More than a century after its establishment as a land-grant institution in 1887, North Carolina State University continues to follow the mission upon which it was founded —to provide teaching, research, and extension services to the people of North Carolina.
Founded in 1887, NC State—then known as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts—began classes in the fall of 1889 with 72 students, six faculty, and one building.
Today the university has more than 31,000 students, 8,000 faculty and staff and more than 700 buildings.
In the early 1900s, two federal programs sparked a new era in extension and outreach work at the college. An agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1909 led to what is now known as the 4-H
program. The passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 enabled land-grant colleges to establish state, county, and local extension programs to further support their existing demonstration work, leading North Carolina to establish the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service at State College.
Although the term "State College" had been in use for years, the broadening of the school’s teaching, research, and extension activities led the Board of Trustees to officially adopt the name. By the 1920s, State College was beginning to grow beyond its original agriculture and mechanical focus, adding schools of engineering, science and business, textiles, education, and a graduate school.
The Depression brought on economic challenges for higher education throughout the state, but as the Depression slowly receded, the college renewed its growth in numbers of students and development of programs. The onset of World War II brought with it more changes for the university, namely lower enrollments and reductions in programs.
Despite these difficulties, State College made contributions to the war effort by hosting a number of military detachments and training exercises, and refitting the work of several departments and programs to military and defense purposes. The campus experienced unparalleled growth during the postwar years as the G.I. Bill brought thousands of former servicemen to campus.
In the following decades, the college continued to expand its curricula, creating schools of design, forestry, physical science and mathematics, and humanities and social sciences. During these years of growth, the name was changed again, this time to North Carolina State University at Raleigh.
The university celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1987,
which also saw the creation of Centennial Campus
, which brings together university and corporate leaders to engage in teaching, research and economic development
Known as the "People's University," NC State has developed into a vital educational and economic resource, and a wealth of university outreach and extension programs
provide services and education to all sectors of the state’s economy and its citizens.
Consistently ranked a national best value
and among the nation’s top 40 public universities, NC State is an active and vital part of North Carolina life.