University of North Carolina at Pembroke

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP or UNC Pembroke) is a public university in Pembroke, North Carolina. UNC Pembroke is a master's level degree-granting university and part of the University of North Carolina system. Its history is intertwined with that of the Lumbee nation.

University of North Carolina at Pembroke
ChancellorRobin Gary Cummings
Academic staff
Students7,698 (Fall 2019)
Location, ,
United States
153 acres (0.6 km2)
ColorsBlack & Gold[1]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIPeach Belt
MascotRed-Tailed Hawk


The educational institution that developed into UNC Pembroke has its origins in the circumstances of the post Civil War South. This school was a part of the effort of the Lumbee Nation in North Carolina to preserve their unique identity. Access and authority over their own educational system was understood to be of key importance to retaining Lumbee culture, instilling a sense of pride, and to improving the groups economic and social conditions.

Croatan Normal School was created by the General Assembly on March 7, 1887 in response to a local petition, sponsored by North Carolina Representative Hamilton McMillian of Robeson County.[2][3] This event occurred in the context of competition for support between the Democratic and Republican parties on North Carolina. Hamilton MacMillian's support for the school was connected to his personnel interest and research on Native American history and culture. The school's initial name, Croatan Normal School, was selected in accordance with the debatable view that this tribe were descendants of the Outer Banks Lost Colony of Sir Walter Raleigh.

It opened in the fall of 1887 with one teacher and 15 students. With the goal of training American Indian public school teachers. Initially enrollment was limited to the American Indians of Robeson County. In this period school enrollment was often quite limited among the general population. Funding by the state was patchy at best and there was high level of illiteracy. The creation of a centralized training school for teachers was thought to be the best method of addressing this problem in the given circumstances.

In 1909, the school moved to its present location, about a mile east of the original site. The name was changed in 1911 to the Indian Normal School of Robeson County, and again in 1913 to the Cherokee Indian Normal School of Robeson County, tracking the legislature's designation for the Indians of the county, who at one time claimed Cherokee descent. In 1926 the school became a two-year post-secondary normal school; until then it had provided only primary and secondary instruction.[3]

In 1939 it became a four-year institution, and in 1941 was renamed Pembroke State College for Indians. The next year, the school began to offer bachelor's degrees in disciplines other than teaching. In 1945 the college was opened to members of all federally recognized tribes. A change of name to Pembroke State College in 1949 presaged the admission of white students, which was approved in 1953 for up to forty percent of total enrollment. The Brown v. Board of Education ruling the following year by the United States Supreme Court ended race restrictions at the college.[3] Between 1939 and 1953, Pembroke State was the only state supported four-year college for Indians in the United States.

In 1969 the college became Pembroke State University, a regional university that was incorporated into the University of North Carolina system in 1972. The first master's degree program was implemented in 1978. On July 1, 1996, Pembroke State University became The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

On March 14, 2012, UNC Pembroke began a 14-month celebration of its 125th anniversary, to conclude with the spring 2013 Commencement ceremonies in May 2013.


Old Main, UNC Pembroke
Old Main
LocationW of jct. of NC 711 and SR 1340, Pembroke, North Carolina
Coordinates34°41′6″N 79°12′7″W
Area5 acres (2.0 ha)
NRHP reference #76001335[4]
Added to NRHPMay 13, 1976

The university's campus is situated just north of Pembroke, located directly behind N.C. Highway 711. Interstate 74 is located just minutes from campus, as is Interstate 95. The center of campus is considered to be the Chavis University Center (often referred to as the University Center, or the UC). Students can bowl, play pool and related games, or just hang out in the lounge.[5] The dining hall and Chick-fil-A are located in the UC.[6]

The UC lawn, an open grass area in front of the UC, is where students play amateur sports, read on benches, or use the area for free speech. Faculty Row, a thoroughfare for university traffic, essentially divides the campus into east and west sections. The eastern side of campus includes the Livermore Library, Oxendine Science Building, Old Main, and Wellons Hall, among other buildings. The campus on the west side has the Business Administration Building, Education Center, and most of the residence hall communities such as Oak Hall, Pine Hall, North, and Belk. Lumbee Hall, the Dial Humanities building, the Sampson building, Auxiliary building, the Jones Athletic Center and the Givens Performing Arts Center make up most of the north end of campus.[7]

New to campus is Cypress Hall, a residence hall, which opened in August 2011. In addition, the Weinstein Health Sciences Building, which houses Papa John's Pizza, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and the nursing program, opened in August 2012. The Brave Health Center opened on the north end of campus in 2017. [8]

The Givens Performing Arts Center hosts numerous Broadway shows, orchestras, shows geared towards children, and also hosts the "Distinguished Speaker Series," in cooperation with the Association of Campus Entertainment, which has brought in notable people such as Cory Booker, Bill Nye, Jodi Sweetin, Patch Adams, Gabby Douglas and Hill Harper, among many others.[9]


The title of Principal or Superintendent was used prior to 1940. After 1940, when UNC Pembroke became a collegiate-level institution, the title of President was used. Upon becoming a member institution of the University of North Carolina system, the title was changed to Chancellor.


  • Dr. O. H. Browne (1940–1942)
  • Dr. Ralph D. Wellons (1942–1956)
  • Dr. Walter J. Gale (1956–1962)
  • Dr. English E. Jones (1962–1972)


  • Dr. English E. Jones (1972–1979)
  • Dr. Paul R. Givens (1979–1989)
  • Dr. Joseph P. Oxendine (1989–1999)
  • Dr. Allen C. Meadors (1999-2009)[10][11]
  • Dr. Charles R. Jenkins (2009–2010)
  • Dr. Kyle R. Carter (2010–2015)[12]
  • Dr. Robin G. Cummings (2015–present)


UNC Pembroke currently offers 41 bachelor's and 17 master's degrees, and is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences along with the Schools of Business, Education, and Graduate Studies.

Departments of the College of Arts and Sciences

  • American Indian Studies
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Chemistry and Physics
  • English, Theatre & Foreign Languages
  • Geology & Geography
  • History
  • Mass Communication
  • Mathematics & Computer Science
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Philosophy & Religion
  • Political Science & Public Administration
  • Psychology
  • Sociology a& Criminal Justice

Departments of the College of Health Sciences

  • Nursing
  • Social Work
  • Kinesiology
  • Counseling

Departmnets of the School of Business

  • Accounting & Finance
  • Economics & Decision Sciences
  • Management, Marketing & International Business

Departments of the School of Education

  • Educational Leadership & Specialties
  • Teacher Education Program

The Graduate School Programs

  • Art Education
  • Athletic Training
  • Business Administration (accelerated online MBA available)
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Elementary Education
  • English Education
  • English as a Second Language Licensure, Add-on
  • Exercise/Sports Administration concentration in Physical Education (MA)
  • Mathematics Education
  • Middle Grades Education
  • Nursing (MSN)
  • Health & Physical Education
  • Public Administration (MPA)
  • Reading Education
  • School Administration (MSA)
  • Professional School Counseling
  • Science Education
  • Social Studies Education
  • Social Work
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

Students and faculty

UNCP offers small class sizes; the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1, and classes average 20 students.[16] In addition, classes are taught exclusively by professors, instructors, or other faculty. There are no classes on campus taught by graduate assistants. This is where the university's motto "Where learning gets personal" comes from.[17] In fall 2017, the school had an enrollment of 7,698 students; of these, 6,353 students were undergraduate, and 1,345 were graduate students. The school also has 288 full-time faculty and 99 part-time faculty.[16]


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[18] 87
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[19] 270

In U.S. News & World Report's 2020 "America's Best Colleges" edition, UNC Pembroke was ranked in the Regional Universities - South category tied at 87th overall, and tied at 39th in "Top Public Schools", 16th in the "Top Performers on Social Mobility", and tied at 19th on the "Most Innovative Schools" in the same regional category.[20]

Sports, clubs, and traditions


UNC Pembroke's athletic teams are known as the Braves. Due to its heritage as an institution founded for the benefit of American Indians and support from the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the school has largely been immune to the ongoing controversies related to American Indian-themed nicknames and mascots.

The school is a member of the NCAA's Division II and competes in the Peach Belt Conference and the Mountain East Conference. The school fields 16 varsity sports teams.

Greek life and student organizations

UNCP, as well as the Office of Greek Life and the Campus Engagement & Leadership office, offer a variety of extracurricular activities for students. From academic-based and service organizations, to minority organizations and Greek life, UNCP offers more than 100 organizations geared toward the student's specific needs.[21]


School Colors

Since at least 1944, UNCP's official colors have been black and gold, though the color gold has been associated with the school since the 1920s.[23]

Braves and the Red-tailed Hawk

UNC Pembroke's athletic nickname is the Braves while its mascot is the red-tailed hawk. Athletic teams have had the nickname Braves—a term that echoes UNC Pembroke's American Indian heritage—since 1946. The red-tailed hawk was added as a companion to the Brave in 1992. It is indigenous to North America and can be seen soaring high above or perching in the pine trees surrounding campus.
American Indian traditions teach that animals were sent by the Great Creator to serve as guardians and teachers for humans; they are endowed with certain sacred qualities and powers that can be imparted to humans. The powers of specific animals are invoked by adding symbols and images on clothing and personal belongings.
The Braves' athletic uniforms and other campus symbols are adorned with the mascot to invoke the qualities of the red-tailed hawk—speed, keen sight, focus, power, hunting ability, and good luck.[24]

Fight Song

The music to the UNCP fight song was written by Michael Raiber, Professor of Music Education, The University of Oklahoma, in 2004.

Alma Mater: "Hail to UNCP"

The music and lyrics to "Hail to UNCP" were written by faculty members Reba and Ira Pate Lowry in 1954.[25]

Notable alumni

Notable faculty



  1. UNC Pembroke Style Guide (PDF). February 18, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  2. Locklear, Lawrence T. (November 30, 2012). "UNCP's Founding Fathers". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  3. "History of UNCP". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  4. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  5. "James B. Chavis University Center at UNC Pembroke". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 20, 2007.
  6. "University Dining > Locations". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 20, 2007.
  7. "UNC Pembroke > Campus Map". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 20, 2007.
  8. Hickey, Amanda (May 3, 2007). "Construction to continue past '07". The Pine Needle.
  9. "Givens Performing Arts Center > Distinguished Speaker Series". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  10. "Allen C. Meadors is Named UNCP's Chancellor" (Press release). UNCP - University Newswire. April 10, 1999.
  11. "Chancellor Takes Position At Alma Mater". The Pilot. June 21, 2009.
  12. "Dr. Kyle Carter Named UNCP's Fifth Chancellor". The Pilot. May 16, 2010. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  13. "UNCP dedicates campus landmark to Pembroke family". May 17, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  14. "Building & Symbol Information". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  15. "Landmarks & Points of Interest". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  16. "UNC Pembroke > About UNCP". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  17. "University of North Carolina at Pembroke". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 21, 2007.
  18. "Best Colleges 2020: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  19. "2019 Rankings -- Masters Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  20. "University of North Carolina--Pembroke Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  21. "Office of Student Life > Student Organizations". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 23, 2007.
  22. "UNC Pembroke > About UNCP". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 23, 2007.
  23. "UNCP Traditions". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  24. "UNC Pembroke > About UNCP". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. September 29, 2008.
  25. "Derek Brunson UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014-01-01.

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