Caldwell Hall is situated between Winston Hall and Tompkins Hall on Hillsborough Street. Built in 1981 and originally named Link Hall, due to the fact that it links Winston and Tompkins Hall together, it was renamed for former NC State Chancellor John Tyler Caldwell in 1987. Caldwell, former NCSU Chancellor who served from 1959 to 1975 presided over significant growth in the student body (enrollment more than doubled, reaching over 15,000 students by his retirement) as well as radical increases in the number of women attending.
Many new degrees and colleges were added to NC State in the 1960s. Especially notable were the addition of the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in 1960, and the School of Liberal Arts in 1963. The History of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences states NC State felt the new School was necessary in order to meet “the requirements of modern technology.” The School of Liberal Arts was created as a degree-granting school given to the former non-degree granting School of General Studies.
Race was another issue at the forefront of Caldwell’s time as Chancellor. As described by John E. Batchelor in “Race and Education in North Carolina: From Segregation to Desegregation,” North Carolina’s response to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was slow, halting, and obstructive, with many people alarmed and angered by moves to desegregate schools. While NC State had admitted its first Black graduate student before this decision, in 1953, it did not admit its first Black undergraduate students until 1956. This all preceded Caldwell’s time as Chancellor, leaving him much to resolve. In 1959 when Caldwell became Chancellor, desegregation and race were still pressing issues for the school and continued to be so.
In 1960, NC State had no official policy on accepting Black students from out of state. “The Inclusion and Involvement of African-Americans at North Carolina State University, 1953-1993,” details how Caldwell decided to “quietly” make a policy to accept out of state Black students- but only if they were “exceptionally qualified and never more than a few.” The policy he decided for international students was similar, deciding to accept “only a few if highly qualified.”
According to Nash Nicks Winstead, author of “The Inclusion and Involvement of African-Americans at North Carolina State University, 1953-1993,” in 1961 Caldwell joined the Mayor’s Community Relations Committee and acted as an advocate for the integration of Raleigh restaurants; at the time only 11 restaurants near the campus served Black students. In the 1991 Technician article announcing the death of Chancellor Caldwell, former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Tom Stafford said, “Caldwell felt the most important day during his career at NCSU was the day Baxley’s Restaurant on Hillsborough St. was integrated.”
Another issue facing Chancellor Caldwell was a rise in student protest. As sociologist Colin Barker notes at the beginning of his article, “Some Reflections on Student Movements of the 1960s and Early 1970s,” “The 1960s and early 1970s were notable for the rise and spread of student movements across many parts of the industrialized world.” NC State was no different and students were involved in protests against racism, for workers’ rights, freedom of speech, and anti-War throughout Caldwell’s time as Chancellor.
Interviewed in 1975 in a special edition of the Technician called “The Caldwell Years” honoring his retirement, Caldwell stated that he wasn’t against the protests, rather “misbehavior.” He applauded the anti-Vietnam protestors saying, “‘They despised that war in Vietnam but they took the responsible role not just of dialogue but also of protest in a dignified and convincing way in an appeal to reason.” However, he was not always supportive of protests.
A NCSU Library News Article put out by special collections, “African American Protests Spring 1969 (Part 1)” after a series of protests for “better wages and working conditions for NC State’s non-academic workers,” Chancellor Caldwell canceled classes on March 5th and addressed 7,000 students, faculty, and staff at Reynolds Coliseum the campus about the recent protests. A Technician article published March 7th reported the speech:
<blockquote> “To the campus militants [Caldwell] said: ‘Stop being so disgustingly self-righteous. Self-righteousness is the most unbecoming, unproductive and unenjoyable of all the sins in the catalogue! Some are real enjoyable.. I remind each of you, that despite my record of concern and fairness for the Black man and for every person on this campus, not one of you would be champions had the appreciation or common decency to come near me to find the facts or seek a remedy, if one was needed during the recent protest…’”
Protests continued throughout the year especially pertaining to the requests and ongoing tensions and disagreements between the Non-Academic Employees Union Grievance Committee and campus leadership. Several Black employees were fired during this time. The employees claimed it was due to their involvement in protests while the University held it was due to their shirking of job responsibilities.
Caldwell remained at NC State until his retirement in 1975, though he continued to teach political science courses at NC State until 1985 and served as the president of the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, Inc. from 1975 to 1982. Upon his retirement, the alumni association named the University’s first merit scholarship after him. According to the Caldwell Fellows Program website, the Caldwell scholarship eventually merged with the previously established NC State Fellows Program to officially become the Caldwell Fellows Program in 1990. Caldwell passed away in 1995.
Original Source References
Caldwell, John T., Box 10, North Carolina State University, University Archives Reference Collection, Biographical Files, UA 050.003, NC State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center
John Tyler Caldwell Papers, MC 00037, NC State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center
North Carolina State University, Office of the Chancellor, John Tyler Caldwell Records, UA 002.001.004, NC State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center
North Carolina State University, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Records 1887-2013, UA 003.001, NC State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center, Box 187
Technician (Raleigh, N.C.) (LH1 .N6 T4), Special Collections Research Center at NC State University Libraries.
Batchelor, John E. Race and Education in North Carolina: From Segregation to Desegregation. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2015.
Cohen, Robert. Rebellion in Black and White: Southern Student Activism in the 1960s. United States: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
Ferguson, Roderick A.. We Demand: The University and Student Protests. United States: University of California Press, 2017. https://soh.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/exhibits/show/1970-johncaldwell/caldwell-work-together
Kosmerik, Todd. “African-American Protests, Spring 1969 (Part 1).” NC State University Libraries. March 15, 2019. https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/news/special-collections/african-american-protests-spring-1969-part-1
Kosmerik, Todd. “African-American Protests, Spring 1969 (Part 2).” NC State University Libraries. April 23, 2019. https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/news/special-collections/african-american-protests-spring-1969-part-2
Kosmerik, Todd. “African-American Protests, Spring 1969 (Part 3).” NC State University Libraries. June 11, 2019. https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/news/special-collections/african-american-protests-spring-1969-part-3
Spencer, Anna. “Graduate Students Break the Color Barrier in 1950s.” NC State: The Graduate School. February 7, 2019. https://grad.ncsu.edu/news/2019/02/students-break-the-color-barrier/#:~:text=In%201953%2C%20two%20African%2DAmerican,to%20integrate%20NC%20State%20University.&text=It%20was%20three%20years%20later,to%20NC%20State's%20undergraduate%20programs.
Spencer, Anna. “Twists and Turns of Naming NC State.” NC State: The Graduate School. April 30, 2019. https://grad.ncsu.edu/news/2019/04/naming-nc-state/#:~:text=In%201965%2C%20to%20much%20fanfare,or%20North%20Carolina%20State%20University.
"Let's Work Together Now" The State of History. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://soh.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/exhibits/show/1970-johncaldwell/caldwell-work-together
“Historical Sketch of North Carolina State University.” NC State Libraries. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/scrc/university-historical-sketch
“Energy Performance Contracts.” NC State University: Energy Management. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://sustainability.ncsu.edu/energy-management/programs/energy-performance-contracts/
“Caldwell Fellows: History” NC State Alumni Association, Accessed February 10, 2021. http://www.community.alumni.ncsu.edu/s/1209/caldwell/interior.aspx?sid=1209&gid=1001&pgid=5208Winstead, Nash Nicks. “Inclusion and Involvement of African-Americans at North Carolina State University, 1953-1993,” (LD3928 .W5 2000), Special Collections Research Center at NC State University Libraries. https://d.lib.ncsu.edu/collections/catalog/LD3928-W5-2000#?c=&m=&s=&cv=&xywh=-2339%2C17%2C9459%2C7136