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From its founding in 1789 until 1932, the University of North Carolina was a single campus in Chapel Hill. During the Great Depression, the Brookings Institution recommended several cost-saving measures for the state government, which included consolidating the operations of the North Carolina College for Women in Greensboro (now UNC-Greensboro) and the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (now North Carolina State University) in Raleigh with UNC in Chapel Hill. Under consolidation, the university operated with one board of trustees that oversaw all three campuses, along with a system leader initially designated chancellor but eventually changed to president. The leader of each campus was designated vice president at first, which changed to dean of administration, and eventually to chancellor.

Part of the consolidation plan included the elimination of duplicate programs. The most notorious decision was to eliminate UNC's engineering program in favor of North Carolina State's program. However, Carolina managed to retain its sanitary engineering courses, which eventually became the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Date Established: 1932

Date Range: 1932 – Present

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