Happy 125th Birthday, UNCG!

The first graduating class of State Normal (1893) with Edwin Alderman and Charles Duncan McIver

Charles Duncan McIver and the faculty of State Normal, 1893

Campus from Spring Garden Street, 1894. Main Building (now Foust) is in the middle.

State Normal students at the nearby train stop, 1894

President McIver in his office in Main Building (now Foust), 1895

Construction of a dining hall addition to the Brick Dormitory, 1895

Faculty and students in the school's science laboratory, 1896

An ox-drawn cart passing campus, circa 1897

Students sitting on the steps in front of the Main Building (now Foust), late 1890s

Sadie Hanes (Class of 1898) in front of Brick Dormitory

Charles Duncan McIver with the Class of 1899 on the steps of Main Building (now Foust)

The Class of 1900 basketball team, known as the "Naughty Naughts"

Students with daisy chains in front of Main Building (now Foust), 1901

Ezekiel Robinson with the college horse and buggy

Students in Peabody Park during Walking Period, 1905

On October 5, 1892, the doors of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) opened its doors for an initial class of 198 women from across North Carolina. The institution was originally chartered by the State of North Carolina in February 1891, with a mission of training female teachers and instructing them in “drawing, telegraphy, type-writing, stenography, and such other industrial arts as may be suitable to their sex and conducive to their support and usefulness.” After a year spent planning the new school and constructing its facilities, classes began at the State Normal on October 5, 1892 (the date we now celebrate as Founders Day).Courses of study were divided into three departments: normal (teaching), business, and domestic science. The normal, listed as the leading department, included pedagogy classes as well as coursework in English, history, math, science, foreign language, art, music, and physical culture.

Founding the State Normal proved to be a milestone in education – and particularly women’s education – in North Carolina and throughout the United States. McIver and the early educators and students at the State Normal set the groundwork for UNCG as it stands today. One hundred twenty-five years after the first classes took place, the legacy remains.

Want to learn more about the founding and earliest years of UNCG? Here are some posts about the founding of the school from our Spartan Stories blog to get you started:

We also have stories about many of the individuals who were critical to the opening and operations of State Normal:

The Encyclopedia of UNCG History has additional information about many people, places, and events critical to the early development of UNCG. Additionally, the papers of founding president Charles Duncan McIver have been digitized and are available online. You can browse through over 125,000 pages of materials that document the earliest years of the university as well as McIver's work with the Southern Education Board. And as always, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram for more UNCG history.