Meredith has experienced plenty of change since the College began educating the South’s brightest women more than 128 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.
North Carolina Baptist State Convention appoints a committee “to consider the establishment of a female seminary of high order.”
Thomas Meredith, founder of the Biblical Recorder, calls for an institution to provide “a first-rate course of female education.”
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.
The state legislature grants a charter for the Baptist Female University.
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.
Construction begins at the corner of Edenton and Blount streets in downtown Raleigh. Adolphus Bauer, who designed the governor’s mansion, is the architect.
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.
President Blasingame resigns after one year and Richard Tilman Vann is chosen to lead the University. Vann was a respected pastor and teacher.
The first ten students graduate in May. These women are referred to as “The Immortal Ten” (pictured above).
Trustees change name from Baptist Female University to Baptist University for Women.
Students publish the first yearbook, Oak Leaves.
Student government, one of the first in the South, is initiated.
The tradition of the hiding of the Crook begins.
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.
To honor Thomas Meredith, trustees change the name to Meredith College.
The College observes and celebrates Founder’s Day for the first time.
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.
Student handbook contains a welcome letter to “Little Sis Class.”
Meredith is admitted to Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Twig, the student newspaper, is published. It is renamed Meredith Herald in 1986.
Kappa Nu Sigma, scholastic honor society, is organized on campus by Dr. Helen Hull Law, professor of Latin and Greek.
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.
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.
Association of American Universities places Meredith on its list of approved colleges.
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.
Baptist State Convention rejects proposals to merge Meredith and Wake Forest College.
The first Cornhuskin’ is held at Meredith.
The Honor Code is adopted.
Jones Auditorium is dedicated.
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.
Joyner Hall for liberal arts is completed.
Hunter Hall opens for science classes. The building is renovated and renamed Martin Hall in 2004, in honor of Margaret C. Martin, ’30.
Elizabeth James Dotterer is the first alumna to act as president of the board of trustees.
Brewer House is built for home economics students. Today it is used as an infant care teaching lab.
Carroll Health Center and Poteat Residence Hall are completed.
Meredith begins admitting students without regard to race or the color of their skin.
Lora Evalena Epps Brooker (Lena Epps Brooker), ’62, is the first Native-American student to graduate from Meredith.
Dr. Norma Rose is the speaker at the first Faculty Distinguished Lecture.
The newly completed McIver Amphitheater is used for Class Day.
Dr. Campbell steps down. During his 27-year tenure, enrollment increased to nearly 1,000 students.
Dr. Bruce Heilman becomes Meredith’s fifth president.
Dr. Anna Arnold Hedgeman is one of the first mentions of a Black woman to serve as a guest lecturer on campus. She spoke on Black Power and the misconceptions of the movement, sparking important conversations among students as they work towards integration.
Gwendolyn Matthews Hilliard, ’71, and Rosetta Berry Inmon are the first two Black students to enroll as full-time students at Meredith.
The library moves from Johnson Hall to the new Carlyle Campbell Library and a sixth residence hall, Heilman, is added.
Weatherspoon Physical Education Building opens.
The first African American professors are hired, James Z. Alexander and Charles L. Coleman. They both taught for the department of religion and philosophy.
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%.
Mildred Mallette is hired as the first African American full-time administrative staff member in the library. Prior to her hiring, Black staff members had been hired to work only in housekeeping and facilities services roles.
Gwendolyn Matthews Hilliard becomes the first Black student to graduate from Meredith. Her degree was in English.
The Black Voices in Unity (BVU) organization is formed (originally called Black Student Unity). Initially, it was only open to African American students, but later was open to others.
Dr. John E. Weems becomes Meredith’s sixth president. During his tenure, he initiated the honors program, graduate program, and internship program. He was vocal about his support for the Equal Rights Amendment and was applauded for his support of women’s rights.
Two new buildings are added to campus including Massey House President’s Residence and Barefoot Residence Hall.
The Continuing Education Program begins.
President Weems announces that Sydney Abbott, a prominent LGTBQ+ activist and writer, will speak on Meredith’s campus.
The Black Voices in Unity organization holds its first event on campus, Black Awareness Week (later called Black Emphasis Week.) The purpose of the event was to promote the Meredith community’s learning and awareness of Black culture and history. Founding officers who helped organize the event include Renee Lindsey, Chairman; Joyce Martin, Chairman; Denise Jemison, Communicator; Marilyn Bledsoe, Secretary; Equillo Mingo, Treasurer; and Carolyn Wiggins, Chairman of Cultural Fairs. BVU later renamed Association for Black Awareness.
BVU Chairman, Joyce Martin, becomes the first Black columnist for The Twig, Meredith’s student newspaper at the time. Her column, titled Joyce Martin’s Black Perspectives, was added to the publication to ensure that Black voices were heard on campus.
President Weems formally endorses the Equal Rights Amendment.
The Cate Student Center is dedicated.
Meredith names first female vice-president, Dr. Sandra Thomas.
Meredith begins to offer summer study abroad programs.
Varsity volleyball program is launched.
Wainwright Music Building is dedicated.
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.
The Paralegal Program begins.
Jones Chapel and Harris Building are completed.
Meredith College becomes a full member of NCAA Division III.
Meredith begins offering master’s degrees in business, education, and music.
The Honors Program begins.
First graduates from MBA program.
Dr. Alex Haley, author of Roots, lectures at Meredith during Black Emphasis Week.
Gaddy-Hamrick Art Center opens.
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.
Meredith’s infirmary is officially named Carroll Health Center, expanding its services to support women’s reproductive health.
Meredith celebrates its centennial anniversary.
The Class of 1992 begins the Ring Dinner tradition.
Varsity soccer program is launched.
Ledford Hall is dedicated.
Meredith Autism Program begins.
Park Center opens.
Meredith and Baptist State Convention formally redefine their relationship.
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.
Spectrum, a gay/lesbian/bisexual/straight/transgender alliance on campus, is founded. Lyn Tucker serves as president, Kat Bailey as vice president, Lindsey McAdams as secretary, and Frid Rupp as website designer.
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.
Four men graduate from the MBA program, becoming the first men in the College’s history to earn degrees.
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.
The Campaign for Meredith, the College’s largest fundraising initiative, enters its public phase with a goal of raising $33.5 million.
Diversity Council established, made up of eleven students, faculty, staff and alumnae.
Cross Country is added to the College’s athletic offerings.
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.
Meredith opens a permanent international site in Sansepolcro, Italy.
The largest first-year class in the College’s history enrolls.
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.
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.
The Board of Trustees approves Meredith Forever, the College’s three-year rolling strategic plan.
Lacrosse is added to the College’s athletic offerings.
The first TEDx Meredith College is held on campus.
Meredith launches the Meredith College | Going Strong brand initiative.
The College announces StrongPoints®, a defining element of the Meredith College educational experience.
Meredith College begins offering an undergraduate degree in Public Health.
Meredith MBA adds a concentration in human resources management.
Meredith College receives the largest gift until that time in the history of the College. A $3.5 million gift from the Jud Ammons family renovates Johnson Hall and adds a new welcome center.
A $1 million gift from Bobbitt Clay Williams and her husband Bill Williams supports renovations to Johnson Hall, and in honor of the gift, a suite of offices was named the Bobbitt Clay Williams Executive Suite.
As diversity around the state increases, so does diversity at Meredith. People from multicultural backgrounds make up 25% of all Meredith College students.
The Black Student Union is reinstated.
The public phase of the Beyond Strong Campaign begins with a goal of $75 million.
Meredith holds its first annual Giving Day raising $283,052.
The Johnson Hall renovations are complete and the Jo Ellen Ammons Welcome Center is dedicated.
The new Lowery Fitness Center in the Weatherspoon Athletic Center opens. A $1 million gift from Ann Lowery, ’74, named the fitness center for her parents.
The Elizabeth Triplett Beam Fountain Plaza in front of Johnson Hall is dedicated. A $1 million gift from Elizabeth Beam named the fountain that was renovated in 2016.
A new track was added to the M.S. in Nutrition. Students can now choose from the dietetics track and the new food and nutrition studies track.
The MBA program begins offering a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Family Business.
Beyond Strong │The Campaign for Meredith, the largest fundraising campaign in the history of Meredith College, raises more than $90 million, surpassing the $75 million goal by more than $15 million.
Kresge Auditorium opens after renovations.
A new graduate program, M.A. in Psychology: I/O concentration, enrolls the first students.
The Meredith School of Business began an interdisciplinary minor in entrepreneurship for undergraduates.
The new Accelerated MBA begins. This 4+1 program allows undergraduates to earn a graduate degree in just one additional year.
An Accelerated Law Degree Program is established with Campbell Law.
A new academic program in Hospitality Management enrolls the first students.
The new $20,000 Impact Scholarship is announced. The merit scholarship guarantee is designed to help more qualified undergraduate women afford a high quality college education.
Golf is added to the College’s athletic offerings.
An Accelerated Law Degree Program is established with Elon University.
The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice opens for enrollment, Meredith’s first fully online program.
Meredith responds to COVID-19 pandemic in March by moving most students off-campus and most classes online.
Meredith launches a Collegewide Initiative on Race and Action.
Field Hockey becomes the tenth varsity sport to be added to Meredith’s athletic offerings, with the first season to commence in 2021.
Meredith assumes ownership of the campus store.