Charles McIver and Female Education as a Public Investment

A circa 1890-1910 engraving of McIver. Image from the N.C. Museum of History.On September 7, 1860, educator and founding president of UNC-Greensboro Charles McIver was born in what’s now Lee County.

McIver studied at UNC and worked at schools across North Carolina after graduating, developing a strong interest teacher education. As a leader at what’s now the North Carolina Education Association in the late 1880s, he advocated for the improvement of women’s education.
After making a number of changes to the way public higher education in the state was organized, in 1891 the legislature approved the establishment of the State Normal and Industrial School for Girls, now UNC-Greensboro.

The school was intended to “prepare young women to earn a livelihood in teaching or in business,” and when it opened in October 1892, McIver was selected as its president.

McIver stayed in the top job at the Greensboro school until his death in 1906, helping the fledgling institution prosper despite a number of obstacles including a typhoid fever epidemic in 1899 and the destruction of the main dormitory by fire in 1904.

During his time in Greensboro, McIver remained active in state and regional education circles, serving as president of the Southern Education Association and a University of North Carolina trustee.

Check out NCpedia for more on the history of education, generally, and higher education, specifically, in North Carolina.

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