The North Carolina General Assembly founded NC State on March 7, 1887 as a land-grant college under the name “North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts,” or “North Carolina A&M” for short. In the segregated system, it was open only to white students. As a land-grant college, North Carolina A&M would provide a liberal and practical education while focusing on military tactics, agriculture and the mechanical arts without excluding classical studies. Since its founding, the university has maintained these objectives while building on them. After opening in 1889, North Carolina A&M saw its enrollment fluctuate and its mandate expand. In 1917, it changed its name to “North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering”—or “North Carolina State” for short. During the Great Depression, the North Carolina state government, under Governor O. Max Gardner, administratively combined the University of North Carolina, the Woman’s College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro), and NC State. This conglomeration became the University of North Carolina in 1931. In 1937 Blake R Van Leer joined as Dean and started the graduate program for engineering. Following World War II, the university grew and developed. The G. I. Bill enabled thousands of veterans to attend college, and enrollment shot past the 5,000 mark in 1947.

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