Elizabeth City State University
Former name
State Colored Normal School at Elizabeth City (1891–1937)
Elizabeth City State Teachers College (1937–1961)
Elizabeth City State College (1961–1969)
Motto"To Live is to Learn"
TypePublic historically black university
EstablishedMarch 3, 1891; 132 years ago (March 3, 1891)
Parent institution
University of North Carolina
Academic affiliations
Endowment$16.7 million (2021)[1]
ChancellorKarrie G. Dixon
Location, ,
United States

36°16′52″N 76°12′54″W / 36.28120°N 76.21512°W / 36.28120; -76.21512
CampusDistant town[2], 200 acres (0.81 km2)
ColorsRoyal blue and white[3]
Sporting affiliations

Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) is a public historically Black university in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. It enrolls nearly 2,500 students in 28 undergraduate programs and 4 graduate programs and is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the University of North Carolina system.


Lane Hall (1909), the oldest campus building

Elizabeth City State University was established by the North Carolina General Assembly on March 3, 1891, as the State Colored Normal School at Elizabeth City, in response to a bill calling for the creation of a two-year Normal School for the "teaching and training [of] teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina." Peter Weddick Moore was its first leader.[4] The school provided training for teachers of primary grades.

The campus quadrangle and six surrounding buildings are included in the Elizabeth City State Teachers College Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.[5][6]

In 1937, the school made the transformation into a full four-year teachers college and was officially named Elizabeth City State Teachers College, while expanding its role to include the training of principals as well. In 1939, the college awarded its first bachelor of science degrees in its program of elementary education.[7] Within the following twenty-five years, the college expanded its offerings to include a vocational-technical program and a total of thirteen academic majors.

In December 1961, the college gained membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1963 its name was changed to Elizabeth City State College. In 1969, its name was changed to Elizabeth City State University to reflect expansion and the addition of graduate programs. When the University of North Carolina System was formed in 1972, ECSU became one of the system's sixteen constituent universities and entered into its current phase of development and organization.[8] ECSU is home to the only four-year aviation science degree program in North Carolina.[9]

In 2020, Elizabeth City State received $15 million from MacKenzie Scott. Her donation is the largest single gift in the university's history.[10]

List of Chief Executive Officers



ECSU's campus encompasses 200 acres (0.81 km2), mostly flanked by residential districts.


ECSU offers 28 baccalaureate degrees and four master's degrees in one of the following academic departments:[15]

ECSU also offers special programs that appeal to various interests and fields of study, including the honors program (for high-achieving undergraduates), military science, and study abroad.[16]

Student life

Students can choose to be involved in various on-campus organizations, including fraternities, sororities, radio station WRVS-FM, campus TV station, and intramural sports.[17] Students are able to join the Student Government Association to help make campus life more interesting for student continuing to enroll here. Also, students can choose to apply to Vikings Assisting New Students to lead the New Student Orientation and answer any questions that parents or student may have about the school and campus life


Main article: Elizabeth City State Vikings

As a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, ECSU's athletes, known athletically as the Vikings, compete in the Division II athletic conference known as the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Reggie Langhorne 1984 Former NFL wide receiver
Anthony Hilliard 2009 Professional basketball player
Larry Johnson, Sr. 1973 Former NFL linebacker, current assistant head coach at The Ohio State University; six-time Maryland high school Coach of the Year
Jethro Pugh 1964 Former NFL defensive tackle
Mike Gale 1970 Former professional basketball player in both the ABA and the NBA [18]
Johnnie Walton 1975 Former NFL quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Boston Breakers of the USFL.
Everett McIver 1993 Former NFL offensive guard
Bobby Futrell 1985 Former NFL defensive back
Tim Cofield 1985 Former NFL and CFL linebacker
Stanley Bryant Former NFL and current CFL offensive lineman
Omari Salisbury Journalist, videographer, founder of Converge Media [19]
Kenny Williams Professional basketball player


  1. ^ "Data USA - ECSU".
  2. ^ "IPEDS-Elizabeth City State University".
  3. ^ "Brand Identity".
  4. ^ Newbold, N.C. (1939). Five North Carolina Negro Educators. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina. pp. 88–114.
  5. ^ Tom Butchko (September 1992). "Elizabeth City State Teachers College Historic District" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2015-02-01.
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  7. ^ Wadelington, Charles W. "Elizabeth City State University". NCpedia. North Carolina Government & Heritage Library. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Our History". Elizabeth City State University. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  9. ^ Elizabeth City State University. "Aviation Program". www.ecsu.edu. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  10. ^ "Elizabeth City State receives largest gift from billionaire". HBCU Gameday. Dec 15, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  11. ^ "Presidents/Chancellors". Elizabeth City State University. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Elizabeth City State University chancellor abruptly quits". Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  13. ^ Hawley, Jon (4 September 2014). "UNC board names new chancellor of ECSU". The Daily Advance. Elizabeth City, NC. Archived from the original on 9 September 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  14. ^ "The New Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina". Dec 24, 2018. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  15. ^ "Academic Affairs". Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  16. ^ University has programs that appeal to various interests and fields of study, including the honors program, military science, study abroad and Viking Fellows for education majors.
  17. ^ "Student Life". Elizabeth City State University. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  18. ^ "NBA/ABA Players who attended Elizabeth City State University". databaseSports.com. Archived from the original on 2006-05-06. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
  19. ^ "Converge Media's Omari Salisbury in Conversation with KING 5's Joyce Taylor This Saturday". South Seattle Emerald. 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2021-03-02.