University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

From Academic Kids

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is the eleventh-oldest institution of higher education and the oldest public university in the United States. It is known to many as Carolina or simply UNC. It is consistently ranked among the top tier of American Universities in academics and is considered a Public Ivy. Carolina has developed an excellent reputation in many academic fields, and also has a successful and very popular basketball program, which most recently won the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

© University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Motto: Lux Libertas (Light Liberty)
Chancellor James Moeser
School type Public
Religious affiliation None
Founded 1789
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Enrollment 15,961 undergraduate 10,011 graduate and professional
Faculty 2,601
Endowment Approximately 1 Billion U.S. Dollars.
Campus surroundings Suburban
Campus size 729 acres (3 km²)
Sports teams Tar Heels
Mascot Ramses


The University of North Carolina was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1789. The year of its foundation coincides with the beginning of the French Revolution. Accordingly, Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, which serves as the northern border of the University's campus, is named after the famous eighteenth-century Enlightenment figure Benjamin Franklin.

The university opened in a single building, which came to be called Old East, and which is still in use as a residence hall. Its cornerstone was laid October 12, 1793, near an Anglican chapel in what therefore became "Chapel Hill, North Carolina." Today, the University celebrates University Day each year on October 12. The first student, Hinton James, arrived on foot from Wilmington, February 12, 1795. He was the only student for two weeks.

UNC operated as a state university before any other in America. The University of Georgia was chartered in 1785, but did not open its doors until 1801. The College of Charleston opened in 1770, and was chartered in 1785, but was a private school until 1836, when it became a municipal college; it did not join the South Carolina state university system until 1970. The College of William and Mary was founded in 1693, but was a private institution until 1906. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, was chartered in 1766 and opened in 1771, but did not become the state university until 1956. Which of those schools should be called the oldest state university is a subject of debate; however, UNC is the only public university in the United States that awarded degrees as a public institution in the eighteenth century.

In 1932 UNC became one of the three original campuses of the Consolidated University of North Carolina (since 1972 called the University of North Carolina System). In 1963 the Consolidated University was made fully coeducational. As a result, the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina was renamed the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the University of North Carolina itself became the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Missing image
The Old Well, UNC-CH's most recognized landmark.

UNC’s sprawling and well-forested campus is dominated by its two central quads – large yards where it is easy to find a pick up game of frisbee golf. Students mill about in a lowered brick area known as the Pit, often entertained by the Pit Preacher. The Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower, located in the heart of campus, tolls the hour.

The most enduring symbol of the university is the Old Well, a small neoclassical rotunda at the spot of the original well that provided water for the school. It stands at the south end of McCorkle Place, one of two major grassy quads at the north end of campus, between the campus's oldest dorms, Old East and Old West. There is a symbolic drinking fountain (providing city water) at the center of the rotunda so that one can "drink from the old well" as a token of good luck. It is tradition for entering freshman to drink from the well, and the superstition is that if one does this, one will make straight A's for all four years. However, some UNC seniors urinate on the well, and so do some North Carolina State students, so the tradition is widely considered to be a reason to laugh at freshmen.


UNC is the flagship school in the University of North Carolina system of schools. It has 15 sister institutions.


UNC is considered one of the strongest state universities, consistently ranking in the top five among state institutions in national surveys.

Among graduate programs, the School of Information and Library Science, the School of Public Health, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Analytical Chemistry program, and the Kenan Flagler Business School are especially highly regarded.

For undergraduates, the university offers one of the nation's most acclaimed Honors Programs in a public institution.

The university has for decades offered an undergraduate merit scholarship known as the Morehead Scholarship, modeled after the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford. The scholarship offers tuition, room, and board for four years.

Also offered is the Robertson Scholarship, an innovative scholarship granting recipients the opportunity to attend both UNC-Chapel Hill and neighboring Duke University. Offered both at UNC and Duke, UNC recipients receive full tuition, room, and living stipends.

Student demographics

  • Student-faculty ratio: 18:1
  • Classes with fewer than 30 students: 69%
  • Average SAT: 1311
  • Average ACT: 29
  • Campus Size: 729 acres (3 km²)
  • Male-Female ratio: 2:3
  • African American: 9%
  • Asian American: 7%
  • Caucasian: 80%
  • Hispanic: 2%
  • Native American: 0.6%

Sports, clubs, and traditions

Missing image
Tar Heels

As one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States, UNC has developed a long series of traditions associated with its athletics and student organizations.


The school's sports teams are called the Tar Heels and the mascot is the ram. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The women's soccer team has won eighteen national championships since 1981, and the men's basketball team has won national championships in 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, and 2005. From 1961 to 1997 the men's basketball team was coached by Dean Smith, who holds the record (as of 2004) for the most victories by an NCAA Division I men's basketball coach with 879 wins. Roy Williams coached the championship team in 2005, reinforcing his position as one of the all-time notable coaches.

In 1994, the University's athletic programs won the Sears Directors Cup 'all-sports national championship' which is awarded for cumulative performance in NCAA competition.

Notable graduates from the athletic programs include Mia Hamm, Davis Love III, Eddie Pope, Roy Williams, Marion Jones, and many others. Notable athletes from the athletic programs include Michael Jordan, Julius Peppers, Phil Ford, and Rasheed Wallace.

Student organizations

Missing image
"The Pit," a center of student activity at UNC-Chapel Hill. On a typical day, a dozen student organizations will set up tables by or in the Pit. Behind it are the Frank Porter Graham Student Union (left) and the Student Stores. (right).

The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies[1] (, Black Student Movement[2] (, and the Campus YMCA[3] (, as well as over 400 other recognized clubs and 48 Greek organizations contribute to a diverse and vibrant student life. A "secret society" known as The Order of Gimghoul exists at the university, which selects or "taps" ten men from the junior class each year and secretly meets at Gimghoul Castle in west Chapel Hill. This castle was constructed from 1924-1926 and is the only bona-fide castle in the state of North Carolina. Many honor societies, such as the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Order of the Grail-Valkyries, and the Order of the Old Well, round out the student body.

Founded in 1977, WXYC 89.3 FM is UNC's award winning student radio station, broadcasting 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Though programming is left up the student DJs, WXYC typically plays little heard music from a wide range of genres and eras. On November 7th, 1994 it became the first radio station in the world to broadcast its signal over the internet.


Every Halloween is marked by celebration on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. In recent years, an estimated 70,000 costumed students and onlookers have packed into the mile-long length of Franklin Street abutting campus.

The rivalry between UNC and its first opponent, the University of Virginia, has cooled somewhat in recent years. UVA is still referred to by some as "Mr. Jefferson's university to the north," but this rivalry has been largley replaced by rivalries with North Carolina State University, a state institution of similar size with a greater focus on technical sciences; Duke University, whose basketball program has taken off in recent years; and Wake Forest University, a private university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It is traditional to exchange pranks with North Carolina State, and to refer to Duke University as "Dook." Duke is now one of North Carolina's greatest rivals; their rivalry in men's basketball is especially intense, with each school being a frequent contender for the national championship.

An honor code exists to prosecute students accused of academic and nonacademic offenses against the university community.

Alumni of note

List of University presidents

Presiding Professors of the University of North Carolina

Presidents of the University of North Carolina

(Presidency vacant 1872-1874)

  • Charles Phillips (chairman of the faculty, 1875-1876)
  • Kemp Plummer Battle (1876-1891)
  • George Tayloe Winston (1891-1896)
  • Edwin Anderson Alderman (1896-1900)
  • Francis Preston Venable (1900-1913)
  • Edward Kidder Graham (acting president, 1913-1914; president, 1914-1918)
  • Marvin Hendrix Stacy (chairman of the faculty, 1918-1919)
  • Harry Woodburn Chase (1919-1930)
  • Frank Porter Graham (1930-1949)

Chancellors of the University of North Carolina

  • Robert Burton House (dean of administration, 1934-1945; chancellor, 1945-1957)
  • William Brantley Aycock (1957-1963)

Chancellors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • William Brantley Aycock (1963-1964)
  • Paul F. Sharp (1964-1965)
  • J. Carlyle Sitterson (1965-1972)
  • N. Ferebee Taylor (1972-1980)
  • Christopher C. Fordham (1980-1988)
  • Paul Hardin (1988-1995)
  • Michael Hooker (1995-1999)
  • William O. McCoy (acting and interim chancellor, 1999-2000)
  • James Moeser (2000- )

External links

Schools of the University of North Carolina System:

Appalachian | East Carolina | Elizabeth City | Fayetteville | NC A&T
NC Central | NC School of the Arts | NC State | UNC-Asheville | UNC-Chapel Hill
UNC-Charlotte | UNC-Greensboro | UNC-Pembroke | UNC-Wilmington
Western Carolina | Winston-Salem | NC School of Science and Math

Template:Atlantic Coast Conference


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools