One of the most significant advantages of consolidating North Carolina’s public higher education institutions into one system has been diversity. North Carolinians can choose from 16 public universities across the state—each with its own unique identity and distinct offerings. The UNC System is dedicated to strengthening and promoting the “areas of distinction” that make the constituent institutions individually remarkable and collectively extraordinary.

In this spirit, the UNC System Board of Governors created a special Committee on Historically Minority-Serving Institutions in 2018 to study and assess six institutions’ unique challenges and promising opportunities. The UNC System is home to five historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs): Elizabeth City State UniversityFayetteville State UniversityN.C. A&T State UniversityNC Central University, and Winston-Salem State University. It is also home to the only state-designated historically American Indian university – UNC Pembroke. The goal of the committee is to create strategies that will ensure these institutions’ future growth by promoting investments, opportunities, and awareness throughout the state.

In 2019, the committee and these six universities partnered with affiliate PBS North Carolina to host a special program, Focus on the Future: Innovations at NC’s Historically Minority-Serving Institutions. This hour-long segment represents an important milestone in the committee’s work and showcases the economic impact the institutions have in their communities and across the state.

WATCH The Show

“We’ve never been more certain of the crucial role these historically minority-serving institutions play in strengthening our state and our System,” said William Roper, UNC System interim president. “This show brings into focus the innovation and excellence at each of these institutions and puts the spotlight on their many accomplishments.”

Co-hosts Shannon Vickery and Deborah Noel lead an engaging roundtable discussion with UNC Board members Harry Smith and Darrell Allison, UNC System Interim President Bill Roper, and the six chancellors: Dr. Karrie G. Dixon, Elizabeth City State University; Dr. Peggy Valentine, Fayetteville State University; Dr. Harold L. Martin, Sr., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye, North Carolina Central University; Dr. Robin Gary Cummings, UNC Pembroke; and Dr. Elwood L. Robinson, Winston-Salem State University.

Roundtable guests, faculty, and students share their experiences and delve into a rich conversation exploring the educational opportunities at each institution and the institutions’ research-driven innovations and partnerships with communities and industries across the state.

“The UNC Board of Governors is leading the way in supporting our historically minority-serving institutions. This committee was created to not only find new ways to highlight their uniqueness and strengths, but to also explore ways to make strategic investments where our schools continue to be beacons of light in their communities and economic engines in their respective regions,” Allison said.


Preparing students for tomorrow’s workforce. Impacting communities, regions and the state of North Carolina.

Karrie G. Dixon, ECSU
Peggy Valentine, FSU
Harold L. Martin, Sr, NC A&T
Johnson O. Akinleye, NCCU
Robin G. Cummings, UNCP
Elwood L. Robinson, WSSU