But on this day in 1987, the university’s Board of Trustees voted to change the names of all the schools to colleges. No longer would NC State have a School of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It would now have a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. (At least CALS makes for a better acronym than SALS, although there is no indication that was a factor in the trustees’ decision.)
The Graduate School and the School of Design were the two exceptions to the change. The dean of the design school said at the time that other prominent design schools, such as those at Harvard and Columbia, were designated as schools rather than colleges, according to an account in the Technician. Design has since taken on the “college” designation, while the Graduate School remains the same.
The move for the rest of the schools was suggested by Durward Bateman, dean of what was then the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, so that NC State could keep pace with other universities.
He said the use of the term “schools” was a leftover from the days when NC State was the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering, or “State College” for short.