Knapp-Sanders Building

Located on the eastern edge of campus at Country Club and Raleigh Roads, Knapp-Sanders the home of the School of Government. The building was completed in 1956, funded through a gift from the Knapp Foundation and from a legislative appropriation.

The building is home to a series of large historic murals by artist Frances Vandeveer Kughle. Painted in the style of earlier WPA (Works Progress Administration) murals, the fourteen works, installed in 1960, depict scenes from North Carolina history. After many years of hearing criticisms that the murals overlooked or misinterpreted significant aspects of state history, the School of Government removed many of the murals and arranged to have a new mural painted that would recognize major figures and events from North Carolina African American history. This new mural was installed in 2010.

Joseph Palmer Knapp was a publisher, financier, philanthropist, and conservationist who came to know the state through a vacation home in Currituck County along the North Carolina coast. He became involved in helping local government leaders on improvement projects, which led him to extend his philanthropy to the government and schools of the county. His recognition that public officials needed training just as other professionals did led him to correspond with Albert Coates, founder and first director of the Institute of Government, which later evolved into the School of Government. Knapp died before he could do more, but his wife, Margaret Rutledge Knapp, saw to it that the family foundation funded the institute's new building. The Knapp Foundation has continued its support of the School of Government, also contributing to the 1998 addition, which added the name Sanders.

John Lassiter Sanders was the institute's second director, taking over from Coates in 1962. Over the years Sanders served as an adviser to state government on reapportionment, the creation of the community college system, and the rewriting of the state's constitution. He worked for the UNC System from 1973 to 1978, where he helped complete its first long-range plan. In 1979 Sanders became institute director again and retired in 1992.


Date Established: 1956

Date Range: 1956 – Present