University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of North Carolina at Charlotte
University of North Carolina
at Charlotte
UNC Charlotte Seal.gif
Established September 23, 1946[1]
Type Public
Endowment US$105.9 million[2]
Chancellor Dr. Philip L. Dubois
Provost Dr. Joan Lorden
Vice-Chancellor Dr. Arthur Jackson
Dean Dr. Michelle Howard
Students 25,063[3]
Undergraduates 19,755
Postgraduates 5,308
Doctoral students 828
Location Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Campus Suburban
1000 acres (4 km²)
Former names Charlotte Center of the University of North Carolina (1946–1949)
Charlotte College (1949–1965)[1]
Colors Green and white
Athletics NCAA Division I
16 varsity sports
Nickname 49ers
Mascot Norm the Niner
Affiliations Atlantic 10, ORAU, UNC
UNC Charlotte logo.jpg

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), also known as UNC Charlotte or simply Charlotte, is a public research university located in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. UNC Charlotte offers 19 doctoral, 62 master's, and 90 bachelor's degree programs through 9 colleges: the College of Arts + Architecture, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Belk College of Business, the College of Computing and Informatics, the College of Education, the William States Lee College of Engineering, the College of Health and Human Services, the Honors College, and the University College.[4]

UNC Charlotte has four campuses: Charlotte Research Institute Campus, Uptown Charlotte Campus, South Charlotte Campus (Ballantyne), and the main campus, located in University City. The main campus sits on 1,000 wooded acres with approximately 75 buildings about 10 miles (16 km) from Downtown Charlotte.[5]

The university is the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region, which is the second largest banking center in the United States.[6] The university is recognized as one of the most innovative in the country, producing more start-up small businesses than any other college or university in the nation.[5]



The city of Charlotte had sought a public university since 1871 but was never able to sustain one. For years, the nearest state-supported university was 90 miles (140 km) away. The city submitted a bid in the late 1880s for what would become North Carolina State University, but lost to the city of Raleigh after a local farmer offered to donate land for the campus.[7] In 1946, the city sought a state-run medical school; instead, the state expanded the existing two-year school at UNC-Chapel Hill.[7]

On September 23, 1946, the State of North Carolina opened the Charlotte Center of the University of North Carolina with an enrollment of 278 students.[8] It was originally founded to serve the education needs of returning World War II veterans. Like many of the United States' "post–World War II" universities, it owes its inception to the G.I. Bill and its effects on public education. In 1949, when the state closed the centers, the Charlotte Center was taken over by the city school district and became Charlotte College, a two-year institution. It was first funded by student tuition payments, then by local property taxes. Classes were held at Central High School near uptown Charlotte, but by 1957, enrollment increased to 492, and the school's leaders began searching for a permanent site for the campus. They decided on a 250 acre (1 km²) tract of land northeast of the city near the Cabarrus County border.[9] The college became state-supported in 1958 upon joining the newly formed North Carolina Community College System and moved to its current location in 1961.

In 1963, Charlotte College became a four-year college. It adopted its current name July 1, 1965, upon becoming part of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, since 1972 called the University of North Carolina. In 1969, the university began offering programs leading to masters degrees. In 1992, it was authorized to offer programs leading to doctoral degrees.[10]


The Carillon and J. Murrey Atkins Library entrance on UNC Charlotte's main campus (left) and the Belk Tower (middle).
UNC Charlotte
This quad-style area was completed in 2007 with the completion of the College of Health and Human Services (left) and the College of Education (right). The clock tower of the Barnhardt Student Activity Center is in the background. Upon completion of the Student Union in 2009, this became one of the busiest areas on the entire campus.

Main Campus – University City

The University operates several campuses in Charlotte. The Main Campus is situated on just under 1,000 acres (4 km²) of rolling land between U.S. Route 29 and N.C. Highway 49, about 10 miles (16 km) from Uptown Charlotte in the University City neighborhood. The campus is self-contained, meaning that no major roads run through the campus. The campus boasts several man made lakes, and is heavily wooded. Near the center of campus are two gardens that attract over 300,000 visitors a year. Much of the architecture on the campus, particularly the oldest buildings, are precast concrete and utilitarian-looking because they were built with limited state funds in the 1960s and 1970s. Under the campus' third chancellor, James Woodward, the campus underwent major changes which continue today. The newest buildings, funded from state bonds, are being constructed in brick with neoclassical architecture. Concrete and asphalt sidewalks have largely been replaced by brick. The campus' road system is being upgraded to include landscaped medians and more trees.[11]

Charlotte Research Institute Campus

Attached to the main campus is a 100 acre (0.4 km²) campus, created in 2000, called the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI Campus) on a tract of land originally named the Millennial Campus. This research-oriented campus focuses on precision metrology and intelligent manufacturing; opto-electronics and optical communication; and software and information technology. This campus brings together faculty, students, and outside researchers to work together.

The CRI Campus will also house the new, on-campus football stadium with 15,300 initial seats that can be expanded to more than 40,000. Ground breaking for the new facility which includes a 48,000-square-foot (4,500 m2) field house is scheduled for April, 2011.[12]

Uptown Charlotte Campus

The third campus is in Uptown Charlotte. This campus focuses on business and evening courses, thus catering to center city workers. Formerly located in the Mint Museum of Craft+Design, the Uptown campus moved into the Center City Building at 320 East Ninth Street, at the beginning of the Fall 2011 semester. It is next to the proposed 9th Street Station of the forthcoming LYNX Blue Line Extension. The 12-story Center City Building was designed by world renowned architectural firm KieranTimberlake.[13] It houses the MBA, Master of Urban design program, as well as other graduate-level studies.[14]

South Charlotte Campus (Ballantyne)

The fourth campus is located in an area of South Charlotte called Ballantyne. At this campus, the University's College of Computing and Informatics (formerly the College of Information Technology[15]) offers a limited number of graduate courses. The University occupies space in an office building for this campus.


Of the 25,063 enrolled in the University in Fall 2010 (19,755 undergraduate), 47 percent are male and 53 percent female. Students come from all 50 states and over 80[16]

Student demographics

  • Fall 2010 Enrollment: 25,063
  • Undergraduate: 19,755
  • Graduate: 5,308
  • Freshmen: 4,650
  • Faculty: 1350
  • Student-faculty ratio: 15:1
  • Average Classroom Size: 33
  • Average Freshman SAT score: 1072
  • Campus size: 1,000 acres (4.00 km²)
  • African-American: 24.6%
  • Asian: 4.6%
  • White: 63.4%
  • Hispanic: 2.6%
  • Non-resident alien: 4.7%
  • Native American: 0.1%


University rankings (overall)
U.S. News & World Report[17] 191
Washington Monthly[18] 171

UNC Charlotte is classified as a doctoral/research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.[19] In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university's undergraduate program in the first tier of national universities in the United States (191st overall).[20] Washington Monthly ranked the university in its National University rankings based on the university's contribution to the public good.[21] Forbes also ranked the university among its annual rankings of overall higher education programs, and within its research universities category.[22]

The university offers 90 baccalaureate (bachelors, undergraduate) programs, 62 master's degree programs, and 19 doctoral (PhD) programs. Fifteen degree and certificate programs are offered via distance education, from 25% to 100% online. There are nine colleges that make up UNC Charlotte. The largest is the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, which focuses on traditional academic disciplines such as mathematics, history, social sciences, natural sciences, English, foreign languages, and literature. The College of Arts + Architecture offers art, theater, dance and music programs and houses the School of Architecture. The College of Education seeks to train primary and secondary school teachers in various subjects, and the College of Health and Human Services prepares students for careers in social work and athletic training, as well as nursing through the School of Nursing. The William States Lee College of Engineering teaches civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, systems engineering, construction management, and engineering technology at the undergraduate level. The College of Computing & Informatics deals with computer science, computer programming, and bioinformatics, and the Belk College of Business offers programs in finance and business management, including a Masters of Business Administration program.

In addition to those colleges, the University College serves as a general education college for students who haven't declared a major, the Honors College seeks to provide students with a liberal arts college experience, and the Graduate School works with the undergraduate colleges to provide programs leading to a master's or doctoral degree.


In 2009, UNC Charlotte received the largest single donation from a private source, when The Leon Levine Family Foundation donated $9.3 million to the university to form the Levine Scholars program.[23] The scholarship program, named for Leon and Sandra Levine, will provide a four-year scholarship to UNC Charlotte. The scholarship includes tuition, fees, books, room, laptop computer, and an $8,000 grant for community service initiatives.

In addition to the Levine Scholars, the university offers eleven other merit-based scholarship programs.[24]

Library system

UNC Charlotte's J. Murrey Atkins Library, named for the first chairman of the Board of Trustees of Charlotte College, has over a million books, diverse electronic and media resources, as well as an area for special collections. The recently renovated library includes a ten story tower that accentuates the library's place at the heart of UNC Charlotte's campus. In April 2007, Atkins received its one millionth volume, a copy of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land.


Charlotte 49ers logo

For athletics purposes, the school is known as simply Charlotte, a change made official by the athletic department on August 23, 2000. The athletic department sponsors sixteen varsity teams and competes in the NCAA's Division I. The university has been a full member of the Atlantic 10 Conference since 2005. On September 18, 2008, Chancellor Dubois recommended to add a Division I FCS football program to UNC Charlotte. On November 13, 2008, the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees voted 8–0 in favor of adding football to the University.

The nickname of the athletic team is the 49ers, indicative of the fact that UNC Charlotte (then Charlotte College) was saved from permanent closure in 1949. The mascot is "Norm the Niner," a gold miner. The school's colors are green and white; gold and black are both featured in the logo and frequently used in the uniforms of several sports.

Men's basketball, coached by Alan Major, is the most followed sport on campus. The team has reached the NCAA Tournament eleven times, including a trip to the Final Four in 1977. NBA players that once suited up for the 49ers include Boston Celtics great Cedric Maxwell, DeMarco Johnson, 2001 NBA Draft lottery pick Rodney White, and Eddie Basden.

Women's basketball has seen a surge in popularity on campus over the past several years, with the 2003 team, led by coach Katie Meier, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The team has made the WNIT in every season since then. Meier was succeeded in 2005 by Amanda Butler, who left after two seasons to take over the same position at the University of Florida. Karen Aston took the reins for the 2007–08 season; Cara Consuegra will serve as head coach for the 2011 season.[25]

Baseball has also experienced a resurgence at Charlotte, with the 2007 team posting a school-record 49 wins under coach Loren Hibbs and winning two games over N.C. State in the NCAA Tournament. Baseball alums with Major League experience include Chris Haney (Kansas City Royals), John Maine (New York Mets), Jason Stanford (Cleveland Indians). Also Fieldin Culbreth is a MLB umpire who worked the 2008 World Series. Other notable baseball alums include minor leaguers Adam Mills and Spencer Steedley. Adam was a finalist in 2007 for the Roger Clemens Award. He is currently in the Boston Red Sox system, while Steedley is in the Minnesota Twins system.

The men's soccer team reached the College Cup in 1996. 49ers soccer players now playing in the MLS include Floyd Franks and Jon Busch.

In September 2007, the Charlotte golf team became the top-rated golf team in the nation.[26]

The men's and women's track and field teams have also made national berth, throughout the school's history. Their most notable athlete is Shareese Woods. She is the most decorated athlete in school history, running professionally for ADIDAS.

UNC Charlotte will add a Division I FCS football team in 2013 and three new women's sports for Title IX compliance in 2016, 2019 and 2022 respectively.

The 49ers athletic performance overall has averaged 149th over the past five years, as show in NCADA Director's Cup Standings 2006–2010.

2010 Charlotte: 186th

2009 Charlotte: 225th

2008 Charlotte: 146th

2007 Charlotte: 140th

2006 Charlotte: 95th

Student organizations

A large number of student organizations are associated with the university. Ranging from Academic, Graduate, Honor Societies, Interest, International, Multicultural, Political, Religious, Service and Sports. UNC Charlotte also boasts a diverse Greek Life, with over 10 sororities and 14 fraternities serving the campus community.

University name

The official name of the university is "The University of North Carolina at Charlotte." "UNC Charlotte" (no hyphen) is an acceptable nickname for the university, but the athletic department has used "Charlotte" exclusively for its sports teams since 2000.[27]

University nickname

The nickname, the 49ers, was chosen in recognition of the importance of the year 1949 in the history of the university. UNC Charlotte would have closed in 1949 had Bonnie Cone and her supporters not convinced the N.C. Legislature that Charlotte needed a permanent college. Charlotte College was established that year. It is fortuitous that the campus is also located on N.C. Highway 49 and that Charlotte has a rich gold mining history (the term "49ers" also symbolizing gold mining). A bronze statue of the 49ers Gold Miner sits in front of the Reese Administration building on campus. The statue recalls the region's history as a gold mining center and symbolizes the pioneering spirit and determination that has led to UNC Charlotte's dramatic growth..[28]

UNC Charlotte's logo has become one of the Charlotte region's most distinctive insignia. It symbolizes the university's link to the UNC system, to the Charlotte metropolitan region, and to the discipline of learning. The logo is suggestive of a crown, reminiscent of Britain's Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III, for whom the city of Charlotte is named. The crown also can be interpreted as a lamp of learning, a burning bush, an open book, the flowering of a plant or an individual, or a graduate in cap and gown. The letters "UNC" refer to The University of North Carolina, which was opened in 1795. The word "Charlotte" not only refers to the city but also to the surrounding 11-county metropolitan region: the university's primary service area and the area from which it draws more than 12,500 of its students..[29]

Alma mater

UNC Charlotte's Alma Mater have deep roots in the institution's history. It was part of an "Academic Festival March" composed for UNC Charlotte by James Helme Sutcliffe, a Charlotte composer and music critic who lived in Germany at the time. Dr. Loy Witherspoon, a Professor of Religious Studies, commissioned the March in 1965 when he learned that Charlotte College would become a campus in The University of North Carolina system. The March was first performed in 1967 at the installation of Dean W. Colvard as UNC Charlotte's first chancellor. Afterwards, it was performed as a recessional at every Commencement during Dean W. Colvard's time as chancellor. When UNC Charlotte founder Bonnie Cone heard the March, she said, "I can hear an alma mater in it," referring to a hymn-like refrain. Dr. Robert Rieke, a professor of history, also heard an alma mater in it.[30]

On a 1990 trip to Germany, Rieke visited Sutcliffe, picked up a recording of the March, and began writing words to fit the final refrain. On Christmas Eve 1991, he sent Bonnie Cone the words and music as a Christmas present to her and to the university, from which he had retired a year earlier.

Chancellor James. H. Woodward approved the composition as the university's Alma Mater in April 1992. It was sung for the first time at the following May Commencement and has been performed at every Commencement since.[31]

Leaders of the university

Administration timeline

Chancellors of UNC Charlotte Years as Chancellor
1 Bonnie Ethel Cone (founder; director, 1946–1949; president, 1949–1965; acting chancellor, 1965–1966)
2 Dean W. Colvard (1966–1978)
3 E.K. Fretwell (1979–1989)
4 James H. Woodward (1989–2005)
5 Phil Dubois (2005–current)

Bonnie Ethel Cone, founder

Bonnie Cone's final resting place on the campus of UNC Charlotte, with Cato Hall and Fretwell Hall in the background.

Bonnie Ethel Cone (1907–2003), or Miss Bonnie as she was known to students, was chosen to lead the Charlotte Center in 1946, and she was instrumental in convincing the state to keep the school open in 1949. She was the leader who chose the current site of the school and helped plan the original campus master plan. Until 1965, she served as president of Charlotte College. She stated that March 2, 1965 was the "happiest day of her life"; it was the day the North Carolina legislature voted to bring Charlotte College into the UNC system.

She served as an acting Chancellor of the university until 1966, when Dean Colvard was selected as permanent chancellor. Even though she had led the college since 1946, the State wanted a leader with experience running a four-year, public university. Cone and the university were profiled in the July 16, 1965 issue of Time magazine. In the article, she stated, "we are not here to elevate ourselves but the institution," when asked about the chancellor position. She served in various official positions until her retirement in 1973, at which time the main campus's student union was renamed the Cone University Center.

Cone continued to work on behalf of the school in unofficial capacities until her death in March 2003. She is interred in the Van Landingham Gardens on the east side of the main campus, and a non-denominational meditation center is planned near the site. She is posthumously known as the founder of the school, a title she rejected during her lifetime because she felt many people had a hand in creating and building the university. During her lifetime, she received 10 honorary degrees and was inducted posthumously into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in recognition to her contributions to North Carolina history. In 2004, the stretch of U.S. Highway 29 near the main campus was officially renamed the "Dr. Bonnie Cone Memorial Highway."


Dean W. Colvard

Dean W. Colvard (1913–2007) was appointed the first chancellor of the young university in 1966. A North Carolina native, Colvard had served as president of Mississippi State University (MSU). At MSU he was the first president to defy university policy of not playing against integrated teams when he ordered the men's basketball team to play Loyola University Chicago in 1963. At UNC Charlotte, Colvard took on the challenge of converting the school from a junior college to a 4-year member of the UNC system. He oversaw accreditation of the university, development of University Research Park (now one of the top 5 largest research parks in the country), constructed the first residence halls, created the first graduate programs, and grew the enrollment from about 1,700 to just over 8,000 students. He retired as chancellor in 1978, served as Chancellor Emeritus until his death. Colvard also received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The Colvard building, completed on the main campus in 1979, is named in his honor and houses the Department of Psychology.

E.K. Fretwell

E.K. Fretwell, the second chancellor of the university, was named in 1979. Fretwell came to the university from University at Buffalo, where he was president. Under Fretwell, campus enrollment surged from 8,000 students to over 12,000. He oversaw the creation of the Graduate School, created more graduate degrees, integrated the library's card catalog into the Internet in 1983, created the ground work for a major business incubator, helped to develop the university's surrounding neighborhood, and increased academic grants to over $6.1 million dollars. Fretwell retired as chancellor in 1989. He served as interim president of the University of Massachusetts from 1991–1992, and in 1998, he served as the interim president of the University of North Florida. In 1996 UNC Charlotte opened the Fretwell building, dedicated in honor of him and his wife Dorrie. The building headquarters the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He and his wife live in Charlotte.

James H. Woodward

James H. Woodward succeeded Fretwell in 1989. Woodward came to UNC Charlotte from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he served as dean of engineering and senior vice president of academic affairs. Under Woodward, enrollment grew to over 19,000 students. Like his predecessors, he continued the growth of the Graduate School, and added various new doctoral programs. He also oversaw the largest fundraising campaign in the school's history and its largest building boom; as of the summer of 2005, no less than six buildings were actively under construction on the main campus. Woodward also oversaw creation of the CRI Campus. Woodward announced his retirement in 2004, and left the office of chancellor on June 30, 2005. Woodward Hall, the main campus's newest science and technology building, was dedicated in his honor on November 16, 2005. Woodward is currently serving as Chancellor Emeritus and teaches in the university's engineering department.

Phillip Dubois

Phillip Dubois is the fourth and current chancellor of the University. Dr. Dubois assumed his current duties as chancellor on July 15, 2005. He returns to Charlotte after serving as the president of the University of Wyoming from 1997 through 2005. Previously, Dubois served as the Provost and Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science (now the Department of Political Science and Public Administration) at UNC Charlotte from 1991 until 1997.

Dubois is the first chancellor, along with his wife and children, to occupy the new Chancellor's Residence (known as the Bissell House) on the UNC Charlotte campus that was completed in the winter of 2005. Dr. Dubois is expected to oversee the process of the University becoming the fourth research-extensive university in the state.

Alumni and faculty

Every graduate of UNC Charlotte automatically becomes a member of the Alumni Association, an organization of more than 80,000 former students whose primary purpose is to advance the interests of the university. There are no membership fees, annual dues or initiation rites, but there is an expectation that members will be active participants in the organization. In addition to promoting the interests of UNC Charlotte, the Alumni Association acts as a network of UNC Charlotte graduates who assist each other in their personal, professional and social development, and recognize and cheer the accomplishments of their fellow members. The association offers members a number of benefits and services. Some are in the form of information and communications, including a UNC Charlotte magazine and a quarterly electronic newsletter which keeps alumni up to date on news from the association and the university. The only requirement for membership is that alumni maintain contact with the Office of Alumni Affairs, provide an up-to-date address for alumni files, and keep the association informed about their personal progress and career achievements.

See also


  1. ^ a b University History
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 8, 2010. 
  3. ^ Headcount Enrollment for UNC-Charlotte: Fall 2007 through Fall 2010
  4. ^ Academics – UNC Charlotte Admissions
  5. ^ a b About UNC Charlotte – UNC Charlotte Admissions
  6. ^ UNC Charlotte In the News[dead link]
  7. ^ a b Sanford, Ken. "Charlotte and UNC Charlotte: Growing Up Together". UNC Charlotte Press, 1996, p. 5.
  8. ^ Sanford, Ken. "Charlotte and UNC Charlotte: Growing Up Together". UNC Charlotte Press, 1996, p. 9.
  9. ^ Sanford, Ken. "Charlotte and UNC Charlotte: Growing Up Together". UNC Charlotte Press, 1996, pp. 44–46.
  10. ^ UNC Charlotte :: Public Relations :: University History
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ UNC Charlotte reveals uptown building design
  14. ^
  15. ^ UNC Charlotte :: Public Relations :: News Release Detail
  16. ^ countries.
  17. ^ "National Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  18. ^ "The Washington Monthly National University Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  19. ^ Carnegie Classifications – UNC Charlotte
  20. ^ U.S. News & World Report – UNC Charlotte
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ [2]
  23. ^[dead link]
  24. ^ Merit-based Scholarships page
  25. ^ "Charlotte 49ers". 
  26. ^ UNC Charlotte :: Public Relations :: News Release Detail
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^

External links

Coordinates: 35°18′12.80″N 80°43′56.57″W / 35.303556°N 80.7323806°W / 35.303556; -80.7323806

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