U.S. Presidents

The only UNC alumnus to go on to become president of the United States was James K. Polk, from Mecklenburg County, an 1818 graduate. One other future president briefly attended UNC: Gerald Ford enrolled for summer classes at the law school in 1938. Future president George H. W. Bush did not take classes at UNC but was on campus in 1942 to attend the navy pre-flight school there, as did Gerald Ford. Seven presidents have visited UNC while in office: James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.


Date Established: 1818

Date Range: 1818 – Present

President John F. Kennedy speaking at the University Day celebration in Kenan Stadium, October 12, 1961. UNC Photo Lab Collection, North Carolina Collection Photo Archives, Wilson Library.