The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the oldest state university in the United States, chartered in 1789 and holding the first classes in 1795. Although the University of Georgia was chartered first, in 1785, that university did not begin holding classes until 1801. The school was founded by William R. Davie. In 1771, the colonial assembly chartered a private secondary school named Queens College for a group of Presbyterians in Charlotte, but the British government refused to approve the academy as it was operated by what they termed “religious dissenters.” Davie more than likely studied at Queens College, which closed during the American Revolution.
Davie was born in England in 1756, moving to South Carolina when he was eight years old with his parents. The family lived near the border of North Carolina where they joined Davie’s uncle, William Richardson, a Presbyterian minister with considerable influence in the area. In 1774, Davie enrolled in the College of New Jersey, graduating two years later. He studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina and joined a local patriot militia in 1777. He commanded cavalry units when the British landed in the South, conducting raids on British forces. In 1780, he was appointed commissary general in charge of securing food and supplies for the Revolutionary Army in the area and he continued in that capacity untl the surrender at Yorktown in 1781.
After the war, Davie moved to Halifax, near the home of his bride, Sarah Jones. He owned a plantation, much of which was made of lands given to him by the state as recognition of his military service. He also practiced law and served in the state legislature, where he fought for court reform, a stable currency, the prompt collection of debts and other measures. He attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, helping to shape the three-fifths compromise for counting the slave population. He was a supporter of the new federal Constitution, but failed to make their case when North Carolina first voted against ratifying the new constitution in 1788. After Congress approved James Madison’s Bill of Rights in 1789, the state ratified the United States Constitution. During that time, Davie introduced a bill to charter a university, basing his proposal on the education mandate in the state’s 1776 constitution.
Davie met with some resistance as others called the idea “aristocratic,” but the measure passed and forty of the state’s most influential men were appointed trustees. No provisions to fund the university were made in the charter, but it authorized the state’s uncollected debts and property that reverted to the state from those without heirs, known as escheats, to be used for the college. The escheats became a significant source of income for the university. The trustees chose to locate the university near the center of the state and solicited offers of land in Orange County. They accepted an offer of 1,390 acres where, legend has it, Davie and a group of trustees met under a poplar tree, and, charmed by the beauty of the area, designated it the location for the new university. The area was known as Chapel Hill after an abandoned chapel of the Anglican Church of England that was located there.
The first building on the land was the East Building, now known as Old East, a two-story structure with 16 rooms. The only other building on campus was an unpainted wooden house, which was the home of the president. There was only one faculty member, David Ker, and, on February 12, 1795, Hinton James became the first student. By the end of that term, 40 other students were enrolled and, by the end of the next term, enrollment had grown to almost 100. The school hired another teacher, Charles Harris, who taught mathematics.
During the Civil War, slavery was a controversial topic on the university campus. In 1856, Professor Benjamin S. Hedrick was asked about his political views and he admitted that he supported the Republican Party, an unpopular choice in the South. His views were made public and he was fired by the university for engaging in political conflicts.” He had to flee the state and eventually took a job with the U.S. Patent Office. Initially, however, North Carolina voted to remain in the Union after the first wave of southern state succession. When Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter and President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for troops to suppress the rebellion, North Carolina changed positions and endorsed succession.
Over 40 percent of the student population joined the Confederate military. Many of those who joined fought in the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861. There were no engagements in Chapel Hill or Orange County, although there was a major surrender of Confederate troops outside of Durham. The university remained open during the war with a small number of students. After a Union invasion, many coastal residents fled to Chapel Hill and lived in vacant student lodgings, unsettling the county and straining the food supply. Chapel Hill and the university were among the last places occupied by Union troops and the city escaped the fate of Atlanta, Columbia and other southern cities, which were burned. However, the university’s president, David L. Swain, alienated Confederate supporters by carrying white flags to Sherman’s army and allowing his daughter to marry a Union general.
Today, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill sits on a beautiful, friendly campus where there is always something new and exciting. It is a community that empowers students to live in the moment as they prepare for their future. The university celebrates diversity and brings students together from all over the world.
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The organization is the regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, overseeing colleges and universities in an 11-state area. A review is required every ten years and all accredited universities must submit a five-year interim report. The mission is to enhance educational quality throughout the region and improve the effectiveness of institutions by ensuring they met standards established by the higher education community.
Students entering college for the first time must complete the Common Application online and pay the required application fee. Students must also provide two essays and an official high school transcript. In addition, a statement is required from a school counselor along with SAT or ACT scores. Students must also provide one letter of recommendation, preferably from a teacher who taught the student in a core academic area. A second letter is permitted, but not required. Transfer students must also complete the Common Application and pay the required application fee. Two essays are required and students must also submit official transcripts from every college and university attended. Official SAT or ACT scores are required from any student with less than 60 transferable credits.
Graduate students must complete an official application and must upload unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended at the time of application. If accepted into the graduate program, the university will require one official transcript from each college or university attended. The student must provide email addresses for three people who can provide recommendation for the student. Standardized test scores, either the GRE or GMAT, are required and must be no more than five years old. Students must also provide a statement of purpose, a current resume and any supplemental information required by the program in which they are seeking enrollment.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Undergraduate full-time tuition at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is $8,562 for North Carolina residents and $33,644 for non-residents. Graduate tuition for full-time students is $11,046 for North Carolina residents and $28,256 for out-of-state residents. Financial aid is available in the form of grants, loans, work study and scholarships. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS/Profile application in order to qualify for financial aid.
Online Degree(s) Available
Ph.D in School Psychology
Students with a Master’s in School Psychology may choose to enroll in the Ph.D in School Psychology program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. It is a 64-credit hour program that may be completed in four years. The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and can lead to licensure as a psychologist in North Carolina as well as many other states. Students should check with their state before enrolling in the program. The program includes foundational content in psychology that includes biological, cognitive and social aspects of behavior. Students are also provided knowledge and skills in science and theories of practice that also include individual differences, human development, dysfunctional behavior and diagnosis.
The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill offers a comprehensive doctorate in school psychology that can lead to licensure in North Carolina and other states. Courses may also be offered in an online format, allowing students to achieve their higher education goals while also meeting family, work and social obligations.