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History of Queens

Innovative education, rooted in tradition.


A History Dating from 1857

Long before we were Queens University, we were the Charlotte Female Institute. That was 1857, the year of our founding in downtown Charlotte. Since then, much has changed: our school is now co-ed. We offer master’s degrees. And we’re located in Myers Park, just three short miles from our original location. Also since then, Charlotte has changed around us: it's become one of the country’s fastest-growing, thriving urban centers.

Although we’ve grown, we still offer an intimate campus where high-caliber faculty have close mentoring relationships with students. As we expand academic offerings, we continue our tradition of an evolving curricula empowering each class to thrive. We embrace our increasingly diverse student body, maintaining a close-knit community that unites us as Royals. 

Model T cars parked in Queens circle


Evolution of Name, Mission and Student Body

Queens started as the Charlotte Female Institute (1857-1891). Then we became the Seminary for Girls (1891-1896), then Presbyterian Female College (1896-1912). In 1912, we became Queens College and moved to our beautiful Myers Park campus.

In 1930, Queens linked to the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina through a merger with Chicora College. With that partnership, we adopted Chicora’s motto: Non ministrari sed ministrare (Not to be served, but to serve). Even though the schools are no longer tied, the motto continues at Queens. You see the spirit of service in the actions of students, faculty, staff and alumni who live this motto and make it our institutional mission.

In the 1940s, we began our journey to admit men. It began shortly after World War II when men could attend, but not live on campus. Then, in 1948, Queens opened a co-ed evening college. In 1987, the process was complete: we became fully co-ed, admitting men and allowing them to live on campus.

In 2002, after nearly a century and a half of growth and change, we became who we are today: Queens University of Charlotte.

Taskforce on the History of Slavery and Its Legacies

How the Queens University community understands, shares, and represents its history is essential to its ability to live out its institutional values. That is why in March of 2020, after library staff members shared concerns about a documented history of slavery connections, Queens President Daniel Lugo commissioned a taskforce consisting of faculty, staff, students, and alumni to examine and report on the university's historical relationship with slavery and its legacies.

Among the Taskforce’s recommendations were to join the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium, and for Queens to make an ongoing commitment to the work of understanding, sharing and growing from the knowledge of the institution's past to inform and shape the university's present and future. Read more on the Queens Taskforce on the History of Slavery and Its Legacies webpage.

Female students helping each other with graduation attire


Colleges and Schools

While our curriculum evolves continually—ensuring that our students have the latest skills—it’s rooted in a strong liberal arts approach. The result is an education that’s innovative, yet timeless.

During the past twenty-five years, we have expanded our expertise and offerings to educate the next generation of leaders. In 1993, we established the McColl School of Business to join the original undergrad program, known as the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2004, we merged the nursing program with Presbyterian Hospital’s program to create the Presbyterian School of Nursing. In 2007, the Board of Trustees approved the creation of the Wayland H. Cato, Jr. School of Education. In 2008, we opened the School of Communication, later named the James L. Knight School of Communication. In 2010, we met growing demand for options in the field of healthcare by creating the Andrew Blair College of Health

Female student listening to records in dorm room 1977


From Brick and Ivy to the Screen

Queens launched its first online degree in 2008 – the Bachelor of Science in Nursing for existing RNs, known as the RN to BSN. Five years later, we introduced several master’s degrees online, including the Master of Arts in Communication; the Master of Science in Nursing, the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and the online MBA.

A Tradition of Looking Forward

Over the past century and a half, we’ve carefully cultivated a sense of intentional balance. Queens is where big city meets small school. Where self discovery occurs amid selfless service. Where our curricula evolve to teach the latest skills while respecting our timeless liberal arts core. We’ve created a unique learning environment that doesn’t ask students to choose between these ideals and interests. We invite them to be both, be more – and in so doing, to leave their own mark on our history.

Male students at graduation ceremony


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