The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, also known as UNC Charlotte, is a public research university located in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. UNC Charlotte offers 20 doctoral, 63 master's, and 90 bachelor's degree programs through 9 colleges: the College of Arts + Architecture, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Belk College of Business, the College of Computing and Informatics, the College of Education, the William States Lee College of Engineering, the College of Health and Human Services, the Honors College, and the University College.
UNC Charlotte has three campuses: Charlotte Research Institute Campus, Center City Campus, and the main campus, located in University City. The main campus sits on 1,000 wooded acres with approximately 75 buildings about 10 miles (16 km) from Uptown Charlotte.
The university is the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region, which is the second largest banking center in the United States. The university produces more start-up small businesses than any other college or university in the nation.
The city of Charlotte had sought a public university since 1871 but was never able to sustain one. For years, the nearest state-supported university was 90 miles (140 km) away. The city submitted a bid in the late 1880s for what would become North Carolina State University, but lost to the city of Raleigh after a local farmer offered to donate land for the campus. In 1946, the city sought a state-run medical school; instead, the state expanded the existing two-year school at UNC-Chapel Hill.
On September 23, 1946, the State of North Carolina opened the Charlotte Center of the University of North Carolina with an enrollment of 278 students. It was originally founded to serve the education needs of returning World War II veterans. Like many of the United States' "post–World War II" universities, it owes its inception to the G.I. Bill and its effects on public education. In 1949, when the state began closing the centers, the Charlotte Center was taken over by the city school district and became Charlotte College, a two-year institution. It was first funded by student tuition payments, then by local property taxes. Classes were held at Central High School near uptown Charlotte, but by 1957, enrollment increased to 492, and the school's leaders began searching for a permanent site for the campus. They decided on a 250 acre (1 km²) tract of land northeast of the city near the Cabarrus County border. The college became state-supported in 1958 upon joining the newly formed North Carolina Community College System and moved to its current location in 1961.
In 1963, Charlotte College became a four-year college. It adopted its current name July 1, 1965, upon becoming part of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, since 1972 called the University of North Carolina. In 1969, the university began offering programs leading to masters degrees. In 1992, it was authorized to offer programs leading to doctoral degrees.
The University operates several campuses in Charlotte. The Main Campus is situated on just under 1,000 acres (4 km²) of rolling land between U.S. Route 29 and N.C. Highway 49, about 10 miles (16 km) from Uptown Charlotte in the University City neighborhood. The campus is self-contained, meaning that no major roads run through the campus. The campus boasts several man-made lakes, and is heavily wooded. Near the center of campus are two gardens that attract over 300,000 visitors a year. Much of the architecture on the campus, particularly the oldest buildings, are precast concrete and utilitarian-looking because they were built with limited state funds in the 1960s and 1970s. Under the campus' third chancellor, James Woodward, the campus underwent major changes which continue today. The newest buildings, funded from state bonds, are being constructed in brick with neoclassical architecture. Concrete and asphalt sidewalks have largely been replaced by brick. The campus' road system is being upgraded to include landscaped medians and more trees.
Attached to the main campus is a 100 acre (0.4 km²) campus, created in 2000, called the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI Campus) on a tract of land originally named the Millennial Campus. This research-oriented campus focuses on precision metrology and intelligent manufacturing; opto-electronics and optical communication; and software and information technology. This campus brings together faculty, students, and outside researchers to work together.
The CRI Campus will also house the new, on-campus football stadium with 15,300 initial seats that can be expanded to more than 40,000.
The third campus is in the first ward of Uptown Charlotte. This campus focuses on business and evening courses, thus catering to center city workers. Formerly located in the Mint Museum of Craft+Design, the Uptown campus moved into the $50.4 million Center City building at 320 East Ninth Street, at the beginning of the Fall 2011 semester. It is next to the proposed 9th Street Station of the forthcoming LYNX Blue Line Extension and houses the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Urban Design (MUD), and other graduate programs. The facility contains an art gallery, a 300 seat auditorium, and a 110 seat lecture hall. The 12-story, 143,000 square foot Center City building was designed by world renowned architectural firm KieranTimberlake. The building features exterior glass walls individually tailored to the amount of sunlight, and cantilevered multi-story blocks which provide shade and give the building a distinctive look resembling a stack of books.
Approximately 26,000 students were enrolled in the University in Fall 2012 (Approximately 21,000 undergraduate), 47 percent are male and 53 percent female. Students hail from 97 of North Carolina's 100 counties, 45 states, and 103 countries. 
UNC Charlotte is classified as a doctoral research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The 2013 edition of the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranked the university's undergraduate program 199th overall among national universities Washington Monthly ranked the university in its National University rankings based on the university's contribution to the public good. Forbes also ranked the university among its annual rankings of overall higher education programs, and within its research universities category.
The university offers 90 baccalaureate (bachelor's degree) programs, 62 master's degree programs, and 19 doctoral programs. Fifteen degree and certificate programs are offered via distance education, from 25% to 100% online.
The university is divided into nine colleges:
In 2009, UNC Charlotte received the largest single donation from a private source, when The Leon Levine Family Foundation donated $9.3 million to the university to form the Levine Scholars program. The scholarship program, named for Leon and Sandra Levine, will provide a four-year scholarship to UNC Charlotte. The scholarship includes tuition, fees, books, room, laptop computer, and an $8,000 grant for community service initiatives.
In addition to the Levine Scholars, the university offers eleven other merit-based scholarship programs.
UNC Charlotte's J. Murrey Atkins Library, named for the first chairman of the Board of Trustees of Charlotte College, has over a million books, diverse electronic and media resources, as well as an area for special collections. The recently renovated library includes a ten story tower that accentuates the library's place at the heart of UNC Charlotte's campus. In April 2007, Atkins received its one millionth volume, a copy of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land.
For athletics purposes, the school is known as simply Charlotte, a change made official by the athletic department on August 23, 2000. The athletic department sponsors sixteen varsity teams and competes in the NCAA's Division I. The university has been a full member of the Atlantic 10 Conference since 2005. On September 18, 2008, Chancellor Dubois recommended to add a Division I FCS football program to UNC Charlotte. On November 13, 2008, the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees voted 8–0 in favor of adding football to the University.
The nickname of the athletic team is the 49ers, indicative of the fact that UNC Charlotte (then Charlotte College) was saved from permanent closure in 1949. The mascot is "Norm the Niner," a gold miner. The school's colors are green and white; gold and black are both featured in the logo and frequently used in the uniforms of several sports.
Men's basketball, coached by Alan Major, is the most followed sport on campus. The team has reached the NCAA Tournament eleven times, including a trip to the Final Four in 1977. NBA players that once suited up for the 49ers include Boston Celtics great Cedric Maxwell, DeMarco Johnson, 2001 NBA Draft lottery pick Rodney White, and Eddie Basden.
Women's basketball has seen a surge in popularity on campus over the past several years, with the 2003 team, led by coach Katie Meier, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The team has made the WNIT in every season since then. Meier was succeeded in 2005 by Amanda Butler, who left after two seasons to take over the same position at the University of Florida. Karen Aston took the reins for the 2007–08 season; Cara Consuegra will serve as head coach for the 2011 season.
Baseball has also experienced a resurgence at Charlotte, with the 2007 team posting a school-record 49 wins under coach Loren Hibbs and winning two games over N.C. State in the NCAA Tournament. Baseball alums with Major League experience include Chris Haney (Kansas City Royals), John Maine (New York Mets), Jason Stanford (Cleveland Indians). Also Fieldin Culbreth is a MLB umpire who worked the 2008 World Series. Other notable baseball alums include minor leaguers Adam Mills and Spencer Steedley. Adam was a finalist in 2007 for the Roger Clemens Award. He is currently in the Boston Red Sox system, while Steedley is in the Minnesota Twins system.
The men's soccer team reached the College Cup in 1996 and 2011. The team advanced all the way to the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, losing to UNC-Chapel Hill and finishing second in the national polls. Former 49ers soccer players now playing in the MLS include Floyd Franks and Jon Busch.
In September 2007, the Charlotte golf team became the top-rated golf team in the nation.
The men's and women's track and field teams have also made national berth, throughout the school's history. Their most notable athlete is Shareese Woods. She is the most decorated athlete in school history, running professionally for ADIDAS.
Women's volleyball is one of the largest sponsors of the Side Out Foundation's "Dig Pink" for breast cancer awareness.
UNC Charlotte will add a Division I FCS football team in 2013. The stadium, which is currently under construction, will hold 15,000 people and can be expanded to 40,000 people. The first game is set against Campbell on 8/31/13.
Charlotte will add three new women's sports for Title IX compliance in 2016, 2019 and 2022 respectively. They are looking into lacrosse, hockey and more.
The 49ers athletic performance overall has averaged 149th over the past five years, as shown in the NACDA Directors' Cup Standings 2006–2010.
2010 Charlotte: 186th
2009 Charlotte: 225th
2008 Charlotte: 146th
2007 Charlotte: 140th
2006 Charlotte: 95th
A large number of student organizations are associated with the university. Ranging from Academic, Graduate, Honor Societies, Interest, International, Multicultural, Political, Religious, Service and Sports. UNC Charlotte also boasts a diverse Greek Life, with over 10 sororities and 14 fraternities serving the campus community.
The official name of the university is "The University of North Carolina at Charlotte." "UNC Charlotte" has been accepted and the athletic department has used "Charlotte" since 2000.
Leaders of the university
Bonnie Ethel Cone (1907–2003), or Miss Bonnie as she was known to students, was chosen to lead the Charlotte Center in 1946, and she was instrumental in convincing the state to keep the school open in 1949. She was the leader who chose the current site of the school and helped plan the original campus master plan. Until 1965, she served as president of Charlotte College. She stated that March 2, 1965 was the "happiest day of her life"; it was the day the North Carolina legislature voted to bring Charlotte College into the UNC system.
She served as an acting Chancellor of the university until 1966, when Dean Colvard was selected as permanent chancellor. Even though she had led the college since 1946, the State wanted a leader with experience running a four-year, public university. Cone and the university were profiled in the July 16, 1965 issue of Time magazine. In the article, she stated, "we are not here to elevate ourselves but the institution," when asked about the chancellor position. She served in various official positions until her retirement in 1973, at which time the main campus's student union was renamed the Cone University Center.
Cone continued to work on behalf of the school in unofficial capacities until her death in March 2003. She is interred in the Van Landingham Gardens on the east side of the main campus, and a non-denominational meditation center is planned near the site. She is posthumously known as the founder of the school, a title she rejected during her lifetime because she felt many people had a hand in creating and building the university. During her lifetime, she received 10 honorary degrees and was inducted posthumously into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in recognition to her contributions to North Carolina history. In 2004, the stretch of U.S. Highway 29 near the main campus was officially renamed the "Dr. Bonnie Cone Memorial Highway."
Dean W. Colvard (1913–2007) was appointed the first chancellor of the young university in 1966. A North Carolina native, Colvard had served as president of Mississippi State University (MSU). At MSU he was the first president to defy university policy of not playing against integrated teams when he ordered the men's basketball team to play Loyola University Chicago in 1963. At UNC Charlotte, Colvard took on the challenge of converting the school from a junior college to a 4-year member of the UNC system. He oversaw accreditation of the university, development of University Research Park (now one of the top 5 largest research parks in the country), constructed the first residence halls, created the first graduate programs, and grew the enrollment from about 1,700 to just over 8,000 students. He retired as chancellor in 1978, served as Chancellor Emeritus until his death. Colvard also received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The Colvard building, completed on the main campus in 1979, is named in his honor and houses the Department of Psychology.
E.K. Fretwell (1923 - 2012), the second chancellor of the university, was named in 1979. Fretwell came to the university from University at Buffalo, where he was president. Under Fretwell, campus enrollment surged from 8,000 students to over 12,000. He oversaw the creation of the Graduate School, created more graduate degrees, integrated the library's card catalog into the Internet in 1983, created the ground work for a major business incubator, helped to develop the university's surrounding neighborhood, and increased academic grants to over $6.1 million dollars. Fretwell retired as chancellor in 1989. He served as interim president of the University of Massachusetts system from 1991–1992, and in 1998, he served as the interim president of the University of North Florida. In 1996 UNC Charlotte opened the Fretwell building, dedicated in honor of him and his wife Dorrie. The building headquarters the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
James H. Woodward succeeded Fretwell in 1989. Woodward came to UNC Charlotte from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he served as dean of engineering and senior vice president of academic affairs. Under Woodward, enrollment grew to over 19,000 students. Like his predecessors, he continued the growth of the Graduate School, and added various new doctoral programs. He also oversaw the largest fundraising campaign in the school's history and its largest building boom; as of the summer of 2005, no less than six buildings were actively under construction on the main campus. Woodward also oversaw creation of the CRI Campus. Woodward announced his retirement in 2004, and left the office of chancellor on June 30, 2005. Woodward Hall, the main campus's newest science and technology building, was dedicated in his honor on November 16, 2005. Woodward is currently serving as Chancellor Emeritus and teaches in the university's engineering department.
Phillip Dubois is the fourth and current chancellor of the University. Dr. Dubois assumed his current duties as chancellor on July 15, 2005. He returns to Charlotte after serving as the president of the University of Wyoming from 1997 through 2005. Previously, Dubois served as the Provost and Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science (now the Department of Political Science and Public Administration) at UNC Charlotte from 1991 until 1997.
Dubois is the first chancellor, along with his wife and children, to occupy the new Chancellor's Residence (known as the Bissell House) on the UNC Charlotte campus that was completed in the winter of 2005. Dr. Dubois is expected to oversee the process of the University becoming the fourth research-extensive university in the state.
Alumni and faculty
Every graduate of UNC Charlotte automatically becomes a member of the Alumni Association, an organization of more than 80,000 former students whose primary purpose is to advance the interests of the university. There are no membership fees, annual dues or initiation rites, but there is an expectation that members will be active participants in the organization. In addition to promoting the interests of UNC Charlotte, the Alumni Association acts as a network of UNC Charlotte graduates who assist each other in their personal, professional and social development, and recognize and cheer the accomplishments of their fellow members. The association offers members a number of benefits and services. Some are in the form of information and communications, including a UNC Charlotte magazine and a quarterly electronic newsletter which keeps alumni up to date on news from the association and the university. The only requirement for membership is that alumni maintain contact with the Office of Alumni Affairs, provide an up-to-date address for alumni files, and keep the association informed about their personal progress and career achievements.