Winston-Salem State University
Former name
Slater Industrial Academy (1892-1899)
Slater Industrial and Slater Normal School (1899-1925)
Winston-Salem Teachers College (1925-1963)
Winston-Salem State College (1963-1969)
Motto"Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve."
TypePublic historically black university
EstablishedSeptember 28, 1892; 131 years ago (September 28, 1892)
Parent institution
University of North Carolina
Academic affiliation
Endowment$49.8 million (2019)[1]
ChancellorElwood Robinson
ProvostAnthony Graham
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States

36°05′22″N 80°13′30″W / 36.0895°N 80.2251°W / 36.0895; -80.2251
CampusMidsize city, 117 acres (0.47 km2)
NewspaperThe News Argus
ColorsScarlett and white
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II - CIAA
MascotAmon the Ram

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is a historically black public university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It is part of the University of North Carolina system.


Winston-Salem State University was founded as Slater Industrial Academy on September 28, 1892. It began with 25 pupils and one teacher in a one-room frame structure. By 1895 the school was recognized by the State of North Carolina and in 1899 it was chartered by the state as Slater Industrial and Slater Normal School.[4]

In 1925, the North Carolina General Assembly renamed the school Winston-Salem Teachers College and the North Carolina State Board of Education allowed the college to award elementary teacher education degrees, making it the first black institution to provide this specialized training.[4]

The School of Nursing was established in 1953 offering baccalaureate degrees. In 1963 the North Carolina General Assembly authorized changing the name from Winston-Salem Teachers College to Winston-Salem State College. A statute designating Winston-Salem State College as Winston-Salem State University received legislative approval in 1969. On July 1, 1972, Winston-Salem State University became one of 16 constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina.[4]

In 2020, MacKenzie Scott donated $30 million to Winston-Salem State. Her donation is the largest single gift in the university's history.[5]


Winston-Salem State offers over 40 academic majors and 10 graduate degrees. The school enrolls approximately 5,200 students and employs 400 faculty and over 550 staff members.[6]

Colleges & Departments


Winston-Salem State University was ranked the #7 top college in the United States by the Social Mobility Index college rankings.[7]

Winston-Salem State has been ranked #27 by U.S. News & World Report in the Top Public Comprehensive Baccalaureate Colleges of the South category between 2001 and 2009. By 2016, the university had fallen to a ranking of #84 in the same category.[8]


C. G. O’Kelly Library is the main academic library on the campus of Winston-Salem State University, which was originally the Slater Industrial Academy. The original library was housed in Blair Hall until 1967 when the new library was built and O’Kelly Library has gone through two additions and one renovation within the past forty years.[9]


The Alumni House on campus

The campus has more than 40 buildings covering 117 acres (0.47 km2).[10] WSSU's Diggs Gallery was recognized as one of the top African-American galleries in its region.[11]

Student activities


See also: Winston-Salem State Rams and Winston-Salem State Rams men's basketball

WSSU Athletics Logo

Winston-Salem State University is currently a member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) in NCAA Division II. From the 2007–08 season through the 2009–10 season, the Rams competed in the NCAA's Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), despite being a transitional member that was attempting to attain full membership within the MEAC or within NCAA Division I, in which the Rams were also scheduled to begin full membership and gain access to NCAA tournaments in 2011. However, it never occurred due to financial difficulties.[12][13]

The men's basketball team and WSSU cheerleaders at the 2012 CIAA Tournament

Student Organizations

There are over 100 student organizations at WSSU. Including the Student Government Association, fraternities and sororities, Honor societies, and the Red Sea of Sound marching band.[14]

Notable alumni

Earl Monroe, 4x NBA All-Star, NBA Champion, Member of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, WSSU Class of 1967.
Stephen A. Smith, television personality, radio host and sports journalist, Co-host of ESPN First Take, WSSU Class of 1991.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  2. ^ "WSSU enrollment is highest since 2014". Winston-Salem State University. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  3. ^ Winston-Salem State University Brand Guide (PDF). July 20, 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 6, 2017. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "University History - Winston-Salem State University".
  5. ^ "Winston-Salem State receives $30 million donation from MacKenzie Scott; largest-ever gift from a single donor". 15 December 2020.
  6. ^ "WSSU Fact Book 2015-16" (PDF). Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Social Mobility Index 2018". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Winston-Salem State University | Best College | US News". Archived from the original on 2009-08-28. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  9. ^ "Okelly Library". Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "Historical Sketch - Winston-Salem State University - Acalog ACMS™". Archived from the original on 2016-09-12. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  11. ^ "About WSSU - Why WSSU? - Transformation Happens Here". 2016-08-05. Archived from the original on 2016-08-24. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  12. ^ "Winston-Salem State jumps to Division I, joins MEAC – College Sports – ESPN". 19 July 2006. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  13. ^ "Winston-Salem ready to return to D-II, CIAA – NCAA Basketball – Sporting News". Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Hall, Tony (November 26, 1996). "Farrakhan Returns To WSSU Campus". Greensboro News & Record. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  16. ^ "Earl Monroe". Pro-Basketball Reference.Com. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "Earl "The Pearl" Monroe – Winston Salem State University". Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  18. ^ "Ramily, ESPN honor Stephen A. Smith". September 20, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "Winston Salem State Rams Hall of Fame: Stephen A. Smith". Winston Salem State Athletics. Retrieved December 20, 2019.

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