Through its teaching, research and engagement, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill serves as an educational and economic beacon for the people of North Carolina and beyond.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the nation’s first state university to open its doors and the only public university to award degrees in the 18th century. Authorized by the N.C. Constitution in 1776, the University was chartered by the N.C. General Assembly Dec. 11, 1789, the same year George Washington first was inaugurated as president. The cornerstone was laid for Old East, the nation’s first state university building, Oct. 12, 1793. Hinton James, the first student, arrived from Wilmington, N.C., Feb. 12, 1795.
Recent Rankings and Ratings
Several national publications regularly publish rankings that listed Carolina prominently in categories ranging from academic quality to affordability to diversity to engagement to international presence. Click here to read recent highlights.
Carolina is proud of its legacy of excellence and public service and its capacity to help build a just, safe, more prosperous, and sustainable world. Click here for a look at Carolina’s academic community and the breadth of education provided by the University.
The Carolina Covenant
The Carolina Covenant is part of Carolina’s commitment to making college possible for qualified students regardless of their financial means. Eligible low-income students who are admitted to Carolina can enroll without worrying about how they will pay for it. The Carolina Covenant also includes academic and personal support services to help Covenant Scholars make the most of their college experience and succeed in completing their undergraduate degree program. Click here to learn more.
Each year, private support provides the funding that creates Carolina’s margin of excellence. Read about private gifts to Carolina and the Carolina First Campaign, the fifth biggest fund-raising drive among completed campaigns at that time in the history of U.S. higher education and as the largest in the South.
In fall 2015, Carolina enrolled 4,081 first-year students from a record 31,955 applications. Nearly 77 percent graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and the middle 50 percent of the class scored between 1820 and 2130 on the SAT. More than 19 percent were first-generation college students; another 14 percent were eligible for the Carolina Covenant, which promises qualified low-income students the chance to graduate debt-free.
To read more about UNC students, click here.
UNC faculty is dedicated to innovation and excellence in their teaching; their discoveries touch every aspect of society, advancing human thought and improving health and the well-being of millions of people. These Carolina leaders enhance student learning by breadth of opinion, by diversity in identity and experience.
Click here to learn more about UNC faculty.
Carolina ranks among the top U.S. public universities in research support. Faculty attracted nearly $778 million in total research grants and contracts in fiscal 2013 for research that is helping to cure diseases and produce new knowledge to help people. Excluding federal stimulus support, research funding totaled $773 million in that category, compared with $759 million last year. On a year-to-year average, UNC’s research awards comprise more than half of the total research awards for all UNC system campuses.
Click here to read more about UNC research.
Education and Cultural Resources
From the Ackland Art Museum and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center to the North Carolina Botanical Garden and Carolina Performing Arts, Carolina offers a vast array of educational and cultural opportunities.
The Ackland’s permanent collection of more than 16,500 works includes significant holdings of 20th-century and contemporary art, European masterworks, African art, North Carolina pottery and the state’s premier collections of Asian art and works on paper (drawings, prints and photographs).
Carolina Performing Arts brings the entertainment world to Chapel Hill. The 2011-12 season features American icons including Mavis Staples and Allen Toussaint, Europe’s best chamber orchestras and other performers. Astronomy enthusiasts and schoolchildren from across North Carolina enjoy the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s multimedia star shows and interactive exhibits. The North Carolina Botanical Garden offers displays of native and unusual plants, art exhibits, nature walks, activities for kids, and courses on topics ranging from home gardening to botanical illustration.
UNC was recognized in 2013 for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Carolina Center for Public Service estimated that over the past year 20,672 Carolina students gave a total of 952,170 hours in service to the community. UNC has 15 formally classified public service centers and institutes and almost 70 more classified as research or instructional units. Virtually all of these centers and institutes include substantive efforts to address community needs.
To read more about Carolina’s commitment to public service, click here.
Carolina was fortunate to have largely completed one of the nation’s most ambitious capital construction programs before the economic crisis hit. That physical transformation was made possible in part by North Carolinians’ approval of the $3.1 billion bond referendum for higher education in 2000 that benefitted the UNC system and community colleges. Through 49 projects, the bonds provided more than $515 million for renovations and new buildings at Carolina. In addition, the University leveraged state appropriations from the General Assembly with investments from non-state sources, including private gifts raised during the Carolina First Campaign. The resulting capital construction program exceeded $2.3 billion. More than 100 projects were completed.
Click here to learn about recent milestones.