Fact Friday 395 - The Original Plan for UNC Charlotte... Belk University?

Fact Friday 395 - The Original Plan for UNC Charlotte... Belk University?

Happy Friday!

This week's Fact Friday comes from UNC Charlotte's J. Murray Atkins Library website: 

The first two buildings on what is now UNC Charlotte's main campus. July 1961. Bill Barley. 

Charlotte College was founded in 1946 as one of twelve college centers of the University of North Carolina created as a response to the educational needs of returning veterans. Shortly after receiving legislative approval for Charlotte College, an advisory committee was organized to promote the college and to procure additional funding. A movement began to make the college a four-year, state-supported school, and among the plans advanced to achievethis goal—all of which were unsuccessful—was one proposed by Woodford A. "Woodie" Kennedy to establish the Belk University to be financed by a combination of state appropriations, local contributions, and support from the William Henry Belk family. Davidson and Queens Colleges would have become the liberal arts division of the university, and a new agricultural and technical college would have been created.

While this plan never came to fruition, Charlotte College did partner with public junior colleges in Asheville and Wilmington to win the creation of a state-financed system of community colleges. This campaign culminated in the Community College Act approved by the legislature in 1957. In accordance with this act, the Charlotte school board severed its administrative and financial ties to Charlotte College, and in 1958 Charlotte College became a state-supported, two-year college and was brought under the administration of the North Carolina Community College System. Funding for the system came from state appropriations, a special county property tax, and state and local bond issues. At the same time, a separate board of trustees, chaired by J. Murrey Atkins, was appointed for the Charlotte Community College System, which consisted of Charlotte College and its African-American counterpart, Carver College.

In February 1959, the Board purchased 270 acres on Highway 49 for the site of Charlotte College, which had shared facilities with Central High School in downtown Charlotte since 1946. In September 1961 the first two buildings—for liberal arts and science/engineering courses (later named the Macy and Kennedy buildings)—were occupied. The library and college union buildings were completed in 1962, and in 1963 the state of North Carolina purchased an additional 127 acres for Charlotte College. The following year, in the spring of 1964, a gift of about 500 acres by the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners expanded the site from 270 to 897 acres.

Bonnie E. Cone, who had been appointed director of the Charlotte College Center in 1947 and had been named director of Charlotte College, the Center’s successor, in 1949, became president of the College in 1961. In September of that year, the Governor's Commission on Education Beyond the High School, on which Bonnie Cone served, was appointed to determine whether the need for higher education facilities in populous areas warranted additional campuses of the university system. This commission’s work led to the suggestion that Charlotte College be incorporated as the fourth campus of the University of North Carolina.

In July 1963 the school became a four-year state-supported college subject to the terms of the State Colleges Act (General Statutes 116). J. Murrey Atkins was appointed chairman of the new board of trustees, but he died before taking office, leading to the appointment of Addison Hardcastle Reese as chairman.

At the time it enacted the State Colleges Act, the General Assembly also adopted procedures for the expansion of the Consolidated University. The executive committee of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina designated Mecklenburg County as the first to be studied under the expansion procedures. University of North Carolina President William Friday appointed the Advisory Council on Educational Policy, which visited Charlotte College on February 12, 1964, to advise on the designation of Charlotte College as the fourth campus of the university system. The council recommended that Charlotte College become the fourth campus of the university, and the General Assembly approved this recommendation on March 3, 1965.

Charlotte College awarded its first and only baccalaureate degrees on June 6, 1965, and on July 1 of that year Charlotte College officially became the fourth campus of the Consolidated University system by act of the 1965 General Assembly [henceforth, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte].

Until next week!




"Charlotte College Photographs," https://findingaids.charlotte.edu/repositories/6/resources/785

Photo source: https://goldmine.charlotte.edu/index/render/object/pid/ua:139/parentPID/ua:uapcc5

Email chris@704shop.com if you have interesting Charlotte facts you’d like to share or just to provide feedback!

“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” - James Baldwin

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