University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Former names
Croatan Normal School (1887–1911)
Indian Normal School of Robeson County (1911–1913)
Cherokee Indian Normal School of Robeson County (1913–1941)
Pembroke State College for Indians (1941–1949)
Pembroke State College (1949–1969)
Pembroke State University (1969–1996)
TypePublic university
EstablishedMarch 7, 1887; 137 years ago (March 7, 1887)[1]
Parent institution
University of North Carolina
Endowment$24.5 million (2020)[2]
ChancellorRobin Gary Cummings
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States
CampusDistant town[4], 281 acres (1.1 km2)
NewspaperThe Pine Needle
ColorsBlack and gold[5]
Sporting affiliations
MascotRed-Tailed Hawk

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNC Pembroke or UNCP) 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.[6]


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 were understood to be of key importance to retaining Lumbee culture, instilling a sense of pride, and improving the group's 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 McMillan of Robeson County.[7][8] This event occurred in the context of competition for support between the Democratic and Republican parties in North Carolina. Hamilton MacMillan's support for the school was connected to his personal 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 included descendants of the Outer Banks Lost Colony of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Croatan Normal School in Pates c. 1909

The normal school opened in the spring of 1888 with one teacher and 15 students with the goal of training American Indian public school teachers.[9] 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 a 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.[8]

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.[8] Between 1939 and 1953, Pembroke State was the only state-supported four-year college for Native Americans 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.


The water feature at UNCP. Belk Hall and North Hall are in the background.

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 as well as socialize in the lounge.[10] The dining hall and a fast-food outlet are located in the UC.[11]

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. 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, the Auxiliary building, the Jones Athletic Center, and the Givens Performing Arts Center make up most of the north end of campus.[12]

The campus is home to Givens Performing Arts Center, a regional center for culture, arts, and entertainment. GPAC 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.[13]


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.


Lumbee Hall, the main administration building
Givens Performing Arts Center



The Alicia and Whitney Jones bridge leading to the Mary Livermore Library[20]
Faculty Row - Library on the right
Lowry Bell Tower from the Water Feature[21]

UNC Pembroke currently offers hundreds of pathways to graduate and undergraduate degrees and is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Sciences, McKenzie-Elliott School of Nursing, Thomas School of Business, School of Education, and The Graduate School.

Departments of the College of Arts and Sciences

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

Departments of the College of Health Sciences

  • Nursing
  • Social Work
  • Kinesiology

Departments of the Thomas School of Business

Main article: UNCP School of Business

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

Departments of the School of Education

  • Educational Leadership & Specialties
  • Teacher Education Program
  • Counseling

The Graduate School Programs

  • Art Education
  • 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
  • Special Education
  • 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.[3] In addition, classes are taught exclusively by professors, instructors, or other faculty. There are no classes on campus taught by graduate assistants. The school has an enrollment of 8,319 students; of these, 6,318 students are undergraduate, and 2,001 are graduate students.[3] The fall 2021 enrollment marks the fourth consecutive year of record enrollment growth.


Academic rankings
Washington Monthly[22]190
U.S. News & World Report[23]65

The 2024 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranks the University #45 in Regional Universities South and #19 in Top Public Schools.[24] It’s also ranked #16 in Best Colleges for Veterans and #10 in Best Undergraduate Teaching.[24]

Sports, clubs, and traditions


Main article: UNC Pembroke Braves

See also: UNC Pembroke Braves football

English E. Jones Athletic Center

UNC Pembroke's athletic teams are known as the Braves. Due to its heritage as an institution founded by American Indians for the education of American Indians and the continued 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 Conference Carolinas and the Mountain East Conference. The school fields varsity sports teams for women and men.

Greek life and student organizations

UNCP, as well as the Office of Greek Life and the Campus Engagement & Leadership office, offers 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.[25]


While the Netflix show The Chair is situated in a Pembroke University, it is a fictional Ivy League University and not the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.[27]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "UNCP Founders".
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20. National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA (Report). February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Quick Facts". The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  4. ^ "IPEDS-University of North Carolina at Pembroke".
  5. ^ "UNC Pembroke Style Guide" (PDF). February 18, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Eliades, David K.; Locklear, Lawrence T.; Oxendine, Linda (2019). Hail to UNCP!: A 125-Year History of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. University of North Carolina at Pembroke. ISBN 9781597150989.
  7. ^ Locklear, Lawrence T. "UNCP's Founding Fathers". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c "History of UNCP". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  9. ^ "History". The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  10. ^ "James B. Chavis University Center at UNC Pembroke". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 20, 2007.
  11. ^ "University Dining > Locations". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 20, 2007.
  12. ^ "UNC Pembroke > Campus Map". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 20, 2007.
  13. ^ "Givens Performing Arts Center > Distinguished Speaker Series". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  14. ^ "UNCP Mourns Loss of Former Chancellor Dr. Joseph B. Oxendine". The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. April 15, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  15. ^ "Allen C. Meadors is Named UNCP's Chancellor". UNCP - University Newswire (Press release). April 10, 1999.
  16. ^ "Chancellor Takes Position At Alma Mater". The Pilot. June 21, 2009.
  17. ^ "Charles Jenkins named Interim Chancellor at UNCP". The Pilot. July 5, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  18. ^ "Dr. Kyle Carter Named UNCP's Fifth Chancellor". The Pilot. May 16, 2010. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  19. ^ Ellis, Elaine (27 May 2015). "Cummings Leaves NCDHHS to Become Chancellor of UNC-Pembroke". North Carolina Medical Society. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  20. ^ "UNCP dedicates campus landmark to Pembroke family". May 17, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "Landmarks & Points of Interest". Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  22. ^ "2023 Master's University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  23. ^ "Best Colleges 2023: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  24. ^ a b "University of North Carolina--Pembroke Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  25. ^ "Office of Student Life > Student Organizations". University of North Carolina at Pembroke. August 23, 2007.
  26. ^ a b Greek Life | The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  27. ^ "Netflix's 'The Chair' Skewers Liberal Arts Education". Bustle. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  28. ^ "Derek Brunson UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014-01-01.
  29. ^ report, A. staff. "UNC Pembroke alum Pardon Ndhlovu qualifies for Olympics". The Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved 2024-05-21.
  30. ^ "Julian Pierce: A Biographical Sketch". The Carolina Indian Voice. 2 November 1978. p. 6.
  31. ^ "They Believed They Could So They Did". ONR Distinguished Lecture Series. Office of Naval Research. Archived from the original on 2020-04-12. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  32. ^ kymberli.hagelberg, Kymberli Hagelberg (2016-03-15). "Funeral arrangements pending for educator, activist Ruth Revels". Greensboro News and Record. Retrieved 2024-05-21.

34°41′15″N 79°12′07″W / 34.68760°N 79.20200°W / 34.68760; -79.20200