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*This date in1910 celebrates the first classes commencing at North Carolina Central University (NCCU).
Originally named The National Religious Training School and Chautauqua, it was chartered in 1909. Dr. James E. Shepard was the founder, served as the President. The purpose of North Carolina Central University has been the development in young men and women of the character and sound academic training requisite for real service to the nation. The institution's early years were characterized by a wealth of enthusiasm and high endeavor, but not of money. Private donations and student fees constituted the total financial support of the school and the heavy burden of collecting funds rested on the President. A consequence was the sale and reorganization of the school in 1915 as the National Training School. During this period of its history, Mrs. Russell Sage of New York was a generous benefactor of the school.
In 1923, the General Assembly of North Carolina appropriated funds for the purchase and maintenance of the school, which thus became a publicly supported institution as Durham State Normal School. Two years later, the General Assembly redefined the mission of the school, naming it the North Carolina College for Negroes and dedicating it to the offering of liberal arts education and the preparation of teachers and principals of secondary schools. North Carolina College for Negroes (NCC) thus became the nation's first state-supported liberal arts college for African American students. At its 1927 session, the General Assembly began a program of expansion of the college plant. The 1930's afforded federal grants and State appropriations for further physical expansion and improvement ofr educational facilities, with building continuing until the beginnings of World War II. The Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredited North Carolina College in 1937 as an "A" class institution. The institution was admitted to membership in the association in 1957.
The General Assembly of 1939 authorized the establishment of graduate study programs in liberal arts and the professions. Graduate courses in the Arts and Sciences were offered that year, while the School of Law began operation in 1940, and the School of library science was established in 1941. In 1947, the General Assembly changed the name of the institution to North Carolina College at Durham. In October 1947, Dr. Shepard, the founder died. Following his death, the college was administered by an interim committee consisting of Dr. Albert E. Manley, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Miss Ruth G. Rush, Dean of Women; and Dr. Albert L. Turner, Dean of the School of Law.
The interim committee served until the election as President, on January 20, 1948, of Dr. Alfonso Elder, who headed the Graduate Department of Education and had previously been Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Elder, whose tenure also saw substantial physical expansion of the college, retired as President on September 1, 1963, and was succeeded by Dr. Samuel P. Massie, then Associate Program Director for Undergraduate Science Education of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Massie was also Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmaceautical Chemistry at Howard University at the time of his election as President of North Carolina College.
North Carolina Central University