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Campus Views, 1892-1995

Foust Building and Brick Dormitory, 1892

Campus from Spring Garden Street, 1894

Panoramic View of College Avenue, 1905

Campus view with (L to R) Students' Building, Carnegie Library (now Forney) and Spencer, 1907

College Avenue at Spring Garden Street, 1910s

Aerial view of campus looking west, 1924

Aerial view of campus looking north, 1926

College Avenue at Spring Garden Street, 1930

Aerial view of campus looking north, 1947

Aerial view of campus looking west, 1971

Aerial view of campus looking west, 1986

Aerial view of campus looking north, 1995

Founded by legislative enactment on February 18, 1891, as the State Normal and Industrial School, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) was the first public institution of higher learning for women in the state of North Carolina and only the third publicly-funded women’s college in the United States (behind Mississippi and Georgia). The school opened on October 5, 1892, as the State Normal and Industrial School. The student body consisted of 198 women from across the state.

The School was established as a direct result of a crusade by Dr. Charles Duncan McIver, who served as the school’s founder and first president. McIver was also an important national and regional figure in the fight for women’s education. He has been credited with advancing North Carolina’s great “educational awakening,” and is known as one of the Progressive Era’s most important advocates of educational reform. Determined to preach the benefits of public education, McIver and colleague Edwin Alderman traveled throughout the state offering teacher training sessions, or Teacher’s Institutes. By 1891, McIver had gained the reputation as a “one-man lobby” for women’s education and was the natural choice to head the School.

McIver’s influence on education spread throughout North Carolina and the South. As a leader in the Southern Education Board, an executive branch of the Conference for Education in the South, McIver worked towards assisting state organizations in campaigning for more liberal education investments through local taxation, promoting better schools, more qualified teachers, longer school terms, and compulsory attendance laws. In 1902, he spearheaded a conference of state educational leaders during which the “Declaration against Illiteracy” was drafted. Considered one of the most important documents in the history of Southern education, it lashed out against inadequate teachers’ pay, overcrowded classrooms, derelict schoolhouses, and general educational indifference. In the same year, he organized the Woman’s Association for the Betterment for Public Schoolhouses. This group, comprised of approximately two hundred women from the State Normal and Industrial School, was responsible for increasing awareness of North Carolina’s poor educational standing and raising funds to construct or refurbish over 1100 school houses across the state. Their efforts served as model for other states, improving educational standards throughout the South and giving women an opportunity to be directly involved with public reform.

Unfortunately, McIver passed away in 1906 at the age of 45. The University, however, continued to grow and promote his mission of educating the women of North Carolina. In 1919, the school’s name was changed to the North Carolina College for Women. In 1932, it became the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina. Throughout its existence, faculty and students embodied the school’s motto of “Service” by participating in the women’s suffrage movement, women’s military service during World War II, desegregation, and the civil rights movement.

In 1963, the institution began to admit men and was officially renamed The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Today, UNCG has over 18,000 students and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “research university with high research activity” and for “community engagement” in curriculum, outreach, and partnerships.