Wellons Hall (1965), named for Ralph D. Wellons, president of UNCP from 1942-1956, houses administrative offices.
Ralph D. Wellons
Dr. Ralph D. Wellons was president during some of the University’s landmark events. President from 1942-56, the list of achievements during Dr. Wellons’ tenure is remarkable.
He took over a University that was at one of its lowest points during World War II and led the small normal school into a brave new world. That era even included the glory days of football from 1947-51.
A spirited and spiritual leader, Dr. Wellons served as a missionary and president of a Christian college in India before the war broke out. Frustrated that American Indians were being refused admission to graduate schools at state universities, he publicly protested in 1948, saying “to open the graduate schools of the state university to Indians is the most practical, the most economical and the most sensible thing to do.” In 1951, UNC-Chapel Hill relented.
Dr. Wellons practiced what he preached and opened the doors of the University beginning in 1949 to members of other American Indian tribes, then to all persons in 1954. The University was a national leader in this landmark development.
During Wellons’ tenure, there was growth in campus and student life. The original Sampson Hall, which housed the administration and library, was completed as were Locklear and Moore Halls. The University began a Student Government Association and launched a student newspaper and the Indianhead yearbook. It is believed that somewhere during this time the University acquired its athletic nickname, the Braves.
Updated: Thursday, August 2, 2012
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