Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Is anything in this article factually incorrect? Please submit a comment.

Printer-friendly page

Elizabeth City State University

Cheerleaders, Elizabeth City State Teachers College, 1949  From the 1949 edition of The Viking, Elizabeth City State University's yearbook (p. 87). Image courtesy of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City was founded in 1891 as the Normal and Industrial School when the General Assembly passed a bill introduced by Hugh Cale, an African American legislator from Pasquotank County. The institution was established for the specific purpose of "teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina." Under the school's first principal and later president, Peter Weddick Moore, the institute grew both academically and physically in its first years.

In 1937 the school became a four-year teachers college, and the name was changed to Elizabeth City State Teachers College. The expanded school granted its first bachelor's degrees in 1939 in elementary education. In 1972 it became a constituent institution of the consolidated University of North Carolina System, and its current name was formally adopted.

By the early 2000s Elizabeth City State University offered 34 baccalaureate degree programs in the basic arts and sciences, selected professional and preprofessional areas, and an Advanced Master's Degree in Elementary Education through four schools-the School of Arts and Humanities, the School of Business and Economics, the School of Education and Psychology, and the School of Mathematics, Science and Technology. The institution also maintains a nursery school and kindergarten and offers degrees in such fields as geology, physics, accounting, criminal justice, industrial technology, political science, music, merchandising, computer science, and middle grades education. Elizabeth City State has an interracial, international faculty teaching more than 2,000 students from a wide range of geographic and ethnic origins.

Educator Resources:

Grades K-8:


Evelyn Johnson, History of Elizabeth City State University: A Story of Survival (1980).

William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1970).

Additional Resources:

Elizabeth City State University:

1937 act to change name, Public laws and resolutions passed by the General Assembly at its session of...[1938-1939], North Carolina Digital Collections:

Laws and resolutions of the State of North Carolina, passed by the General Assembly at its session [1891], North Carolina Digital Collections:

NC Highway Historical Marker A-37:

Image Credit:

Cheerleaders, Elizabeth City State Teachers College, 1949  From the 1949 edition of The Viking, Elizabeth City State University's yearbook (p. 87). Image courtesy of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. Available from (accessed November 15, 2012).



What was the tuition in 1950?


You can contact the university library at, they may have old handbooks from the 1950s to help give you an accurate answer. 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at