GREENSBORO — In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, current President Benjamin Harrison and an Iowa populist named James Weaver were vying for the White House.
An author known for his book set in the year 2000 wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. In Massachusetts, a gym teacher wrote down the rules of a new game that involved baskets and a ball.
In North Carolina, the year 1892 saw Trinity College move from Randolph County to a new campus in Durham. (The school wouldn’t become Duke University for another three decades.) Down in Raleigh, trustees of the A and M College for the Colored Race — later to become N.C. A&T — voted to move the year-old school to Greensboro.
Amid all of this activity, a new college opened on 10 acres west of downtown Greensboro: the State Normal and Industrial School. It was North Carolina’s first public higher education institution for women.
The college opened its doors Oct. 5 with 198 female students and 15 professors. Charles Duncan McIver, a teacher and advocate for women’s education, was the school’s first president.
One hundred and twenty-five years later, the former women’s college is known as UNC-Greensboro, a liberal arts and research university where enrollment is expected to top 20,000 students — both women and men — this fall.
UNCG will celebrate its 125th anniversary starting Friday and continuing until commencement in May. Many events are still being planned, but here are some key scheduled dates for UNCG’s yearlong celebration.
Friday: UNCG will launch its 125th anniversary website — look for details at www.uncg.edu. UNCG also will unveil a new promotional video that highlights the university’s history. The voice on the video will be that of Chris Chalk, a UNCG graduate who is now appearing in the Fox crime drama “Gotham.”
The 125th kickoff coincides with the first weekend of SOAR, UNCG’s annual summer orientation program for new students.
“It’s a nice opportunity to get them involved (in the 125th anniversary) and get some enthusiasm for the idea that they’re part of a special group coming to UNC-Greensboro,” UNCG spokesman Jeff Shafer said.
There’s a reason UNCG is starting its celebration Friday: It comes 125 days before Founders Day, which will be the biggest date on the 125th anniversary calendar.
Aug. 8: UNCG Chancellor Frank Gilliam will deliver his annual State of the Campus address to faculty and staff members. It’s the unofficial start to the academic year, which actually starts six days later. Also on Aug. 8, UNCG plans to open an on-campus exhibit, possibly at its Weatherspoon Art Museum, with photos and artifacts from the university’s 125-year history.
Aug. 19: It’ll be UNCG Night at the Greensboro Grasshoppers home game at First National Bank Field. The university hopes to get the chancellor to throw out the first pitch.
Sept. 9: The College of Visual and Performing Arts will put on its annual Collage concert at UNCG Auditorium. More than 300 students and faculty members will perform in front of a sold-out crowd. A week later, they’ll perform Collage in Raleigh for the first time.
Oct. 5: Founders Day is the annual commemoration of the university’s beginning. This year’s celebration will have some sort of community carnival — food, fun and entertainment for UNCG students and employees as well as the general public.
The university also plans to have a concert at UNCG Auditorium. The artist hasn’t yet been announced; Shafer says it’s “a well-known performer.”
Oct. 18-22: These are the 2017 dates for UNCG’s homecoming.
Dec. 8 and May 4: These are the dates of UNCG’s fall and spring commencements, respectively.