Since the release of the film “National Lampoon’s Animal House”in 1978, too many people have imagined that every institute of higher learning in America was being run like the fictitious Faber College and had characters like John Belushi’s Bluto and the rest of his Delta house fraternity brothers running amok and wrecking havoc upon the town. The story here in Charlotte is quite a different one I’m happy to say.
Charlotte had been seeking a public university since 1871 but wasn’t quite able to obtain one. And although the nearest state-supported university was 90 miles away, Charlotte lost a bid to Raleigh in the 1880’s for what is now North Carolina State University. (After a local farmer offered to donate land for the campus.) In 1946 the city sought a state-run medical school but instead the stated just expanded the existing two-year school at UNC–Chapel Hill.
In The Beginning
On September 23, 1946 the state opened up the Charlotte Center of the University of North Carolina with 278 students enrolled. Originally founded to serve the education needs of returning World War I veterans, it owes its’ inception to the G.I. Bill and the effect it had on public education. When the state closed its’ centers in 1949, the Charlotte Center was taken over by the city school district and became the two-year institution Charlotte College. Classes were held at Central High School near uptown Charlotte. The school’s leaders began searching for a permanent home of their own for the campus after enrollment increased to 492 in 1957. A 250-acre tract of land northeast of the city near the Cabarrus County boarder was chosen. The college became state-supported in 1958 upon joining the newly formed North Carolina College System. It moved to its’ current location in 1961.
Then And Now
Charlotte College became a four-year college in 1963 and adopted its current name upon becoming part of the Consolidated University of North Carolina on July 1, 1965. Called the University of North Carolina since 1972, it began offering programs that lead to masters degrees in 1969 and has offered doctoral programs since 1992. UNC-Charlotte consists of three campuses: The main campus called University City and located in the University City neighborhood, the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) campus, and the Center City campus which is located in uptown Charlotte.