Sept. 23, 2021: Happy 75th anniversary to UNC Charlotte — and Niners everywhere!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

In 1946, the post-World War II era — and the cultural changes it ushered in — swept America. With the official start of the Baby Boom, millions of new parents made Dr. Benjamin Spock’s groundbreaking “Baby and Child Care” a bestseller; Tupperware and bikinis intrigued curious consumers; IBM announced the world’s first electronic computer; the United Nations convened to facilitate global cooperation as the Cold War heated up; and three future U.S. presidents were born — along with scores of celebrities who would reshape America’s entertainment landscape, Dolly Parton, Cher and Pat Sajak among them.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Bonnie Cone was leading a charge to bring public higher education to the state’s largest city. Wartime manufacturing and related activity at and near Fort Bragg, Fort Davis and several Marine Corps facilities had helped to lift many North Carolinians out of Depression-era poverty. A need persisted, however, in the central and western parts of the state for four-year, degree-granting institutions to prepare residents, particularly those returning from military service, for careers and opportunities of a modern era fueled by new technology and emerging industries. 

Video: A look back on 75 years of UNC Charlotte

Today, UNC Charlotte — North Carolina’s urban research university — leads research and training in academic disciplines essential to the state’s national and global competitiveness: energy, computing and technology, advanced manufacturing, bioinformatics, education, business, cybersecurity, and health and life sciences — and more.  

Celebrate Founders Day!

On Founders Day, we honor the commitment and perseverance of “Miss Bonnie” — and a cast of like- minded leaders working beside her, who singularly dedicated themselves to the realization of their vision. Niners are invited to celebrate:


11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Show appreciation for a UNC Charlotte Veteran, Popp Martin Student Union

Drop by the Student Union to draft a personal note of thanks to a Niner veteran for their service. The Charlotte Center was established on Sept. 23, 1946, for returning World War II servicemen who enrolled through the GI Bill. Since then, hundreds, if not thousands, of Niners have followed in their selfless footsteps. No registration required.

1-2:30 p.m. - 75th Anniversary Drop-in, Popp Martin Student Union

Join Chancellor Sharon Gaber, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Kevin Bailey and the Student Government Association for a drop-in celebration. Sign a giant art installation/anniversary cake before grabbing a sweet treat and anniversary T-shirt. No registration required. 

2-5 p.m. - Founders Day Community Service Event, Hauser Alumni Pavilion

Faculty, staff, students and alumni will assemble and deliver care packages this afternoon to four local community partners: Niner University Elementary, Care Ring, Crisis Assistance Ministry and Hope Vibes. At this time all volunteer slots have been filled.

6 p.m. - Looking Back to Shaping What's Next: A Conversation with Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber,  Zoom

Join Alumni Board President Frenchie Wilson Brown ’91 for a virtual conversation with Chancellor Gaber. This is your chance to celebrate our University’s past and learn more about what’s shaping our next 75 years. Registration required.

Watch for special anniversary opportunities throughout the coming year. Available now: 

  • Visit Atkins Library, first floor, for “From the Owls to the All-in-C: 75 Years of Signs & Symbols at UNC Charlotte,” a year-long exhibit featuring images and memorabilia such as logos, mascots and other important symbols from Charlotte’s history.

  • Participate in a self-guided, virtual historic walking tour of UNC Charlotte presented by Atkins Library — while on campus or from elsewhere to learn more about the University’s history and iconic campus locations.