-time undergraduate and 1233 full-time graduate students. Sixty-four percent are women and 36 percent are men. Eighty-five percent are African-American, 6 percent are white, and 2 percent are Hispanic.[8] As of 2007, NCCU had a student faculty ratio of 13:1.[9]



Research institutes

NCCU in conjunction with the African American Jazz Caucus sponsors a Jazz Research Institute which conducts an annual Summer Jazz Festival and offers a program in Jazz Studies.[13]

Additional programs

Student activities

View of the NCCU campus seen from the Hoey Administration Building

Student organizations

North Carolina Central University has 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.[14][15] The Campus Echo contains articles covering local events, arts and entertainment, and sports among other topics.

Music and Jazz Studies

North Carolina Central University's Jazz Studies program is involved with the community, providing workshops and concerts often at no charge. Headed by Dr. Ira Wiggins, NCCU's music department offers the only graduate level jazz studies degree available in North Carolina. Artists in residence of the program include Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo, who provide one on one lessons as well as group workshops for everyone in the music department.

Department of History

NCCU's history department has had some success in preparing its students for doctoral study, with over 75 graduates of the history department having earned Ph.D.s in history.


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.

NCCU's O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium home to the MEAC Division I FCS Eagles
A view of the NCCU track, soccer field along with Richmond Residence Hall and the LeRoy T. Walker Physical Education Complex (far right)


Marching band

The North Carolina Central University Marching Band known as the Marching Sound Machine was one of two bands selected from North Carolina to participate in the 2011 Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA.

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Arenda L. Wright Allen 1985 judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Sunshine Anderson singer
Louis Austin newspaper publisher
Dorothy F. Bailey 1962 civic leader, Maryland Women's Hall of Fame inductee [16]
Frank Ballance 1963 former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (North Carolina 1st district)
Ernie Barnes 1960 artist and former professional football player
Larry Black Olympic track & field gold and silver medalist
Dan Blue multiple African-American "firsts": North Carolina Speaker of the House; president of National Conference of State Legislatures
Herman Boone 1958 former high school football coach, profiled in the motion picture Remember the Titans
Julia Boseman 1992 State Senator (North Carolina)
Jim Brewington former professional football player
Wanda G. Bryant 1982 North Carolina Court of Appeals jurist
G. K. Butterfield 1974 Congressman and former Associate Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court
Phonte Coleman rapper
Kim Coles comedian and actress
Julius L. Chambers 1958 lawyer, 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 1968 former professional basketball player, 1-time ABA all-star [17]
Ivan Dixon 1954 actor, Hogan's Heroes
Patrick Douthit ("9th Wonder") attended Grammy award-winning hip-hop producer, college lecturer and former teaching fellow at Harvard University
Mike Easley 1976 former Governor of North Carolina
Rick Elmore 1982 North Carolina Court of Appeals jurist
Kevin Foy Mayor, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Willie E. Gary 1974 attorney, motivational speaker and cable television executive
Bill Hayes 1965 former 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 [18]
Maynard Jackson 1964 first black mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. Graduate of NC Central University School of Law
Sam Jones NBA Hall of Famer
Vernon Jones politician 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
Robert Massey 1989 former NFL defensive back and current head football coach at Shaw University
Henry "Mickey" Michaux member of the North Carolina House of Representatives (31st district)
LeVelle Moton 1996 former NC Central basketball player and current head coach of the men's basketball team
Greg Peterson 2007 former professional football player
Xavier Proctor 2013 Football player
Charles Romes 1977 former professional football player
Ben Ruffin 1964 civil rights activist, educator, and businessman
Julius Sang former Kenyan track athlete
Richard Sligh 1966 Professional Football Player-Oakland Raiders (California) and Cincinnati "Bengals" (Ohio); "Tallest Pro Football Player"
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 attended singer
David Young former professional basketball player
Ernie Warlick former AFL and CFL professional football player


  1. 1 2 National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. James Edward Shepard to Woodrow Wilson, October 2, 1909, in Arthur S. Link, ed., The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Volume 19, pp. 399-400.
  3. 1 2 Channing, Steven (2009-04-01). "John Hope Franklin, 1915-2009". Independent Weekly.
  4. "Board of Trustees". Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  5. Platt, Wes (February 8, 2013). "The stars kind of collided". Durham Herald-Sun. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  6. Claudia Roberts Brown (June 1984). "North Carolina Central University" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2014-10-01.
  7. "About the Board". NCCU. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  8. "North Carolina Central University College Portrait". Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  9. "Eagle Facts in Brief: 2007- 2008". Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  10. "School of Library and Information Sciences". Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  11. "Welcome". Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  12. "College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  13. "NAJRI: NCCU AAJC Research Institute". NCCU. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  14. Echo Staff. "About the Campus Echo". Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  15. Digital NC. "North Carolina Central University Newspapers". Digital NC. Retrieved 1 August 2012. External link in |work= (help)
  16. "Dorothy F. Bailey". Maryland Women's Hall of Fame. Maryland State Archives. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  17. "Lee Davis Statistics". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  18. "Former Tennessee State basketball coach Harold Hunter dies". The City Paper. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-03-30.

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