UNCG: A Historical Perspective

Hannah Larson
Staff Writer

PC: Hannah Larson

Behind the walls of the campus, lives a very rich history that has shaped the university into what it is today. 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was founded back in 1891 by a man named Charles Duncan McIver. The following year, the school opened its doors. Initially, the institution was established as a women’s college and provided a business and domestic science foundation for the students. 

During the first year, there were only 223 students and a faculty of 15 individuals. One of the main goals of the institution was to provide an education for women. The hope was that women would be able to educate their own children which would then help raise the level of education in North Carolina.

The school underwent many name changes throughout the years. Originally, it was called “State Normal and Industrial School,” then 1932, the name had changed to “Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina,” until finally, they settled on the name “The University of North Carolina at Greensboro” in 1963, when the school became coeducational. However, many past female alumni have nicknamed the institution as “the W.C.”

As in all history, there would be mishaps that followed in the early 20th century. In 1904, the Brick Dormitory was completely lost to a fire. Fortunately, there weren’t any injuries. The next tragedy that struck was the death of McIver in 1906 with Julius I. Foust becoming the next president. 

Throughout the duration of the mid 1900s, several student groups emerged to combat political issues like voting rights. Many students protested for the need of equality. As that continued, the university also had initiatives to help the country during the First World War, where students helped by growing vegetables on campus. 

There were a few setbacks that occurred especially during the Great Depression. Expansion and renovation were at a standstill. Enrollment to the university went down by at least a third, faculty wages were cut and dormitories were closed. Despite those delays, the university raged forward into a new era. 

There are several events that have molded UNCG into the type of institution it is today. As mentioned in an article by the UNCG Library, A Timeline of UNCG, “There could be no doubt that the little Normal School which began in 1892 had come a long, long way.”

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