Message from the Chancellor: Happy 110th Anniversary, NCCU!

Posted July 05, 2020, 7:23AM

Dear NCCU Community: 

Today, on July 5, North Carolina Central University celebrates its 110th anniversary. On this day in 1910, Dr. James Edward Shepard opened the doors to students as the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race.

This achievement was especially noteworthy, coming less than 50 years from emancipation, as many in that first class were the grandchildren of slaves.

Dr. Shepard, who was both a pharmacist and a religious educator, envisioned a well-rounded education as one that touches on the mind, body and soul, and was able to raise the money and property to establish his educational institute in Durham. 

Despite changing names and moving from private to public ownership, North Carolina Central University has continued to follow the spirit and vision of Dr. Shepard’s idea that education has a more impressive impact when combined with a commitment to service.

We’re proud that our students donate thousands of hours yearly in carrying out their volunteer initiatives. But even greater good comes from the men and women who graduate with a mission to serve in their professions, whether that be in the sphere of business, law, education, communication, the arts, sciences and even ministry.

While the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic prevent us from currently celebrating this significant anniversary with in-person gatherings and special events, rest assured that we will be recognizing this pivotal moment in the university’s history throughout the year and we hope that you will join us.

For more information and continuous updates on future celebratory events, visit

In Truth and Service,

Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D.


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