Were you in the local area when N.C. Wesleyan College was established? If so, you may have witnessed all the great things that have happened over the years on these 200 acres.

On May 14, 1956, the N.C. Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church met in Goldsboro and approved a petition from the people of Rocky Mount to locate a four-year, liberal arts college in the community. The first trustees were elected and one of the first actions of the board was to name the institution N.C. Wesleyan College, in the tradition of Methodist higher education that honors the founders of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley.

In 1960, 92 students enrolled in the first class at N.C. Wesleyan College. Here we are, almost 65 years later and still going strong. We’re currently home to over 1,700 students from more than 35 countries, with 10 campus locations, 33 undergraduate programs, 30 minors, two graduate programs, three certificate programs and 16 Division III sports teams with 119 total championships.

A lot has been accomplished over the years and we are thankful to those who have and continue to support and welcome us into the community. In the coming weeks, you should begin to see reminders of our upcoming 65th Founding Anniversary throughout campus, the community and the college’s social media.

This year we will commemorate our 65th Founders’ Day Celebration on the college’s original charter date, Oct. 25. The event will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Minges Auditorium at The Dunn Center. Dr. A. Hope Williams, president of N.C. Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) will be the featured speaker. The public is invited to attend this milestone and enjoy 65th anniversary cupcakes and lemonade immediately following.

NCICU is the statewide advocacy, public policy and fundraising organization for the 36 independent, or private, colleges and universities in North Carolina. As president, Williams is the chief executive officer for the NCICU Board of Directors of college and university presidents and for the Independent College Fund of North Carolina board that also includes corporate trustees and raises corporate and foundation funds for student scholarships and programs.

WIlliams has been president of NCICU since 1992. She received her undergraduate degree in French and history from Duke University, a master’s degree from N.C. State University and a doctorate in education from UNC-Chapel Hill.

While we are still relatively young in the world of colleges and universities, we have a bright future ahead of us and look forward to the next 65 years.

Stephen Mann is the social media and public relations manager at N.C. Wesleyan College.