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Dean W. Colvard papers

Identifier: MS0141

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials from the life and work of Dean W. Colvard, from his study and work in the field of agriculture to his administrative positions at North Carolina State, Mississippi State University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The files also document Colvard’s involvement with a variety of organizations including the Discovery Place museum and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Research notes, drafts, and completed publications of various works authored or co-authored by Colvard are present, including Colvard’s reflections on race relations at Mississippi State University in Mixed Emotions and his autobiography, Education Was My Ticket. Topics of interest include Colvard’s role in desegregating Mississippi State University and allowing its basketball team to play against integrated teams in the NCAA tournament, the development of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and University Research Park, and UNC Charlotte’s becoming the fourth campus in the University of North Carolina system. Also included are speeches Colvard gave throughout his working life, correspondence, subject files, plaques and certificates, photographs, cassette tapes, slides, and scrapbooks. This collection does not include official files from Colvard’s administrative positions or material related to Colvard’s childhood and contains only limited material concerning his family life. Inclusive dates: 1929-2008. Bulk dates: 1946-2007.

The collection is divided into thirteen series, six of which are further divided into subseries. The series are as follows: North Carolina State University (1946-2004), Mississippi State University (1960-2008), University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1967-2006), NCSSM – North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (1979-2002), Organizations, Board, and Committees (1929-2004), Biography and Writings (1962-2007), Speeches (1938-1983), Correspondence (1935-2007), Subject Files (1965-2006), Awards and Honors (1938-2004), Printed Publications (1955-1992), Audio Cassettes, Photographs, and Slides (1960s-2004), Oversize (1939-1999).


  • Creation: 1930 - 2007


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note

Dean Wallace Colvard, the first chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was a lifelong contributor to higher education. Born July 10, 1913, in Grassy Creek, Ashe County, North Carolina, Colvard acquired an interest in agriculture that would influence his education and career. After attending Virginia Carolina High School, he earned a B.S. degree from Berea College in Kentucky (1935). Following graduation, he worked as an instructor, work-study farm manager, and director of student work at Brevard College in North Carolina (1935-1937) before going on to earn his M.A. in Animal Physiology at the University of Missouri (1938).

Colvard returned to North Carolina to become the Superintendent of the Mountain Research Farms, part of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Stations in Swannanoa, where he worked from 1938 to 1946. The following year, he began working for North Carolina State College (later University), first as Professor of Animal Science and the head of the Department of Animal Industry (1947-1953), then as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Science (1953-1960). During this time, Colvard earned his doctorate in Animal Husbandry/Livestock Economics from Purdue University in Indiana (1946-1950).

In 1960, Colvard accepted the position of president at Mississippi State University where he would serve until 1966. While there, he led the school to desegregate and allowed the basketball team to compete in the NCAA tournament, playing against integrated teams for the first time. Two decades later, Colvard wrote a memoir of this era, titled Mixed Emotions: As Racial Barriers Fell, a University President Remembers (1985).

Colvard returned once again to his home state in April 1966 to become the first chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He served as chancellor until December 1978, during which time he was instrumental in the creation of University Research Park, in achieving accreditation for the school, and in laying the groundwork for future growth.

After retiring and becoming Chancellor Emeritus of UNC Charlotte in 1979, Colvard continued contributing to higher education and various local organizations, including the Southern Growth Policies Board. He was a key player in the founding of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham and of the Charlotte-area museum Discovery Place. In addition, he co-authored Knowledge Is Power: A History of the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University, 1877-1984 (1987) and University Research Park: The First Twenty Years (1988). His autobiography, Education Was My Ticket, was published in 1995, with a second volume, Dean W. Colvard: Quiet Leader, being written by Marion Ellis (2004).

Dean W. Colvard continued to reside in Charlotte with his wife Martha Lampkin Colvard until his death on June 28, 2007.


Echo Foundation. 2014. “Dr. Dean Colvard: A Profile.” Accessed July 8, 2015.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 2015. “Dean W. Colvard.” UNC Charlotte: Office of the Chancellor Emeritus. Accessed July 8, 2015.


46.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Personal papers of Dean Wallace Colvard (1913-2007), the first chancellor of UNC Charlotte (1966-1978). Includes files regarding his employment at North Carolina’s Brevard College; Swannanoa, North Carolina’s Mountain Research Farms; and at North Carolina State, Mississippi State University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as well as his involvement with various organizations and committees such as the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and his numerous publications, including his autobiography, his reflection on racial relations during his time as president of Mississippi State University, and his history of University Research Park.


The collection is arranged into the following series and subseries:

I. North Carolina State University II. Mississippi State University III. University of North Carolina at Charlotte IV. NCSSM - North Carolina School of Science and Math V. Organizations, Boards and Committees i. Alma Maters a. Virginia Carolina High School b. Berea College c. University of Missouri d. Purdue ii. Brevard College iii. Discovery Place iv. Charlotte Rotary Club v. Swannanoa vi. Other VI. Biography and Writings i. Biographical and Autobiographical Works a. Education Was My Ticket b. Quiet Leader c. Other ii. Other Writings a. Mixed Emotions b. Knowledge is Power c. University Research Park: The First Twenty Years d. Assorted Other Works VII. Speeches i. Brevard and Swannanoa ii. Animal Industry iii. North Carolina State University iv. Mississippi State University v. University of North Carolina at Charlotte vi. Assorted VIII. Correspondence i. Education and Career ii. Assorted and Personal IX. Subject Files X. Awards and Honors XI. Printed Publications XII. Audio Tapes XIII. Photographs and Slides XIV. Oversize

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Dean W. Colvard, 1985-1990, 2000. Gift of Philip DuBois, 1992. Transfer from UNC Charlotte University Archives, 1986.

Related Materials

- Dean Wallace Colvard papers, MSS 00205, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

- Dean W. Colvard Papers (A79-39), University Archives, Mississippi State University Libraries.

Processing Information

Processed by Olivia Eanes and Andrew Pack, 2015.

Dean W. Colvard Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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