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. 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. 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. 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 ï¿½Aï¿½ 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 stateï¿½s 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. 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).
Sunshine Anderson singer Herman Boone 1958 former high school football coach, profiled in the motion picture Remember the Titans 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 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 Ivan Dixon 1954 actor, Hogan's Heroes 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 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 Charles Romes 1977 former professional football player Julius Sang former Kenyan track athlete Andrï¿½ 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 Arenda L. Wright Allen 1985 judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Yahzarah attended singer David Young former professional basketball player Ernie Warlick former AFL and CFL prefessional football player