North Carolina Wesleyan University
Former names
North Carolina Wesleyan College (1956–2022)
MottoWisdom and Courage through Christian Education
TypePrivate university
EstablishedOctober 25, 1956; 67 years ago (1956-10-25)
PresidentEvan D. Duff[1]
Campus200 acres (81 ha)[2]
Colors   Blue & Gold
NicknameBattling Bishops
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III, USA South Athletic Conference [3]

North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU) is a private Methodist university in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. It was founded in 1956. North Carolina Wesleyan offers courses at its main Rocky Mount campus, as well as satellite locations in Brunswick, Durham, Goldsboro, Greenville, Manteo, New Bern, Raleigh, Washington, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.


Aerial view of campus from the early 1960s

On May 14, 1956, the North Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church met in Goldsboro and approved a petition from the citizens of the city of Rocky Mount to locate a college in their community. The college was officially chartered by the State of North Carolina on October 25, 1956. Capital investments totaling approximately $2 million made possible the construction of the main buildings on the 200-acre site donated by the M.C. Braswell heirs of Rocky Mount, and four years later 92 students enrolled in the first class at North Carolina Wesleyan College. In 1964, 33 students received their degrees at the college's first Commencement. Nearly 9,000 students have earned bachelor's degrees in the arts and sciences and selected professional disciplines since its founding.[4]

In 2015, Wesleyan added its first two master's programs. Seven years later, the college changed its name to "university" in 2022.


Aerial view of campus
Students at the Bishop Bistro

The 200-acre (81 ha) Rocky Mount campus includes six residence halls, nine academic and administrative buildings, the Everett Gymnasium, The Dunn Center, and outdoor athletic facilities, including a soccer field, baseball field, tennis courts, Indoor Sports & Education Facility, artificial turf field, intramural fields, and softball field. There is also an on-campus Starbucks attached to the Pearsall Library. In addition to a residential campus, Wesleyan has developed a strong multi-campus Adult & Professional degree program with locations in Brunswick, Durham, Goldsboro, Greenville, Manteo, New Bern, Raleigh, Washington, Wilmington and Winston-Salem in addition to the main campus in Rocky Mount.[5]


The university offers 33 undergraduate programs, 34 minor programs, four graduate degrees and four certificate programs.[6] It is a member of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church.

The Roger G. and Gaile Davenport Taylor Honors Program

NCWU honors students

North Carolina Wesleyan University offers a select group of students the opportunity to complement their degree program with a series of challenging and rewarding courses. Freshmen take special courses in composition and humanities. Honors Program students then take one honors course each semester during their sophomore and junior years. As seniors, students complete an Honors Project in some area of interest. The Honors Program offers students the opportunity to develop a close community of learning and to take courses from some of the best faculty members at the university. Being in the Honors Program does not add to a student's course load, but it does add variety and depth to her or his higher education experience. Transcripts of Honors graduates include recognition that they completed the Honors Program.[7]

Student life

Students enjoying the annual end of year block party

As of fall 2023, 1,337 students were enrolled.[8] Wesleyan has a growing international student population from 40+ countries. The university community includes people from diverse religious, cultural, and racial backgrounds.[9] All students receive free parking on campus, admission to regular season athletic games, and access to the student health center. In addition, books are included in tuition and there is no application fee.[10]

Honor societies



North Carolina Wesleyan is a member of NCAA Division III and the USA South Athletic Conference. They are known as the Battling Bishops with 16 Division III sports teams:



6 USA South Athletic Conference Championships in 2020-21

120 Total Championships

14 Consecutive USA South Athletic Conference Men's Tennis Championships


The university's football program was established in 2005 with its home stadium at its Rocky Mount campus. The NCWU football team finished the 2007 regular season with an 8–2 mark, its best overall record in the program's short history. The Battling Bishops made it to the NCAA Division III Football tournament as the USA South champion, where they upset top-seed Washington & Jefferson in the first round 35–34. Not only was this Wesleyan's first post-season victory, but the first time the top seed lost to a number 8 seed since 1975.[11]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "North Carolina Wesleyan University: Administration - President". North Carolina Wesleyan University. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  2. ^ "North Carolina Wesleyan University: The Campus". North Carolina Wesleyan University. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  3. ^ "N.C. Wesleyan". NCWU Sports. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  4. ^ "North Carolina Wesleyan University: History". North Carolina Wesleyan University. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  5. ^ "North Carolina Wesleyan University: Adult Studies Locations". North Carolina Wesleyan University. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  6. ^ "North Carolina Wesleyan University: Academics". North Carolina Wesleyan University. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  7. ^ "North Carolina Wesleyan University: Academics - Honors Program". North Carolina Wesleyan University. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  8. ^ "North Carolina Wesleyan University: Key Facts". North Carolina Wesleyan University. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  9. ^ "North Carolina Wesleyan University: Bishop Beliefs". North Carolina Wesleyan University. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Fast Facts". NCWU. Retrieved 2023-08-02.
  11. ^ "Sports Story". Rocky Mount Telegram. November 18, 2007. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Student's Rare Talent Recognized Internationally | North Carolina Wesleyan University". 2011-05-17. Archived from the original on 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2023-12-09.

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