| In 1867, seven Black men - Matthew N. Leary, Andrew J. Chesnutt, Robert Simmons, George Grainger, Thomas Lomax, Nelson Carter, and David A. Bryant - paid $136 for two lots on Gillespie Street and converted themselves into a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees to maintain this property permanently as a site for the education of Black children in Fayetteville. General O. O. Howard of the Freedman’s Bureau, one of the best-known friends of Black education, erected a building on this site, and the institution became known as the Howard School. By a legislative act in 1877, the North Carolina General Assembly provided for the establishment of a Normal School for the education of Black teachers. The Howard School was chosen as the most promising because of its successful record during the previous ten years. It was designated a teacher training institution, and its name was changed to the State Colored Normal School. Five Chief Administrative Officers served for relatively short periods until 1899: Robert L. Harris,Principal (1867-1880), Charles W. Chesnutt, Principal (1880-1883), Ezekiel Ezra (E. E.) Smith, Principal(1883-1888), George Williams, Principal(1888-1895), E. E. Smith, Principal (1895-1898), and the Rev. L. E. Fairley, Principal (1898-1899).
In 1899, Dr. Smith returned to the institution. Under his presidency, the school grew from three rooms in a small frame structure to a physical plant of ten buildings on a fifty-acre tract of land. In order to pay for the land, Dr. Smith, along with F. D. Williston, E. N. Williams, J. G. Smith and Dr. P. N. Melchor, endorsed a note for 3,000.00. The note was renewed several times and eventually paid off by Dr. Smith. He later deeded the land to the State. Dr. Smith retired in 1933 at the age of 80 with more than 40 years of service to the institution.
Dr. J. Ward Seabrook succeeded Dr. Smith and under his presidency the school became Fayetteville State Teachers College, thereafter being authorized to grant the Bachelor of Science degree in Education. The college received both state and regional accreditation in 1947.
Dr. Seabrook retired in 1956 and was succeeded by Dr. Rudolph Jones. During Dr. Jones’ administration, the curriculum was expanded to include majors in secondary education and programs leading to degrees outside the teaching field. The name of the school was changed to Fayetteville State College in 1963. Also, under Dr. Jones’ leadership, six additions were made to the physical plant to accommodate a rapidly expanding enrollment.
In 1969, the institution acquired its present name, "Fayetteville State University," and Dr. Charles
"A" Lyons, Jr. was elected president. By a legislative act in 1972, Fayetteville State University became a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina System. The Chief Executive Officer's position was re-titled to Chancellor, with Dr. Lyons becoming the first Chancellor of the University. During his tenure, the curriculum was expanded to include a variety of both baccalaureate and master’s level programs. In addition, the Fort Bragg-Pope AFB Extension Center, in conjunction with the Week-End and Evening College, was established in order to provide military personnel and other persons employed full-time with the opportunity to further their education.
The general academic structure took its present configuration in 1985 when the University became a Comprehensive Level I Institution. In addition to expanding program offerings and services, eight buildings were added to the physical plant during this period to include the state-of-the-art Charles Chesnutt Library.
On January 1, 1988, Dr. Lloyd V. Hackley became the eighth Chief Executive Officer of the University.During his tenure, FSU’s first doctoral program in Educational Leadership was established; andbaccalaureate program offerings were also increased to include 36 disciplines in the arts and sciences,business and economics, and education. The addition for the ultra-modern Business and Economicsbuilding and the new Health, Physical Education and Recreation Complex under-scored Dr. Hackley’s commitment to FSU’s continued expansion and growth. Chancellor Hackley strengthened FSU’scommunity outreach to at-risk children in the public schools, establishing numerous scholarship and tutoring/mentoring programs. FSU’s first major capital campaign was also completed during Dr. Hackley’stenure, and enabled FSU to increase the number of privately funded student scholarships to over 200. On December 31, 1994, Dr. Hackley left his post at FSU to become President of the North Carolina Department ofCommunity Colleges, the first African-American to lead the state’s system of 59 community colleges.
Dr. Donna J. Benson, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs of The University of North Carolina served as FSU’s interim Chancellor from January 1, 1995 to November 14, 1995.
Dr. Willis B. McLeod, a 1964 graduate of Fayetteville State University, was appointed Chancellor on
November 15, 1995 bringing over 30 years of professional experience in the field of education. He was the ninth Chief Executive Officer of the 135-year-old institution, and the first alumnus to serve as Chancellor since FSU became a constituent of The University of North Carolina. Several majorinitiatives were established by Dr. McLeod to lead FSU into the 21st century and included the "Freshmen Year Initiative" program, major campus improvements, a master plan for the revitalizationof Murchison Road and several outreach efforts aimed at forging stronger community ties and regional partnerships with public school and university leaders. Dr. McLeod retired as Chancellor on June 30, 2003 with emeritus status. Upon return from a year of research leave, he will be appointed to the position of an endowed distinguished professor chair in the FSU School of Education.
Dr. T. J. (Thelma Jane) Bryan was elected by the University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors on June 18, 2003. Dr. Bryan started her duties on July 1, 2003, as the tenth Chief Executive Officer of Fayetteville State University and the first woman elected by the University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors to lead the 136-year-old institution as Chancellor. She was also the first African-American woman appointed as head of a University of North Carolina institution. During her four-year tenure, the university added ten new academic programs—undergraduate programs such as fire science, forensic science, management information systems, and generic nursing as well as master’s programs in criminal justice and teaching. Full online baccalaureate programs in criminal justice, psychology, and sociology and a full online master’s program in criminal justice have also been added, and FSU’s distance-education enrollments catapulted to third in the 16-institution system. Dr. Bryan mandated that all programs that are eligible for specialized accreditation pursue such stamps of approval, and accreditations were garnered from the Council on Social Work Education for the master of social work program, from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for business and accounting programs, and from the Council on Collegiate
Nursing Education for the generic nursing program.Cross Creek Early College High School and Fire Station #14 were established on the campus during her tenure, which ended on July 23, 2007.
Dr. Lloyd V. Hackley was named Interim Chancellor by UNC President Erskine Bowles and started his
duties effective July 23, 2007. Dr. Hackley was chancellor (interim) at North Carolina A&T State University from June 2006 to July 2007. He was president of the North Carolina Community College System, chancellor and tenured professor of both Fayetteville State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Vice President in the 16-campus University of North Carolina system, chair of the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute, chair of the Arkansas Civil Rights Commission, and chair of the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Dr. Hackley was also a faculty member in the Government Executive Institute at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of business.Dr. Hackley is chancellor emeritus of Fayetteville State University, chair of the NC Methodist Home for Children and chairman emeritus of the National CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition. Since January, 1997, he has taught in or conducted personally more than 3200 seminars, workshops and lectures in ethics and character development throughout America and overseas, for children, parents, teachers, coaches, and other persons who work with children, as well as for businesses, universities, various governmental agencies and other youth-serving organizations.
James A. Anderson, professor of psychology and former vice provost and vice president at the University of Albany in New York, has been elected Chancellor of Fayetteville State University by the Board of Governors of the multi-campus University of North Carolina. UNC President Erskine Bowles placed Anderson’s name in nomination ... during the board’s regular March meeting. Anderson, 59, assumed his new duties June 9, succeeding Lloyd V. “Vic” Hackley, who served as interim chancellorsince July 2007.