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The University of North Carolina at Asheville is a co-educational, four year, public liberal arts university. The university is also known as UNC Asheville and UNCA. Located in Ashevillemarker, Buncombe County, North Carolinamarker, UNCA is the only designated liberal arts institution in the University of North Carolinamarker system. UNC Asheville is member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.


Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina

UNC Asheville was founded in 1927 as Buncombe County Junior College, part of the Buncombe County public school system. In 1930 the school merged with the College of the City of Asheville (founded in 1928) to form Biltmore Junior College. In 1934 the college was renamed Biltmore College and placed in the control of a board of trustees. 1936 brought both a further change of name to Asheville-Biltmore College and a transfer of power to the Asheville City School Board.

In 1961 Asheville-Biltmore College moved to the present UNCA campus in north Asheville. In 1963 it became a state-supported four-year college, and awarded its first bachelor's degrees in 1966. Its first residence halls were built in 1967. It adopted its current name in 1969 upon becoming part of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, since 1972 called the University of North Carolina Systemmarker. It is the designated public liberal arts university within that system, and has been classified as a Liberal Arts I institution since 1992.

UNCA has more than 207 full-time faculty members and an enrollment of approximately 3,600 students. Classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Baccalaureate College—Arts & Sciences (Bac/A&S), the university offers thirty-two baccalaureate programs and a master's degree in liberal arts, first granted in 1991.

Precis of the University's History

Year - Name and Levels

1927 First 86 students (men and women) attended Buncombe County Junior College

1929 First graduating class, merges with Asheville City College, name changes to Biltmore College

1936 Chartered as Asheville-Biltmore College

1957 First two-year college in NC to receive state funds

1958 First African-American student enrolled

1963 Asheville-Biltmore College authorized to offer baccalaureate degrees

1969 College joins the UNC System & chartered as the University of North Carolina at Asheville

1992 Officially recognized as one of the nation’s first public liberal arts colleges

2007 University celebrates 80th anniversary


Innovative academic programs, low cost and an interdisciplinary study approach has drawn praise from national college guidebooks. The Princeton Review of "America's Best Value Colleges" ranked UNCA third on their list of Top 10 Best Value Public Colleges of 2008. The Fiske Guide to Colleges ranked UNCA among top 20 Best Buys in public liberal arts education, saying, "The University of North Carolina at Asheville offers all the perks that are generally associated with pricier private institutions: rigorous academics, small classes and a beautiful setting. And it does it for a fraction of the cost." The U.S. News & World Report's annual college rankings has placed UNCA fourth in the nation among public liberal arts colleges. The Princeton Review lists UNCA in "the Best 311 Colleges", saying, “For students who seek a public education in a smaller campus environment, this is a great choice.”


UNC Asheville offers four-year undergraduate programs leading to Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in the these majors.


The university is led by Chancellor Anne Ponder the chief administrative officer, along with Provost Jane Fernandes and several advisory groups. The institution operates under the guidance and policies of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

As part of the University of North Carolina's 16-campus university system, UNCA also falls under the administration of UNC President Erskine Bowles and the UNC Board of Governors advised by the UNC Faculty Assembly.

  • William Haggard - Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • William P. Massey - Vice Chancellor for Alumni and Development
  • John G. Pierce - Vice Chancellor for Finance and Campus Operations
  • Janet Cone - Director of Athletics
  • Wilma Sherrill - Special Assistant to the Chancellor
  • Thomas Lawton - University Counsel
  • Christine Riley - Chief of Staff

Chief Executive Officers

Chief Executive Officers of the university:


  • 1927-1932: S.B. Conley, Dean
  • 1932-1936: A.C. Reynolds, President
  • 1936-1941: Charles A. Lloyd, Dean
  • 1945-1946: William H. Morgan, Dean
  • 1946-1947: Clarence N. Gilbert, Dean
  • 1947-1047: R.A. Tomberlin, President
  • 1947-1962: Glenn L. Bushey, President
  • 1962-1969: William E. Highsmith, President


  • 1969-1977: William E. Highsmith
  • 1977-1977: Arnold K. King, Acting
  • 1977-1984: William E. Highsmith
  • 1984-1990: David G. Brown
  • 1990-1991: Roy Carroll, Interim
  • 1991-1993: Samuel Schuman
  • 1994-1994: Larry Wilson, Interim
  • 1994-1999: Patsy Reed
  • 1999-2005: James H. Mullen, Jr.
  • 2005-Present: Anne Ponder

Student Government Association

UNC Asheville's Student Government Association (SGA) consists of two branches, an 18-seat Student Senate and an executive branch comprising a President, Vice-President, and Cabinet. Representation in the Student Senate is divided among the four classes, with three additional seats each being given to residential and commuter students. SGA's authority is derived from the Chancellor and the Board of Governors.


UNC Asheville Bulldogs logo
UNC Asheville's athletics teams are known as the Bulldogs. They are a member of the NCAA's Division I and compete in the Big South Conference. The basketball team is coached by Eddie Biedenbach.

  • 1984 - The Women's Basketball team won the NAIA National Championship.
  • 2003 - The Men's Basketball team won the Big South Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
  • 2006 - The Men's Baseball team won the Big South Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
  • 2006 - The Women's Soccer team won the Big South Tournament and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
  • 2007 - The Women's Basketball team won the Big South Tournament and advanced to their first NCAA Tournament.
  • 2008 - The Men's Basketball team set a new school record for victories (23) and won a share of the Big South Regular Season Championship. UNCA became the first team in the history of the Big South Conference to advance to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Points of interest


UNC Asheville has 182 faculty members, mostly holding doctorate degrees.

Notable Faculty

Notable alumni


External links

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