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Message from the Chancellor: NCCU Brand Identity Update


April 26, 2018

Dear NCCU Family:

Over the past week, we have received feedback from many of you – our dedicated and passionate students, faculty, staff and alumni – on the new university brand that we unveiled on April 17. It was never our intention to portray our institution in any manner but one that affirms the distinctiveness of NCCU. We sincerely apologize to anyone who felt hurt or offended.

As the heartbeat of this institution, we want you to know that we hear you and want to take this opportunity to provide information and share context behind the development of the new brand.

First, we want to clarify a few facts about some items that we know you hold dear.

  •  North Carolina Central University will continue to be referred to as North Carolina Central University.
  • The university will continue using the motto “In Truth And Service.”
  • The seal, featuring our founder, Dr. James E. Shepard, will continue to be used for official university correspondence.
  • The Eagle mark and Soaring Eagle logo will continue to be used by the Department of Athletics. 
  • The university has not lost its identity as a historically black college or university (HBCU).

About the New NCCU Brand

For more than 100 years, NCCU has had a rich heritage of producing change agents, leaders, scholars and innovators. And, as we’ve rapidly grown over the years, the look of the NCCU brand needed a fresh, contemporary feel, one that showcases our expanded relevance and vitality as an institution of access and opportunity, which is also a key deliverable of the university’s The Eagle Promise 2017-2018 Strategic Priorities.

So, in 2016, NCCU engaged a branding agency – Engine Brandmakers – to develop an innovative, creative brand identity and tagline to achieve the following goals:

  • Honor NCCU’s HBCU legacy, while simultaneously looking toward the future.
  • Appeal to our diverse university community.
  • Better reflect the university’s rapidly expanding academic programs.

During the process, the university conducted focus groups, which included NCCU students, alumni, faculty, staff and university supporters, to develop this mark to replace the nearly 14-year-old logo displaying NCCU’s name and bearing the image of the Hoey Administration Building. Both of these logos were created for marketing purposes only.

In developing the new logo and tagline – Discover what’s Central to you. – the incorporation of quoins, the architectural elements that signify permanence and strength that can be found in NCCU’s historic administration building, were used as the focal point. In the logo, the quoins were positioned to resemble the wings of an eagle, a symbol of pride and achievement, and our university mascot. Simply put, this symbol was to serve as both a foundational and aspirational image for our campus.

We realize that change can be difficult, but also know that as the university continues to rapidly grow and gain international notoriety, it will be necessary from time to time. The proud 107-year-old tradition that have built and shaped NCCU’s reputation as a powerhouse institution of higher education still rings true today, and that will NEVER change. You are an important part of this legacy, and we can’t move forward without your support and voice. We look forward to receiving your feedback on future endeavors.

For more information, visit http://www.nccu.edu/formsdocs/proxy.cfm?file_id=4289

In Truth and Service,

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D.



Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018
by Director of Marketing and Communications, Quiana M Shepard
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