North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is saddened to inform the campus community that former Chancellor Julius L. Chambers passed away yesterday, Friday, August 2. Chancellor Chambers was the first alumnus to serve as NCCU’s chief executive, a position he held from 1993 to 2001.
“Chancellor Chambers was a trailblazer with a long and distinguished career as a revered educator, attorney and author,” said Dr. Debra Saunders-White, 11th chancellor of NCCU. “His rich legacy will live on forever at his alma mater through the countless initiatives that began during his tenure and continue to thrive today.”
Born and raised in Mt. Gilead, North Carolina, Chancellor Chambers was the third of four children of William and Matilda Chambers. He came to then North Carolina College at Durham in 1954 and graduated summa cum laude in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. While at NCC, he was president of the student body in 1957-1958. In 1959, Chancellor Chambers received a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Michigan and studied law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received the LLB degree with high honors in 1962 and was admitted to the North Carolina bar.
Chancellor Chambers went on to establish North Carolina’s first integrated law firm in Charlotte, and the firm became a leading national advocate for civil rights, voting rights and workers’ rights. From 1984 to 1993, he served as director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. During his eight years as NCCU chancellor, the university grew in size and stature, and made a significant turn toward modern-day disciplines such as biotechnology and homeland security. The Julius L. Chambers Biomedical Biotechnology Research Institute bears his name. During his administration, the university launched a $50 million capital fundraising campaign and established its first ten endowed chairs, including the Charles Hamilton Houston Endowed Chair at the School of Law.
Chancellor Chambers was an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi and the Prince Hall Masonry.
Chancellor Chambers was preceded in death by his wife, Vivian Giles Chambers, who departed this life in June 2012. The Chambers leave their children, Derrick and Judy, three grandchildren, as well as a host of family, friends and colleagues to cherish their memories.
Funeral arrangements have been announced for Chancellor Emeritus Julius L. Chambers who passed away on Friday, Aug. 2. The funeral service will be held on Thursday, Aug. 8, at noon at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3400 Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte. A viewing will be held at 9 a.m. and the family will receive visitors at 11:30 a.m. Both will take place at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. Arrangements are being handled by Long & Son Mortuary Service of Charlotte.
In lieu of flowers, the Chambers family has requested that contributions be made to NCCU (Julius L. Chambers Endowed Scholarship), as well as two other organizations that were dear to Chancellor Emeritus Chambers. Gifts may be made online at: www.nccu.edu/donation/. Please indicate “Julius L. Chambers Endowed Scholarship” in the Designation Instructions. Contributions may also be mailed to the NCCU Foundation, P.O. Box 19363, Durham, NC 27707.