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Tue, 03.03.1891

Elizabeth City State University founded

*Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) was founded on this date in 1891. ECSU is one of over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in America.

This took place when House Bill 383 was enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly, establishing a Normal School for the specific purpose of "teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina." When it first began operation on January 4, 1892, ECSU had 23 students, two faculty members, rented quarters, and a budget of $900.

Hugh Cale, a Black Representative from Pasquotank County, sponsored the Bill. Between 1891 and 1928, a set of courses and capital were expanded, enrollment increased from 23 to 355 and the faculty from 2 to 15. Under John Henry Bias, their second president in 1937, the institution was elevated from a two-year normal to a four-year teachers college. On March 30, 1939, the institution’s name was officially changed to Elizabeth City State Teachers College and was expanded to include "the training of elementary school principals for rural and city schools."

The first Bachelor of Science degrees (in Elementary Education) were awarded in May 1939. Vocational-technical curriculums came in 1957, and between 1959 and 1963, 12 additional academic majors were added. Currently, ECSU offers 34 baccalaureate degree programs. The college was granted full membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December 1961. In 1969, the college became Elizabeth City State University. Two years later the General Assembly redefined The University of North Carolina system with all sixteen public senior institutions, including ECSU, becoming constituents of The University of North Carolina.

Today, the faculty and student body is increasingly multicultural. The library contains over 175,000 books and over 486,884 microforms. There are 862 acres of land, of which 200 represent the campus proper. As of May 2000, 13,671 students have graduated from ECSU, as ECSU’s history continues to evolve.

The university has also helped in securing the passage of the statewide Higher Education Bond Referendum, yielding $46.3 million for ECSU in capital improvements.

Black American Colleges and Universities:
Profiles of Two-Year, Four-Year, & Professional Schools
by Levirn Hill, Pub., Gale Group, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-864984-2


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