Letter from Leadership

In 2010, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University began work on its first strategic plan of the 21st century — “A&T Preeminence 2020: Embracing Our Past, Creating Our Future” — and it was clear that it would be a plan like none before. The plan articulated six major goals that directed significant action to enhance A&T’s academic foundation and intellectual climate. The plan charged A&T to develop as a premiere research institution and be recognized for its scientific strengths among top research universities across the country.

Preeminence 2020 captured our collective will and inspired us to bring our best to the arena. Our journey to preeminence required a leap of faith for some who wondered whether a medium-sized university in Greensboro could live up to its lofty ambitions in a crowded, competitive higher education marketplace. By 2018, having surpassed many of the plan’s outcome targets, it was refreshed with new thinking and higher goals. That revision, “A&T Preeminence: Taking the Momentum to 2023,” blazed the path to important further progress.

For those who mustered the faith and applied fortitude, the past 12 years of implementation have been nothing short of remarkable. Consider:

  • Strong enrollment growth elevated A&T to the no. 1 spot in 2014 as the nation’s largest historically Black college or university, a highly visible position it has held ever since. In fact, between 2011 and 2021, applications to A&T grew by 246%, by far the highest growth rate of any campus in the University of North Carolina System and surpassed by only one other HBCU nationally. At an enrollment of 13,487, A&T is now the largest of any HBCU, past or present. This occurred at a time when similar campuses across the country were losing students. 
  • The Campaign for North Carolina A&T, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising effort, went public in 2017 with a goal of $85 million. Over the next three years, explosive growth in private support for A&T exceeded the goal, which was raised to $100 million — and then significantly exceeded the new goal. By its conclusion at the end of 2020, the campaign had taken in $181.4 million and added significantly to A&T’s endowment, which today stands at more than $160 million. 
  • The university’s intentional development as a doctoral research institution took more time to flourish, but in 2020-21, A&T faculty mounted a significant leap forward, earning 30% more in research funding than the prior year. In 2021-22, A&T research funding grew substantially for the second straight year, now to $97.3 million in competitive awards and up by 62% over a two-year span. Progress in grant applications and awards in the current year may well see A&T exceed last year’s record. The university has definitively moved into a new position that holds great promise for its interest in attaining the Carnegie Foundation’s top classification for doctoral, research universities: R1 – Very High Research Activity. 

"Through this plan, we will answer that call in a spirit of agency that centers us as influencers, knowledge producers and thought leaders."

These important examples were accompanied by hundreds of other points of progress across the university, few of which would have come to pass absent our foresight to create and execute a plan that required us to collectively stretch. The evolution the plan made possible also enabled the university to create a new, highly focused campus master plan that identifies strategic, top-priority construction and renovation projects through 2030. 

“Preeminence 2030: North Carolina A&T Blueprint” acknowledges the disciplined work and accomplishments of our staff, faculty and students over the previous 12 years, while charting a new vision to guide it through the next decade. The plan commits A&T to bold goals that will make it more effective and a more impactful university: a university that will use its teaching, research and engagement to help foster innovation that positively affects the human condition and economic growth, and thereby bringing value to the constituents and communities it serves.

The world is calling with many diverse challenges. Through this plan, we will answer that call in a spirit of agency that centers us as influencers, knowledge producers and thought leaders. We apply our talents and capabilities to bring meaningful and authentic perspectives to explore problems and challenges never before considered nor valued, and act for those who have been marginalized and constrained.

We are proud to present herein the goals, strategies and accountability measures that define this new blueprint. And we look forward to working with students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters of A&T to turn the ideas articulated in the plan into a bold new reality. 


Hilda Pinnix Ragland
Hilda Pinnix-Ragland

Chair, Board of Trustees
Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.
Harold L. Martin Sr.