Firsts in North Carolina Education History Whether they’re public or private, colleges or elementary schools, North Carolina’s educational institutions are some of the most noteworthy in the country. written by Taylor Pardue photograph by Flickr/Nicolas Henderson Famous Firsts in North Carolina Education History North Carolina’s first known school was established in 1705, eight miles south of what coastal community? The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first public university to hold classes in the United States, as well as the only public university to award degrees in the 1700s. While it was established in 1789, when was the first building’s cornerstone laid? The first free public school in North Carolina opened January 20, 1840. In which county was it located? The oldest continuously operating educational institution for girls and women in North Carolina is also the oldest in the United States, having been founded in 1772. Which college is it? There are 58 colleges in North Carolina’s community college system, with campuses located across the state. What year was the system created? The Croatan Normal School, now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, was established in 1887. What county is it located in? In 1951, three years before the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the first African-American students were allowed to attend the law school at what university? The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics was the first public, residential high school focused on science and math in the country. What year was it established? The North Carolina School of the Arts, now the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, was the first public arts conservatory in the country. Which governor helped create this “Juilliard of the South,” which opened in 1965? In 1845, Gov. John Motley Morehead persuaded the General Assembly to create the first school for North Carolina’s blind, deaf, and mute students. In what city is it located?