Few moments in NC State’s history have been as divisive as the fight over the university’s name that took place in the mid-1960s. Supporters of the consolidated system, including its head Bill Friday, wanted the name to be the University of North Carolina-Raleigh, and students and professors believed North Carolina State College’s unique identity be preserved.
But no voice was more vocal in opposing the name change than the university’s alumni. And on this day in 1963, State College alumni attended an open hearing held by the N.C. Senate and House education committees on a bill that incorporated the use of “North Carolina State, the University of North Carolina at Raleigh.” Though the name was seen as a compromise, alumni suggested the name was just as offensive.
R.W. Graber was one of those alumni who chose to be heard that March afternoon, according to an article in The Technician. And he suggested that the UNC system was trying to “swallow” up NC State, which he pointed out was often an afterthought with insults like “Cow College” being thrown its way. “But beef is pretty tough,” Graber said in the hearing, “and UNC would have a hard time digesting State.”
The fight and the protests ensued for two more years until 1965, when the university was named North Carolina State University at Raleigh, the formal name it goes by today.