College Timeline

 
A black and white photograph of Meredith's first graduating class, known as the Immortal 10.

Meredith has experienced plenty of change since the College began educating the South's brightest women 123 years ago. Our enduring commitment to innovation and fresh perspectives over the years has allowed us to confidently grow and adapt our programs - and keeps us going strong.


1835

North Carolina Baptist State Convention appoints a committee “to consider the establishment of a female seminary of high order.”

1838

Thomas Meredith, founder of the Biblical Recorder, calls for an institution to provide "a first-rate course of female education."

1889

After a delay because of the Civil War and Reconstruction as well as the general lack of interest in women's education, Leonidas Polk introduces a resolution to the Convention for a Baptist female college. His resolution is adopted unanimously.

1891

The state legislature grants a charter for the Baptist Female University.

1893

To raise money for the school, Oliver Larkin Stringfield begins traveling across the state and Fannie E. S. Heck organizes the Woman's Executive Committee of the Baptist Female University. Economic conditions in the 1890s make fundraising difficult and donations often are small, many one dollar or less.

1895

Construction begins at the corner of Edenton and Blount streets in downtown Raleigh. Adolphus Bauer, who designed the governor's mansion, is the architect.

1899

Baptist Female University opens in September with 19 faculty/staff members and more than 200 students. James C. Blasingame is president. A college year is three terms of three months each. Room and board costs $36 per term, and tuition is $17.50, with additional fees for music and art.

1900

President Blasingame resigns after one year and Richard Tilman Vann is chosen to lead the University. Vann was a respected pastor and teacher.

1902

The first ten students graduate in May. These women are referred to as "The Immortal Ten" (pictured above).

1904

Trustees change name from Baptist Female University to Baptist University for Women.

Students publish the first yearbook, Oak Leaves.

1905

Student government, one of the first in the South, is initiated.

1906

The tradition of the hiding of the Crook begins.

1907

In 1900, there had been a debt of $43,000, but by 1907, the University has an endowment of $37,000 and has grown to include six buildings and a library of 2,000 volumes.

Students publish a literary magazine, The Acorn.

1909

To honor Thomas Meredith, trustees change the name to Meredith College.

1915

After 15 years, President Vann (who wrote the words and music to Meredith's "Alma Mater") retires. During his presidency, enrollment increased to almost 400 and the endowment to $127,000.

Charles Edward Brewer, professor of chemistry at Wake Forest College, is selected as the third president.

1915 also is the first year of Stunt.

1919

Student handbook contains a welcome letter to "Little Sis Class."

1921

Meredith is admitted to Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Twig, the student newspaper, is published. It is renamed Meredith Herald in 1986.

1923

Kappa Nu Sigma, scholastic honor society, is organized on campus by Dr. Helen Hull Law, professor of Latin and Greek.

1924

Graduates become eligible for membership in the American Association of University Women.

The faculty presents the inaugural Alice in Wonderland to entertain their students, a tradition on campus that takes place once every four years.

Construction of a new campus begins on Hillsborough Street.

1926

In January, students return from winter break to the new campus, which features six Georgian-style buildings that form a quadrangle: an administration building, a cafeteria, and four residence halls.

1928

Association of American Universities places Meredith on its list of approved colleges.

1939

President Brewer retires. He oversaw the construction of and move to the new campus and increased enrollment to almost 600 students.

Dr. Carlyle Campbell is named the fourth president.

1944

Baptist State Convention rejects proposals to merge Meredith and Wake Forest College.

1945

The first Cornhuskin' is held at Meredith. 

1947

The Honor Code is adopted.

1949

Jones Auditorium is dedicated.

1953

Grimmer Alumnae House is built. The house was relocated from its original location on campus to accommodate the construction of the Science and Math Building.

1956

Joyner Hall for liberal arts is completed.

1959

Hunter Hall opens for science classes. The building is renovated and renamed Martin Hall in 2004, in honor of Margaret C. Martin, '30.

1960

Brewer House is built for home economics students. Today it is used as an infant care teaching lab.

1962

Carroll Health Center and Poteat Residence Hall are completed.

1964

Dr. Norma Rose is the speaker at the first Faculty Distinguished Lecture.

The newly completed McIver Amphitheater is used for Class Day.

1966

Dr. Campbell steps down. During his 27-year tenure, enrollment increased to nearly 1,000 students.

Dr. Bruce Heilman becomes Meredith's fifth president.

1968

The first African American students enroll at Meredith. Gwendolyn Matthews Hilliard, '71, is the first African American student to graduate from the College.

1969

The library moves from Johnson Hall to the new Carlyle Campbell Library and a sixth residence hall, Heilman, is added.

1970

Weatherspoon Physical Education Building opens.

1971

Dr. Heilman resigns as president. He is credited with continuing high academic standards, increasing faculty compensation and the number of faculty with doctorates, and expanding the student body by 44%.

1972

Dr. John E. Weems becomes Meredith's sixth president.

Two new buildings are added to campus including Massey House President's Residence and Barefoot Residence Hall.

The Continuing Education Program begins.

1974

The Cate Student Center is dedicated.

Meredith names first female vice-president, Dr. Sandra Thomas.

Meredith begins to offer summer study abroad programs.

1975

Varsity volleyball program is launched.

1977

Wainwright Music Building is dedicated.

1978

Sir Harold Wilson, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is the speaker at the first Lillian Parker Wallace Lecture. The lecture series continues to bring notable speakers to campus, which have included Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor.

1979

The Paralegal Program begins.

1982

Jones Chapel and Harris Building are completed.

Meredith College becomes a full member of NCAA Division III.

1983

Meredith begins offering master's degrees in business, education, and music.

1984

The Honors Program begins.

1987

Gaddy-Hamrick Art Center opens.

1988

Meredith is chosen to participate in the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. When funding for the state program ends in 2012, Meredith launches its own program, the Meredith Teaching Fellows.

The Graduate Program is named the John E. Weems Graduate School after Meredith's sixth president. The school offers advanced degrees and certificates for men and women.

1991

Meredith celebrates its centennial anniversary.

The Class of 1992 begins the Ring Dinner tradition.

1993

Varsity soccer program is launched.

1994

Ledford Hall is dedicated.

1995

Meredith Autism Program begins.

1996

Park Center opens.

1997

Meredith and Baptist State Convention formally redefine their relationship.

1999

Dr. Weems' presidency ends after 27 years in service. During these years, the size of both the student body and the faculty nearly double.

Dr. Maureen A. Hartford is chosen as Meredith's seventh president and becomes the College's first female president.

The Park Center Mural is completed. This project, financed by the Class of 1997 and honoring the achievements of 100 alumnae, celebrates Meredith's powerful heritage.

2001

Through the leadership of Elizabeth Triplett Beam, '72, and Ione Kemp Knight, '43, the Alumnae Legacy Steering Committee begins work on establishing Meredith's first full-tuition merit scholarship.

Meredith is the first women's college in the nation to become a campus-based site for the LeaderShape® Institute.

Meredith Technology Initiative begins, providing laptop computers for students.

2002

Four men graduate from the MBA program, becoming the first men in the College's history to earn degrees.

2003

Science and Mathematics Building opens, and President Hartford introduces four initiatives: Science and Mathematics, Undergraduate Research opportunities, Meredith Technology, and Service Learning and Leadership.

Meredith remains the Southeast's largest private college for women.

2004

The Campaign for Meredith, the College's largest fundraising initiative, enters its public phase with a goal of raising $33.5 million.

2005

Cross Country is added to the College's athletic offerings.

2007

The Campaign for Meredith concludes, raising more than $41.5 million. The campaign exceeded its goal by over $8 million.

The Alumnae Legacy Steering Committee awards the first Meredith Legacy Scholarships to Sarah Beth Phelps, '11, and Erin Huber, '11.

Meredith Avenging Angels join the USA South Conference.

2009

Meredith opens a permanent international site in Sansepolcro, Italy.

The largest first-year class in the College's history enrolls.

The newly constructed LEED-certified apartments, The Oaks, and athletic field and track complex open on campus.

2010

The School of Business earns Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation. Meredith is only one of two women's colleges in the world accredited by AACSB International.

2011

President Maureen Hartford retires, ending her 12-year tenure. During these years, Hartford led efforts to strengthen academic offerings, expand and enhance campus facilities, improve the diversity of the student body, and increase the College's endowment.

Dr. Jo Allen becomes Meredith's eighth president on July 1, 2011. President Allen is the first Meredith alumna to hold the office.

2012

The Board of Trustees approves Meredith Forever, the College's three-year rolling strategic plan.

Lacrosse is added to the College's athletic offerings.

2013

The first TEDx Meredith College is held on campus.

Meredith launches the Meredith College | Going Strong brand initiative.

2014

The College announces StrongPoints™, a defining element of the Meredith College educational experience.

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Strong Stories

  • PERCENT OF OUR GRADUATES ARE EMPLOYED OR PURSUING GRADUATE STUDY WITHIN 9 MONTHS OF GRADUATION
  • Meredith is one of only two women's colleges in the world accredited by AACSB.
  • 97 percent of graduates would recommend Meredith to others
  • 99 percent of Meredith alumnae agree that there are important benefits to attending a women's college.
  • Best College and Best Value in the South
U.S. News & World Report
  • 94 percent of our students participate in internships, undergraduate research or another kind of experiential learning.


Contact Information:

3800 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607-5298
Phone: (919) 760-8600
Fax: (919) 760-2874
Toll-Free: 1-800-MEREDITH