Winston-Salem State University

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Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University Seal.png
Motto Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve.
Established 1892
Type Public, HBCU
Endowment $34 million[1]
Chancellor Elwood Robinson
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 6,442
Undergraduates 5,975
Postgraduates 467
Location Winston-Salem, NC, U.S.
Campus Urban
Colors Red and White
Athletics NCAA Division II
Nickname WSSU
Mascot Ram
Affiliations Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Winston-Salem State University 2005 logo.svg

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, is a historically black public research university located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States. It is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. WSSU is a recognized university offering baccalaureate and graduate programs to a diverse student population.


Dr. Simon Green Atkins distinguished himself in his home state of North Carolina as an advocate of teacher-training programs for African Americans. He founded a small school, Winston-Salem Teachers College, that he developed into Winston-Salem State University, a four-year institution, and oversaw its transition from private to state control. His abiding interest in teacher-training also led him to become a founder of the North Carolina Negro Teachers Association.

The oldest child of a brick layer and former slaves Allen and Eliza Atkins, Simon Green Atkins was born on June 11, 1863, in the village of Haywood, in Chatham County, North Carolina, between Sanford and Raleigh. His town flourished during the period just after the Revolutionary War, but by the late 19th century the railroad and the neighboring town of Moncure had overshadowed it. At one time the area was considered as a location for the state capital as well as the state university. As a child, Atkins worked on a farm with his grandparents.

Atkins studied in the town school under pioneer black educators who came from St. Augustine’s Normal and Collegiate Institute (later St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh). One of these was Anna Julia Cooper, later prominent for her work as an activist, scholar, feminist, and school administrator in Washington, D.C. This cadre of educators went out into remote communities to teach rural blacks. Atkins also taught at the town school for a while before his college years, and in 1880 he enrolled in St. Augustine’s. He spent summers teaching in the rural schools of Chatham and Moore counties.

After he graduated with distinction in 1884, renowned educator and orator Joseph Charles Price, president of Livingstone College, an African Methodist Episcopal Zion church-supported institution in Salisbury, North Carolina, invited Atkins to join his faculty. Atkins agreed and became grammar school department head. He spent six years at Livingstone (1884–90) and spent the last two years of his tenure there in the dual role as educator and treasurer of the college. During summer months he conducted institutes for black teachers in various counties.

The town educators of Winston (before its merger in 1913 with Salem to become Winston-Salem) lured Atkins to the post as principal of the Depot Street School, where he remained from 1890 to 1895. This was the state’s largest public school for African Americans. His work with the North Carolina Negro Teachers’ Association (NCNTA), which he helped to organize about 1881, had stimulated his interest in teacher-training schools for blacks. He directed this group as it established the foundation for a standard black teachers’ college in the state.

Soon after he began his duties at Depot Street, he intensified his efforts to build such a school for African Americans and sought assistance from the Winston Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, and local white residents. By then, the state had begun plans to fund an agricultural college for its African American residents; hearing this, Atkins sought funds to locate the new college in Winston. Local support for this move was good, as the black community donated $2,000, R. J. Reynolds of tobacco fame contributed $500, and Atkins obtained 50 acres (200,000 m2) of land along with the backing of the Chamber of Commerce. Although Atkins lobbied the state legislature in Raleigh on behalf of this plan, Winston and its residents lost out to nearby Greensboro, where citizens offered 14 acres (57,000 m2) of land and $11,000.


Winston-Salem State offers over 40 academic majors and 10 graduate degrees. The school enrolls approximately 6,400 students and employs 400 faculty and over 800 staff members.[2]

  • Average high school GPA: 3.01[3]
  • Average SAT scores: 900[3]
  • 56.5% of applicants are accepted[4]


Winston-Salem State University was ranked the #14 top college in the United States by the Social Mobility Index college rankings.[5]

Winston-Salem State has been ranked #27 by U.S. News & World Report in the Top Public Comprehensive Baccalaureate Colleges of the South category for the last nine years (2001–2009).[6]


The campus covers 117 acres (0.47 km2).

Student activities[edit]


Winston-Salem State University is currently a part of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) in NCAA Division II. From the 2007-08 season through the 2009-10 season, the Rams competed in the NCAA's Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), despite being a transitional member who attempted to attain full membership within the MEAC or within NCAA Division I, which the Rams were also scheduled to begin full membership and gain access to NCAA tournaments in 2011. However, it never occurred due to financial difficulties.[7][8]

Its colors are red and white and the university mascot is a ram.

In 1967, Winston-Salem State became the first Historically Black College to win an NCAA Basketball Championship. The Rams won the College Division Championship with a 31-1 record. They were led by high-scoring guard Earl Monroe, who averaged an amazing 41.5 points per game that season before being selected second overall in the 1967 NBA Draft by the Baltimore Bullets.

Winston-Salem State played in the 2012 Division II National Championship football game on December 15, 2012. They lost 35-7 to Valdosta State University, finishing the season 14-1, the best of any historically black college/university. The team was led by head coach Connell Maynor and All-American quarterback Kameron Smith, wide receivers Jameze Massey and Jahaunn Butler, offensive lineman Markus Lawrence, linebacker Carlos Fields, safety Malcolm Rowe, fullbacks Ricky Rozier and Robert Moore leading a backfield of Maurice Lewis and Patrick Mputu. Fields would sign to the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2014.[9]

In August 2010, Winston-Salem State University reinstated their baseball program after a 37 year hiatus. Despite only being the first year of the program, the baseball team managed to win the CIAA Conference Championship and move on to the Atlantic Regional. The team again won the CIAA Conference Championship in 2012, 2013, and 2014, making that four consecutive conference championships in the first four years of the program. The team also achieved success in the 2013 season by earning the program's first ever national ranking of #23 in the country while also hosting the 2013 NCAA Atlantic Regional.

National fraternities and sororities[edit]

All of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations currently have chapters at Winston-Salem State University except Delta Sigma Theta sorority, who were recently suspended for a 10-year period in April 2010. The remaining organizations are:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority ΑΚΑ Gamma Lambda ΓΛ
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity ΑΦΑ Beta Iota BI
Iota Phi Theta fraternity ΙΦΘ Kappa Κ
Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity ΚΑΨ Delta Chi ΔΧ
Omega Psi Phi fraternity ΩΨΦ Mu Epsilon ΜΕ
Phi Beta Sigma fraternity ΦΒΣ Delta Alpha ΔΑ
Sigma Gamma Rho sorority ΣΓΡ Rho Ρ
Zeta Phi Beta sorority ΖΦΒ Omega Ω

Other National fraternities and sororities with registered chapters are members of the Council of Independent Greek Organizations. The current members on campus include:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity ΦΜΑ Mu Beta ΜΒ
Tau Beta Sigma honorary band sorority ΤΒΣ Theta Upsilon ΘΥ
Kappa Kappa Psi honorary band fraternity ΚΚΨ Kappa Lambda ΚΛ
Pi Sigma Epsilon professional sales, marketing, and management fraternity ΠΣΕ Zeta Lambda ΖΛ
Alpha Nu Omega Christian sorority ΑΝΩ Pi Π
Kappa Omicron Tau sorority ΚΟΤ Beta Lambda
Chi Eta Phi nursing sorority ΧΗΦ Chi Chi Beta ΧΧΒ
Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity ΑΦΩ Tau Chi ΤΧ
Swing Phi Swing social fellowship SΦS Groove
Sigma Phi Omega National Academic Honor & Professional Society in Gerontology ΣΦΩ Epsilon Alpha

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Donald Evans 1987 former NFL player
Louis Farrakhan attended leader of the Nation of Islam
Oronde Gadsden former NFL player
Cleo Hill former professional basketball player; first player from a CIAA school to be drafted in the first round of the National Basketball Association
Richard Huntley former NFL player
Arrington Jones former NFL player
Earl "the Pearl" Monroe 1967 National Basketball Association Hall of Fame inductee
Lorraine H. Morton 1938 first African-American and longest-serving mayor of Evanston, Illinois
Timmy Newsome former NFL player
Monte Ross 1992 Head Basketball Coach University of Delaware
Louise Smith Educator, helped to establish the first kindergarten program in N.C.
Stephen A. Smith 1989 The Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist, co-star of ESPN First Take and former host of ESPN's Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith
Yancey Thigpen former all-pro National Football League player
Luke Torian 1980 Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from the 35th District
Theodore "Ted" Blunt Wilmington, Delaware City Council President
William Hayes 2008 professional football player
Jim Reid former NBA player
Earl "the Twirl" Williams professional basketball player
Clarence "Jeep" Jones 1955 First Black Deputy Mayor of Boston, Former Chair of the BRA

Notable faculty and staff[edit]

Name Department Notability Reference
Clarence "Bighouse" Gaines Athletics During his 47-year tenure at WSSU as coach, professor and athletic director, his men's basketball team compiled a record of 828-447. Gaines was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.


  1. ^ 2014. "N.C. university endowments record banner year; eclipse $14B in value". National Association of College and University Business Officers. March 12, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ "About WSSU - About WSSU". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Fall 2011 WSSU admissions policy to include class rankings requirement - The News Argus - Winston-Salem State University". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  4. ^ "Winston-Salem State University | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Winston-Salem State University | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  7. ^ "Winston-Salem State jumps to Division I, joins MEAC - College Sports - ESPN". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  8. ^ "Winston-Salem ready to return to D-II, CIAA - NCAA Basketball - Sporting News". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  9. ^ "Undrafted free-agent deals for all 32 NFL teams". Retrieved 2014-06-02. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°05′22″N 80°13′31″W / 36.0894545°N 80.2251603°W / 36.0894545; -80.2251603