“No Steps Backwards” is the motto adopted by the seven young men who were the first graduating class of the A&M College for the College Race, the first name given to what is now North Carolina A & T State University. The first alumni of the A&M College for the Colored Race knew that they were leading us into a meaning and responsible future.
As our first alumni, they charted the course for our Alumni Association. The late Dr. B.W. Barnes is credited with organizing the first alumni chapter in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1909, the first year after he graduated from the College. With the addition of a graduate program in 1939 and new degrees, the number of alumni began to increase substantially. This growth in the alumni population was the impetus for new chapters and, eventually, the establishment of Regions.
Outside of North Carolina, we find the expansion of our alumni base. On October 6, 1927, the Philadelphia Chapter was organized as the first chapter in the northeastern United States.
In the 1940s, the formal organization known as the Alumni Association became an established entity. University records show that by 1941, the Alumni Association was operating a viable alumni loan fund for needy students.
Mr. Arthur Dees of Dunn, North Carolina became the Alumni Association’s first National president. Rapid growth came to the organization after World War II. The number of chapters continued to grow under Mr. E.E. Waddell. The Association played a supportive role to the struggling but promising college. By 1948, the alumni had established a placement bureau at the college to assist graduates in finding employment.
The Association received its Certificate of Incorporation (charter) as a non-profit organization from the State of North Carolina on October 26, 1953, to the then named General Alumni Association of the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina, Inc. We further extended our corporate presence on March 23, 1971 when the U.S. Internal Revenue Service afforded the Alumni tax exempt status under Section 401 (c)(3) of the tax code.
From the beginning, the Alumni Association’s financial support came from the payment of dues that ranged from $1.00 to $5.00 per year. These funds help operate the organization. In 1954, the treasury showed a balance of $1,000.00. The Alumni Association’s annual giving reached $100,000 for the first time in its history in 1979. As one of the principal sources of unrestricted funds for the University since 1972, the Association has assisted in scholarships, student recruitment, giving solicitation, athletics and student support.
As the University celebrated its Centennial in 1990-91, the Alumni Association reached a record $534,000 in Annual Giving. This level of support was critical to the University seeing its way into the next century as a strong, viable and outstanding model of excellence and institution of higher learning.
Over the years, we have grown our alumni chapters to as many as 75 from just one in 1909. Through 18 National presidents, we have maintained our focus on support for the University, communicating with Alumni and building our alumni base.
Today, with over 30,000 alumni of record, almost 50 chapters and strong support, the Alumni Association is poised to move to higher heights of accomplishment, affording its members the opportunity to engage in meaningful ways with other alumni and the University.
We carry forward our original motto of “No Steps Backwards” into this new century and we honor our first alumni by being in the forefront of support for North Carolina A & T State University.
Mr. Arthur Dees – 1940*
Mr. Clinton O. Howell – 1946-1947*
Mr. Elbert E. Waddell – 1947-1957*
Mr. Howard Barnhill – 1957-1959*
Mrs. Julia S. Brooks – 1969-1974
Mr. Eugene Preston, Jr. – 1973-1977
Mr. Jimmie I. Barber – 1977-1979*
Dr. Velma Speight Buford – 1979-1983
Mr. John Maye, Jr. – 1983-1985*
Dr. James Gooch – 1985-1989
Mr. Clarence T. Knight – 1989-1991
Mr. John H. Wooten, Sr. – 1991-1993*
Ms. Deloris Chisley – 1993-1997
Ms. Lillian Robbins – 1997-1999
Mr. John Petty – 1999-2003
Ms. Teresa Davis – 2003-2007
Ms. Pamela L. Johnson – 2007-2009
Mr. Gerald A. Williams – 2009 – 2011
Ms. Frances V. Peppers – 2012 – 2013
Chairperson of the Board of Directors
Dr. Claudette Bennett – 2013 – Present