“A & M” Becomes “State”
In 2017 our university celebrates the hundredth anniversary of being “State.” When founded in 1887, our name was the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, and most students fondly referred to it as “A & M.” That changed in early 1917 when the North Carolina state legislature changed the name to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering.
This name was cumbersome in casual conversation, and people soon proposed shortened forms. One was “A & E,” obviously modeled on the previous “A & M.” Students and many alumni immediately opposed this and countered with “State College” or just “State.” At a 27 March 1917 meeting, the student body formally adopted “State,” and many alumni agreed it was the best “popular” form of the name. The 15 April 1917 issue of the Red & White student publication (see below) reported on the student and alumni reaction.
The same Red & White issue may also have been the first publication on campus to use the new college name in its masthead. The 1917 Agromeck must have been finalized or gone to press prior to the name change because it still displayed a modified version of the old “A & M.” The changes did make their way into the 1918 Agromeck, in which the “Block S” also appeared.
The Red & White
With this posting in the “Special Collections News” we introduce the Red & White as a new resource available through our Rare and Unique Digital Collections portal. The Red & White was published by students, and it was the closest thing to a campus newspaper prior to the Technician, which did not begin publishing until 1920. While the Red & White focused on athletics, it also reported on events and activities on campus, and it frequently included essays, short stories, poetry, and humor. It published several times throughout the academic year, if sometimes irregularly. Having begun in 1899, the Red & White ceased publication with the 15 April 1917 issue mentioned above. The United States had entered World War I just days prior to this, and the college administration decided to stop all student publications for the duration of the war, except for the Agromeck yearbook. The Red & White never returned, however, after hostilities ceased.