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University Archives

Historical Timeline



January 26: Legislation to establish institution introduced by the Honorable Hugh Cale (b.1835-d.1910), a black Pasquotank County Representative in the North Carolina General Assembly.


March 3: Cale's Bill enacted into law; State Board of Education directed to establish school.


January 4 "Elizabeth City Colored Normal School" began operations on Roanoke Avenue with 2 teachers and 23 students, $900 appropriation, and Peter Weddick (P.W.) Moore (b.1859-d.1934) as Principal.


May 29: Graduating class of six students--no graduates from 1893 to 1895.


First High School curriculum offered.


Spring: First Baseball Team.


September 9: Institution began operations at present location with two brick buildings: Lane and Symera Halls.


Fall: First Football Team.


First Collegiate level courses offered.


June: First Yearbook - The Normal Light; dedicated to Principal Moore. A student newspaper - The Blue & White Banner - preceded this publication.


After serving 37 years, Dr. Moore retired effective July 1st and became the first President Emeritus (1928 - 1934) of a North Carolina public senior institution.


Dr. John Henry Bias (b.1879-d.1939) elected second President.


March 30: Name change - "State Normal School" became "Elizabeth City State Teachers College."


May 19: First baccalaureate degrees awarded to 27 graduates (Elementary Education).


July 15: President Bias died.


November 18: Dr. Harold Leonard Trigg (b.1893-d.1978) became the third President.


Golden Jubilee - 50th Anniversary.


January 1: Dr. Sidney David Williams (b.1892-d.1974), former Dean, became the fourth President, following President's Trigg's resignation in December 1945.


September 1: Upon Dr. Williams' retirement, Dr. Walter Nathaniel Ridley (b.1910-d.1996) became the fifth President.


Student newspaper renamed "Compass" succeeding the State Normal Banner and STC Newsletter. Students suggested the name.


May 27: First graduating class in twenty-three years to include degree-granting majors other than Elementary Education—Business Education, General Science (Biology concentration), and Social Sciences (teaching major).


May 15 Name Change: "Elizabeth City State Teachers College" became "Elizabeth City State College."


Intercollegiate athletic teams and yearbooks changed name from "Pirates" to "Vikings".


President made around-the-world educational tour, resulting in greater internationalism among faculty.
Student enrollment breaks the 1,000 mark.


Dr. Herman Glenn Cooke (b.1918-d.1977), Professor and Chair of Biology, received international acclaim for his discovery of an unknown species of Chironomid, subsequently named in his honor.


Diamond Jubilee - 75th Anniversary - celebrations included four Presidents: Dr. Trigg, Dr. Williams, Dr. Ridley, and Dr. Thorpe.


July 1: Dr. Marion Dennis Thorpe (b.1932-d.1983) became the sixth President upon Dr. Ridley's June 30th resignation.


Office of Institutional Research established (Fall semester).


Name change: "Elizabeth City State College" became "Elizabeth City State University."
Dr. Williams became the second President Emeritus (1969 - 1974).


July 1: ECSU became one of sixteen constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina (UNC) system and title of "President" changed to "Chancellor". Therefore, President Thorpe became the first Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, under the new UNC system change.


First SGA President to become an ex-officio Trustee (Darryl E. Morris, Class of 1972).


February 28: Basketball team won CIAA Championship.


December: ECSU addressed by Mrs. Coretta Scott King.


April 28: Chancellor Thorpe died after an extended illness. His final major public appearance had been on Founders Day when he received a standing ovation for his address.

June 27: The North Carolina General Assembly passed a Joint Resolution in his honor - believed to be the first of its nature.

October 28, North Carolina Central University, his alma mater, conferred upon him posthumously the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.


May 1: Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, named Acting Chancellor by President William Clyde Friday.


October 14: Jimmy Raymond Jenkins (b.1943-), ECSC Class of 1965, elected as second Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University by the UNC Board of Governors and becoming the first ECSU chief executive named by that Board [seventh Chief Executive Officer overall], and the first alumnus to hold such office at any NC institution of higher learning. Chancellor Jenkins subsequently named "Tar Heel of the Week" (Raleigh News & Observer, November 13).


March 26: Institution gains approval for Radio Station WRVS-FM - the call letters (approved June 19) representing "Wonderful Radio Viking Style."


January 13 -20: ECSU participates in first nationwide observance of birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) as a legal holiday, with week-long series of assemblies, audio and video events, exhibits, and a march.


March 3: Founders Day - First designations of Trustees Emeriti - John C. Bias '26; J. Wilbert Forbes; Leroy B. Fraiser; Clifford B. Jones Sr.; Fred P. Markham III; J. Samuel Roebuck; Martin Luther Wilson '26.


March 18: First broadcast by WRVS-FM, at 6:00 p.m.


March 3: Dr. Walter N. Ridley named third President Emeritus (1988-1996).


February 28: "State Teachers College" Historic District won entrance into National Register of Historic Places.


September 1: UNC President C. Dixon Spangler Jr. appointed Dr. Mickey L. Burnim to serve as Interim Chancellor following Dr. Jenkins' August 31 resignation.


December 19: ECSU Trustees named Dr. Jenkins Chancellor Emeritus.


June 14: Dr. Mickey Lynn Burnim (b.1949-) elected by the UNC Board of Governors to become ECSU's eighth Chief Executive Officer and formally installed as the third Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University on October 19th.


First Graduate programs established.


NCAA Foundation and USA Today rank ECSU in Top 10 of NCAA Division II Colleges for graduation rate of student athletes.


March: ECSU Men's Basketball Team became 2007 CIAA Champions. Vikings defeated Virginia Union University 63- 60 to capture the title.


October: Installation of Dr. Willie J. Gilchrist (b.1950-) as the ninth Chief Executive Officer and fourth Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, after serving the University as Interim Chancellor for five months. He is the second alumni to hold this office.


February: Celeste Trahan, first woman in the ECSU History and the fourth overall to have her jersey (#00) retired because of her accomplishments in Women's Basketball.


May: First graduating class of Pharmacy students.


May: First graduating class of Masters of School Administration.


November: Lady Vikings Volleyball team captured the 2008 CIAA Championship.


March: Bowling team captured the 2008-2009 CIAA Championship.


June: ECSU wins $50,000 Retool Your School Grant from Home Depot.  The Home Depot grant program is designed to encourage and recognize innovative environmentally friendly projects that contribute to the campus of HBCUs.


October: ECSU celebrated the arrival of Air Viking I, a new, single engine airplane (Cessna Skyhawk) which was purchased for the purpose of training Aviation Science students.


January: Walter R. Davis School of Business and Economics accredited by AACSB Industrial Technology program is accredited by ATMAE.


March: Miss ECSU Alana Simmons was crowned Food Lion Miss CIAA "1st time in ECSU History".


March: Legacy Room opened at ECSU to display university icons.


September: ECSU ranked #2 by US News and World Report in its 2012 edition.


Washington Monthly ranked ECSU #1 among baccalaureate colleges in the publication's annual college guide.


October: ECSU celebrated the arrival of Air Viking II, a new, single engine airplane (Cessna Skyhawk-172SP Model).


December: Willie and Jacqueline Gilchrist Education and Psychology Complex Building Dedication Ceremony- The building named in honor of the Chancellor and Mrs. Gilchrist, both graduates of ECSU. Two planned gifts to the Gilchrist Scholarship fund were announced. The couple's two sons, daughter-in-law, and their daughter and son-in-law gave a $75,000 donation and a $30,000 donation from Mr. and Mrs. Leonard (Ann) Carmichael, both alumni of ECSU.


U.S. News & World Report ranked ECSU #1 in the South in Top Public Schools category and #18 in the country amongst HBCUs.


For the second consecutive year (2012-2013), Washington Monthly ranked ECSU #1 among baccalaureate colleges.


Mr. Charles L. Becton was appointed Interim Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University (July 2013-August 2014)


For the third consecutive year (2012-2014), Washington Monthly ranked ECSU #1 among baccalaureate colleges.


Nine ECSU students selected for inclusion in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, an exclusive honor conferred by more than 2,842 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


ECSU ranks third #3 among the top, public Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) Green Initiatives. U.S. News and World Report ranked ECSU #6 on U. S. News' list of Historically Black Colleges where freshmen are most likely to return.


The university's first woman chancellor, Stacey Franklin Jones, was appointed as the tenth Chief Executive Officer and fifth Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University (2014-2015).


ECSU's newly formed chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI) reached a milestone when they attained official, provisional chapter status.


The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded Elizabeth City State University a $1.1 million grant to strengthen aviation education and workforce development in northeastern North Carolina.


Washington Monthly ranked ECSU among Best Bang for the Buck Institutions. ECSU was listed as the #1 institution for "The 100 Most Affordable Small Colleges in America 2015" (Best Value Schools website).


ECSU is a proud member of the 2015 Military Friendly School Association. Elizabeth City State University is one of approximately 1,600 Military Friendly® Schools-- institutions that exhibit leading practices to support military students. 


For the fourth consecutive year (2012-2015), Washington Monthly ranked ECSU #1 among baccalaureate colleges.


Elizabeth City State University’s bachelor’s degree program in engineering technology has been accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Inc. ABET is the recognized accrediting body of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.


The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) a $956,250 grant to assist in its mission to provide aviation technology and research to support counter-poaching efforts in Kenya.


ECSU is a proud member of the 2016 Military Friendly School Association. Elizabeth City State University is one of approximately 1,600 Military Friendly® Schools-- institutions that exhibit leading practices to support military students. 


Dr. Thomas Conway was appointed Interim Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University.


Founded in 1891Elizabeth City State University is celebrating its 125th Anniversary- A Proud Heritage of Inspired Excellence (1891-2016).


Dr. Thomas Conway (b.1949-d.2020) installed as eleventh Chief Executive Officer and sixth Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University.


May: First-Ever ECSU ‘Day of Giving’ Campaign launched to raise $150K to benefit community and university-related causes.


December 14: Dr. Karrie Dixon was named twelfth Chief Executive Officer and seventh Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University.


NC Promise Tuition Program began Fall 2018 for ECSU and three other UNC System schools by the North Carolina General Assembly to significantly reduce student costs (In-state tuition $500/semester & Out-of-state tuition $2,500/semester).


October: Historic Marker honored Peter Weddick (P.W.) Moore for legacy and influence in the community’s education.


STEM Complex building renovated to house Department of Health & Human Studies and Department of Aviation & Emergency Management programs.


ECSU’s Academic Program Realignment Taskforce expanded academic areas of focus to align with the university’s strategic priorities.


April: ECSU Technology Team designed and produced 3D-printed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); face shields cost 25 cents each to produce and can protect workers from the spread of virus.


June: ECSU awarded $1 million from NC Policy Collaboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill to fight COVID-19.


November 13: ECSU received a $15 million donation from MacKenzie Scott--the largest private gift ever given to ECSU.


ECSU generated a total of $20.2 million in State & Federal Grants and Contracts for 2021-2022.


ECSU became a regional site for COVID-19 testing & vaccinations. During 2021-2022 academic year, more than 10,900 COVID-19 tests were conducted & the positivity rate stood at 0.9% or lower. From April 2021 through May 2022, the ECSU Clinic provided 3,962 vaccinations and reached all 21 counties in ECSU’s service area.


Coach David Brooks (ECSU Volleyball) named CIAA Volleyball Coach of the Year for two consecutive years (2021 & 2022).


September: G.R. Little Library established satellite location for North Carolina Digital Heritage Center with $163K+ Grant from State Library of North Carolina.


ECSU ranked #1 Most Affordable Four-Year HBCU (Student Loan Hero). 


#1 HBCU in the NationHelping students from lower-income households achieve economic success (Third Way). Also #1 HBCU in the NationIn economic return (DegreeChoices.com).


July: ECSU received $76K+ Grant for Campus and Community Wellness Initiative


Coach Tynesha Lewis (ECSU Women’s Basketball) named CIAA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year (2021-2022).


ECSU’s student enrollment is highest count in eight years (FY23).


October: ECSU and North Carolina Civil Rights Trail unveiled first-of-its-kind Historic Marker in Elizabeth City honoring Civil Rights Student Activists from 1960 sit-ins. ECSU and National Votes for Women Trail dedicated Historic Marker in Elizabeth City honoring Annie E. Jones, a Women’s Suffrage Leader, only one of three such trail markers in the state.


November 12: Lady Vikings Volleyball team seized the 2022 CIAA Volleyball Championship for the second time in history.


January 31: ECSU awarded $2.1 million from National Telecommunications and Information Administration to strengthen & expand high-speed internet access for campus and surrounding counties.


February 25: Lady Vikings Basketball team captured the 2023 CIAA Women’s Basketball Championship for the first time ever.


March 22: ECSU Lady Vikings’ Volleyball & Basketball Teams honored by NC General Assembly and Representative Bill Ward.


April 12: ECSU named a Purple Heart University for service to military community and U.S. News & World Report’s #4 (2022) Best Colleges for Veterans (Regional Colleges in the South).


Contact the University Archivist:

A. Paige Hendrickson
G.R. Little Library
Campus Box 819
Elizabeth City, NC 27909