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University of North Carolina System records

Identifier: UA0434

Scope and Contents

The University of North Carolina System Records consists of files pertaining to the System Board of Governors, such as long-range planning reports, minutes, and newsletters; to the System President, specifically President’s Reports; and to the general administration of the various System campuses including faculty handbooks and mission statements. Also included is the inaugural address of System President Molly Corbett Broad (1998). Some of the files originated in the UNC Charlotte Chancellor’s or Provost’s offices. All have been retained because of their reference value to persons researching the history and development of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


  • Creation: 1958 - 1999


Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.


Copyright held by UNC Charlotte. 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.

Administrative History

On March 27, 1931, the General Assembly of North Carolina enacted legislation consolidating the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the North Carolina College for Women in Greensboro, and the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering in Raleigh into the Consolidated University of North Carolina.

The General Assembly also appointed a new Board of Trustees to serve as the governing body of the new system beginning July 1, 1932. The Consolidated Board was to consist of one hundred members, at least ten of whom were to be women, and members of the Board were to serve eight-year terms, with vacancies to be filled by the General Assembly. The pre-Consolidation Boards of Trustees of the individual institutions were discontinued. Though many of the members of the Consolidated Board had previously been trustees of one of the constituent schools, their purpose was now to promote the interests of the University system.

Frank Porter Graham was chosen by the Board of Trustees as the first President of the Consolidated University. Under his leadership, the University moved into a strong position of regional, national, and international distinction as an institution respected for its vitality, its academic quality, and its freedom.

Dr. Graham resigned in 1949 and was succeeded by Mr. Gordon Gray. The rapid expansion of the University following World War II increased the complexity of the University’s administration and led President Gray to study and reorganize its administrative structure. He also introduced admissions testing programs and educational television into the University. President Gray’s tenure brought the University through a period of adjustment, and under his direction its institutions experienced significant growth and development. In June 1955, Mr. Gray was granted a leave of absence to accept an appointment in the Federal Government as Assistant Secretary of Defense.

On November 14, 1955, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of Gordon Gray. The committee then appointed Dr. James Harris Purks, Jr., the Provost of the University, as Acting President to serve until a successor to Mr. Gray could be chosen. On January 4, 1956, Dr. Purks resigned the position to assume directorship of the Board of Higher Education. William Clyde “Bill” Friday was named Acting President effective March 15, 1956, and was elected to the presidency of the University on October 26 the same year.

Formally inaugurated May 8, 1957, William Friday remained President of the Consolidated University until June 1972. During this period, in addition to the administrative oversight of the System, Mr. Friday had to deal with a variety of crises. Some of the major ones included the Dixie Classic Basketball scandal (1961), Speaker Ban (1963), North Carolina State College name change (1963), admission of Charlotte, Asheville, and Wilmington colleges to the Consolidated system (1960s), and anti-war demonstrations and cafeteria workers strikes (late 1960s-early 1970s).

In 1971 the General Assembly passed legislation again providing for the restructuring of higher education in North Carolina. The Consolidated University became The University of North Carolina System on July 1, 1972, when the General Assembly expanded the system to include a total of sixteen campuses. The same day, William Friday became President of the new System. North Carolina General Statute 116 was revised in 1972 to reflect these changes to the UNC System and continues to be revised as necessary:

With this restructuring, the Consolidated University Board of Trustees was replaced by the University of North Carolina (System) Board of Governors, made up of thirty-two members elected by the North Carolina General Assembly. The newly elected Board of Governors held its first meeting in the Dalton Tower of the J. Murrey Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on July 7, 1972. Also with the restructuring, each constituent campus re-established separate Boards of Trustees and maintained individual Chancellors, while developing its programs under the oversight of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina.

Mr. Friday retired as President effective March 1986. Presidents since that time have been as follows: C. Dixon Spangler, Jr. (1986-1997) Molly Broad (1997-2005) Erskine Bowles (1997-2011) Thomas W. Ross (2011-2016) Junius Gonzales (interim president – January 4, 2016-March 1, 2016) Margaret Spellings (2016-2020) Peter Hans (2020- )

Outside sources:

University of North Carolina. “Interim President.” 2014-2015. Accessed January 4, 2017.

University of North Carolina. “220 Years of History.” 2014-2015. Accessed January 4, 2017.


6.876 Linear Feet (7 boxes (5 record cartons, 1 5" letter document case, and 1 slim letter document case))

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Previous versions of the University of North Carolina System website dating back to 2000 have been archived and are available at:*/

Faculty Governance Records (UA0042)

Dean of Students Records (UA0116) - see Box 34

Student Affairs Vice Chancellor Records (UA0091)

Chancellor (Dean W. Colvard) Records (UA0026)

Chancellor (E. K. Fretwell) Records (UA0030)

Chancellor (James H. Woodward) Records (UA0174)  

Academic Affairs Faculty Governance Records (UA0178) (RG 06-01-13)

University of North Carolina System records
Legacy description modified and additions made by Olivia Eanes
January 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte [All collections not yet online. For assistance, contact Special Collections:; 704-687-1170] Repository

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

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
Schedule an Appointment