Then and Now

A time-traveling tour of UNC Asheville's 90 years.

We’ve come a long way from that first class of just 86 students meeting in the basement of the Biltmore High School, when students could get to class by riding a streetcar and tuition could be paid with eggs and milk. The university has changed and grown in many ways throughout the years, with plenty of change and growth to look forward to in the future.

Take a moment to explore UNC Asheville’s history through the creative vision of student photographer Emmanuel Figaro ’18, who searched the archives to investigate the changing face of UNC Asheville throughout the past 90 years.

Ramsey Library has been central to the life of UNC Asheville since it was built in 1965. Students today visit Ramsey not only to find books or a quiet place to study, but also to use online databases, to learn advanced media editing and use creative technologies in the Media Design Lab and CrAFT Studio, or to grab a quick coffee and a bite to eat.

Ramsey Library has been central to the life of UNC Asheville since it was built in 1965. Students today visit Ramsey not only to find books or a quiet place to study, but also to use online databases, to learn advanced media editing and use creative technologies in the Media Design Lab and CrAFT Studio, or to grab a quick coffee and a bite to eat.

TECHNOLOGY: Technology has changed  in leaps and bounds in the last 90 years. From 3-D printers to virtual reality,  UNC Asheville students now have a wealth of technology at their fingertips, just waiting for their creativity and innovation.

Carmichael Hall and Owen Hall will see their first renovations in 2018, thanks to funding from the Connect NC Bond. These buildings have been an academic home to students since being built in 1966 and 1979 respectively.

Of course, no matter what the year is, we always cheer for our Bulldogs. UNC Asheville’s women’s basketball team wasn’t created until 1972. With 17 players—none of whom had played basketball before—the team took on Warren Wilson and won. Today, the women’s basketball team has claimed three Big South Tournament titles and played in the NCAA tournament.

Photos courtesy of UNC Asheville Special Collections


What’s New in the Archives?
There’s always something new and interesting in the university archives, whether it’s the collection of new stories, a “brown bag talk” with a faculty expert, or the discovery of a piece of local history once forgotten. For interesting insights, be sure to check out the Special Collections & University Archives blog, at unc-asheville-archives.blogspot.com.

We love our archives!

Through an ornate marble doorway on the second floor of Ramsey Library lies UNC Asheville’s Special Collections and University Archives—manuscripts, books, oral histories, photographs, and other materials chronicling the history and culture of our region.

As Old as These Hills

Special Collections is a great place to find out more about the mountains and community we live in. In Special Collections, visitors can flip through the pages of a UNC Asheville yearbook from 1939, view photos of the daily life of Asheville’s African-American community in the 1950s, or listen to recordings of the oral histories of six notable personalities from NASCAR as collected by Professor of History Dan Pierce (yes, NASCAR has roots in WNC).

Special Collections Speed Date

So many primary sources, so little time! Some UNC Asheville history classes use a “speed dating” approach in order to find the perfect match for their projects. Gene Hyde, head of Special Collections, creates introductory collections on different topics, allowing groups of students to quickly get a feel for the subject they might choose to research. Sometimes it can take a while to find the right fit—but never rule out the opportunity for love at first sight!