|NCCU chancellor highlights growth, accomplishments|
|Published Friday, November 2, 2018|
DURHAM – The Eagles are soaring at N.C. Central University. That was the message Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye shared at a coffee and chat between members of the media, the community and the chancellor on Nov. 1.
“It’s an exciting period for us,” Akinleye told the group gathered over coffee and a light breakfast in the Chancellor’s Dining Room.
To start, Akinleye provided an overview of where NCCU stands on certain measurements. For example, he said NCCU has experienced significant increases in enrollment and graduation rates for all students, but also notably for low-income students. He said the university has had the largest increase in enrollment since 2012, and a nearly 10 percent increase in graduate and professional school enrollment. Currently 8,207 students are enrolled.
Akua Johnson Matherson, the associate vice chancellor for administration and finance, shared that NCCU was approved at the September Board of Governor’s meeting as a Millennial Campus, making it the first HBCU in the UNC system to achieve the designation.
“There has been a lot of work on campus and with folks in the community to make sure that what we are doing here on campus works with what is going on in the community around us,” he said.
Additional expansion plans include three new housing facilities that will add 853 new beds, a $47 million new student center and a new School of Business, which will be located on the corner of Alston Avenue and Lawson Street, and will act as a new “front door” to the university. The business school will coincide with the location of a Triangle light rail stop.
“We are very excited about where we are going,” Matherson said.
Akinleye said NCCU has plans to expand its research, as well as its infrastructure, and generated more than $26.8 million in grants for research last year. The university is already on track to raise over that this year, and has collected nearly $12 million in grants so far.
“We want to put our institution on the map for contributing to knowledge and awareness,” Akinleye said.
NCCU was recently recognized for its passage rate for the North Carolina Bar. Approximately 75.7 percent of law graduates who took the Bar exam passed this year, giving NCCU the third highest passage rate among North Carolina law schools.
Next fall, the university will introduce two new degree programs: a Bachelor of Science in biomedical sciences and a Master of Science in higher education administration.
Two students from the inaugural Cheathem White Scholars program (above) also spoke at the gathering. The program provides students full tuition and fees, and offers opportunities like studying abroad, mentorship and more.
“I picked this school because the jazz program is amazing,” said Lilian Park of Charlotte, who plans to double major in music education and psychology. “The community has been very welcoming and inviting.”
The chancellor also discussed expanding the university’s footprint internationally, including an initiative in China to help children with communication disorders, and for improving the athletics program, which has recently focused on improved medical and mental health treatment for its players.
The chancellor ended the gathering by inviting everyone to come to the “Ultimate Homecoming” celebration this weekend, which will include a parade on Fayetteville Street, a concert with Stephanie Mills and Mike Phillips, and more.
“Join us in celebrating Eagle pride, which will be on full display,” Akinleye said.
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