N.C. A&T On Point Newsletter

VOL. 3 / NO. 1 / January, 2020

Chancellor's Message
Chancellor's Message

Resolutions for a New Decade
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N.C. A&T Chancellor Martin Sr.With the New Year comes promise and possibility, and as we also enter a new decade, our hopes for North Carolina A&T State University are higher than they’ve ever been. But as we all have heard, hope is not a strategy. The careful planning that we have already invested in our work and that will continue throughout the year serves as the essential predicate to make those hopes and dreams realities.

Here are three of our most important resolutions:

1. Diversify Our Revenue Stream. Like many of our public, land-grant peers, state funding no longer represents the bulk of our revenue. Growing other sources of funding is essential to both our short- and long-term success.

Congress provided welcome assistance on this front in December through its passage of the FUTURE Act, which made permanent $255 million in annual funding for historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions and simplified the paperwork college students must complete to apply for federal student aid. The certainty around that funding will be a boon for A&T and other campuses seeking to chart long-term courses of action and sustainability.

Closer to home, A&T last fall surpassed its original, $85-million goal for the Campaign for North Carolina A&T, the most ambitious fund-raising effort in our university’s history. Rather than simply call it done, we chose to continue the campaign through its planned end, Dec. 31, 2020, and set a new goal, which we also are working to exceed: $100 million for student scholarships and aid, academic programming, faculty support and facilities.

2.  Grow in enrollment and academic competitiveness. Our university’s strategic plan calls for total enrollment of 14,000 by 2023; this year, our student body numbers 12,556, leaving us less than 1,500 students from that goal.

We intend to make further progress toward that enrollment target this fall, with growth not only at the undergraduate level, but with sharper focus on our masters, doctoral and certificate programs.

A&T was recognized by 24/7 Wall Street in 2019 as one of the top 100 American campuses that are defying the national trend of declining college enrollment. We will continue to defy it in 2020.

3. Expand our campus facilities. We have added significant new facilities at A&T in recent years, and will continue to do so in 2020. Chief among the additions is the Engineering Research and Innovation Complex, a $90-million structure that will increase the instructional, research and partnership capacities of our College of Engineering, which produces more African American engineers than any university in America. We raised the highest beam on the facility last fall, and are moving toward completion in 2021.

At our University Farm, we are in the midst of construction of a $12.3-million complex that will add an instructional auditorium, laboratories, a demonstration kitchen and a 50-person classroom. It will also include a 400-person conference facility, amphitheater, student and community gardens, and a community/urban food complex with a business incubator and an expanded dairy, capable of creating A&T-branded products such as ice cream, yogurt and butter. The complex will come on line in stages and be fully operational by 2022.

Other projects and acquisitions include residence halls and apartment complexes to meet the demand for on- and off-campus housing.

These resolutions and others will challenge us, causing us to think in new ways about who we are and what we want to become in coming years. In short, they will test our resolve as resolutions, and at their best, should.

- Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.

Students in front of the new Student Center.Students in front of the new Student Center, one of many physical plant upgrades at A&T.
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They Sat Down and Changed a Nation
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U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, a two-time A&T alumna standing with Chancellor Martin It was an unremarkable winter day by most measures, that Feb. 1, 60 years ago. But through a simple 1.4-mile afternoon walk to a downtown Woolworth’s lunch counter, four North Carolina A&T freshman transformed it into a moment that would change America forever.

The A&T Four, as they became known, kicked off a sit-in movement that quickly swept across the South to cities like Nashville, Jackson, Mississippi, Chattanooga and more. Within six months, the protests had forced the desegregation of most Woolworth’s lunch counters and begun to desegregate other public accommodations – libraries, beaches and parks, transportation facilities and more.

A&T’s annual February 1 Celebration commemorates the bravery of Jibreel Khazan (formally Ezell Blair Jr.), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond (only Khazan and McNeil are still living). This year’s 60th anniversary celebration breakfast drew a capacity crowd of 600 -- and a heavy media presence -- to honor the Four and to hear journalist/author Roland Martin deliver an electrifying keynote address.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, a two-time A&T alumna, was presented with the Human Rights Medal, an honor previously awarded to such leaders as Congressman John Lewis, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and physician/civil rights leader Dr. Alvin Blount.

The Four’s legacy lives on in the activism of today’s students, who in recent years have spoken out publicly against gerrymandering, voter suppression and police violence.

Following the breakfast program, attendees gathered at the iconic A&T Four Memorial statue to lay wreaths and hear a performance from a university quartet..

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A&T Campus Reunited in New Congressional District
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A&T students protest congressional districts splittingA&T students protest congressional districts splitting campus at a 2019 press conference. Photo courtesy of Greensboro.com

Over the past year, as cases challenging gerrymandering were heard by the Supreme Court and other federal and state panels, North Carolina A&T emerged in media coverage as a consistent illustration of the oddities of redistricting.

When the state’s congressional maps were redrawn in 2016, the campus was split in two, with Districts 6 and 13 bifurcating the university straight down Laurel Street. The nation’s largest historically black university went from being represented in Congress by U.S. Rep. Alma Adams – an A&T alumna, as well as an African American woman and Democrat – to being represented by two Republicans.

National outlets from NBC News to National Public Radio used the remapping over the next three years as a classic case of the extremes of gerrymandering. Students and groups such as Common Cause argued that the split-campus approach diluted students’ voting power, and regularly protested the issue.

Federal court judges ruled the districts unconstitutional in 2018, a decision that was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. When the court ruled partisan gerrymandering beyond its jurisdiction, the map was successfully challenged in state courts, forcing the General Assembly to redraw districts. In the ensuing map, A&T’s two seats were reunited into the 6th district.

In the March 3 “Super Tuesday” primaries, A&T students will have their first chance to cast their ballots in the new congressional district. Early voting will begin on campus on Feb. 13 and continue through the 29th. Five Democrats and two Republicans are vying for the seat, with the winner to be determined in the Nov. 3 general election.  

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These Three Things

A&T’s Digital Leadership Earns Rankings, Recognition
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North Carolina A&T has long been an innovator in online course and degree program delivery. As the digital revolution continues to transform higher education, the university’s leadership is paying off in a new series of rankings that are drawing attention to the affordability and quality of its programs.

While online degrees and courses are being developed in a variety of disciplines, programs in agriculture, information technology, dentistry and business ranked high in recent listings from these three organizations:

  • AffordableSchools.net selected A&T’s online bachelor’s degree in agriculture education in December as the nation’s second most affordable program, trailing only the University of Florida in a listing including some of the nation’s best-known land grant universities.

  • Also in December, Intelligent.com named A&T’s online M.S. in Information Technology second in the nation and first among historically black universities. A&T’s online B.S. in IT also ranked among the nation’s top 35 programs, while the university’s online dental assistant certificate program as the nation’s most affordable.

  • Just prior to those recognitions, A&T’s new online MBA program was ranked third in the Best Online MBA Programs in North Carolina for 2019 in November by College Consensus. The organization also ranked A&T’s online MBA among the best in the nation in its 25 Best Value Online MBA Programs 2019 list and among the 25 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs 2019.
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Data Points
Data Points

A&T’s leadership in the civil rights movement has been seen many times through its history, most often through the actions of its students. 
1926 A&T becomes one of the nation’s first universities to celebrate newly created Negro History Week.
1960  The A&T Four become the catalysts for a nationwide sit-in movement when they refuse to leave a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro. 
1969  A&T students protesting racism at Dudley High School are confronted by U.S. troops in the largest military action on a college campus in American history.  
1984.  A&T alumnus Jesse Jackson becomes the first African American man to run for the U.S. presidency. He wins three states and the District of Columbia, finishing third in the Democratic primaries, and runs again in 1988, winning 10 states plus the District of Columbia and finishing second.
2019   A&T students lead protests against gerrymandered congressional districts that split the campus in two. The districts are subsequently declared unconstitutional in a court challenge.

Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr.

Erin Hill Hart
Todd Hurst Simmons

Kimberly "Nikki" Pressley

Yvonne L. Halley

Tonya D. Dixon
Jordan M. Howse
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a land-grant university that is ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral University: High Research Activity.

N.C. A&T does not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@ncat.edu.

N.C. A&T is an AA/EEO employer, and it is an ADA compliant institution; thus, facilities are designed to provide accessibility to individuals with physical disabilities.