Historical Statement

Since 1891, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (A&T) has maintained a tradition of excellence in education and continues to thrive as it sustains its rich history. A&T was established as a “mechanical college” for the “Colored Race” under the Second Morrill Act, passed by the United States Congress on August 30, 1890. The First Morrill Act, passed in 1862 and also known as the Land Grant College Act, ceded land to each state to establish institutions of higher learning to educate people primarily in agriculture, home economics and mechanical arts. A&T and the other 1890 land-grant institutions were created by the Second Morrill Act, which expanded the system of land-grant colleges and universities to include an historically black institution in those states where segregation denied minorities’ access to the land-grant institution established by the First Morrill Act.

So as not to forfeit federal money for A. and M. College (now North Carolina State University), the North Carolina General Assembly created a college for its black citizens as an annex of Shaw University in Raleigh. On March 9, 1891, the General Assembly established A. and M. College for the Colored Race and sought a permanent home. The board of trustees, whose members performed the duties of the president, made it known that they were looking for a permanent site for the college. Six North Carolina cities, including Greensboro, made a bid for A. and M. The trustees selected Greensboro based on a proposal promising 14 acres of land and $11,000 in cash to be used for building and organizing the A. and M. College. Today, N.C. A&T is a public land-grant university that is ranked by the Carnegie Classification System as “doctoral/research university.” It is located in Greensboro, North Carolina on over 200 beautiful acres and has an enrollment of nearly 11,000 students and workforce of over 1,900 employees.

The university is a learner-centered community that develops and preserves intellectual capital through interdisciplinary learning, discovery, engagement and operational excellence. This unique institution is committed to fulfilling its fundamental purposes through exemplary undergraduate and graduate instruction, scholarly and creative research and effective public service. A&T offers 55 undergraduate degree programs with 96 concentrations, 29  master’s degree programs with 49 concentrations, and nine doctoral (Ph.D.) degree programs in computational science and engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, energy and environmental systems, industrial and systems engineering, leadership studies, computer science, rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counselor education, and nanoengineering. The academic programs are offered through the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Business and Economics, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Health and Human Sciences, College of Science and Technology, Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, and The Graduate College. With funding from a $161 million bond project, A&T has been transformed into one of the premier 21st century campuses in the United States with modernized state of the art academic buildings and residence halls.

A&T enrolls some of the best and the brightest students and is proud of its over 50,000 alumni of record, who maintain leadership positions throughout the world, strive for excellence and make their imprint in society. Among A&T's well-known alumni are: the late Dr. Ronald E. McNair, astronaut; the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., civil rights activist; Alma Adams (D-NC), U.S. Representative; Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), former U.S. Representatives; Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender; Maj. Gen. Hawthorne L. Proctor; Henry E. Frye Sr., former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice; Lawrence McSwain, retired district court judge; John W. Mack, retired president, Los Angeles Urban League; Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and CEO of Act-1 Group; the late Ralph Shelton, founder of Southeast Fuels; Joe Dudley Sr., founder of Dudley Products Inc.; Alvin Attles, former NBA player/vice president of Golden State Warriors; Elvin Bethea, NFL Hall of Famer; Terrence “Terrence J” Jenkins, actor and television personality; and The Greensboro Four (A&T Four), Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair Jr.), Joseph A. McNeil and the late Franklin E. McCain and David Richmond.

The primary strength of the university is its outstanding student body, carefully selected from thousands of applicants annually. Once on campus, the students are taught and mentored by an excellent faculty, the majority of whom have earned doctoral or other terminal degrees from some of the nation's most prestigious graduate and professional schools.

A&T graduates the largest number of African American engineers at the baccalaureate level in the nation. Through its nationally AACSB-accredited School College of Business and Economics, the institution is among the largest producers of African American certified public accountants. True to its heritage, A&T is home to the largest agricultural school college among HBCUs and the second largest producer of minority agricultural graduates. The institution was recently awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (NSF ERC) grant for biomedical engineering and nano-bio applications research.

The university has advanced to the forefront in the area of research. It has consistently ranked third in the UNC System for sponsored programs and research funding for more than 10 years and, since fiscal year 2008-09, A&T generated over $50 million in sponsored programs each year, including more than $6 million in appropriations for agricultural research and cooperative extension. It also generates contracts with major international companies, foundations, and federal agencies to secure funding to enhance academic programs and to provide student scholarships. The research enterprise continually demonstrates its strength and potential by sustaining major programs in nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational science and engineering, energy and environment, information sciences and technology, leadership and community development, logistics and transportation systems and public health.

Twelve presidents/chancellors have served this historic university since it was founded. They are Dr. John O. Crosby (1892–1896); Dr. James B. Dudley (1896–1925); Dr. Ferdinand D. Bluford (1925–1955); Dr. Warmoth T. Gibbs (1956–1960); Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor (1960–1964); Dr. Lewis C. Dowdy (1964–1980); Dr. Cleon Thompson Jr., (1980–1981, interim); Dr. Edward B. Fort (1981–1999); Dr. James C. Renick (1999–2006); Dr. Lloyd V. Hackley (2006–2007); Dr. Stanley F. Battle (2007–2009); and alumnus Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr. (2009–present).