Happy Birthday, Summer School!

Summer School is celebrating 135 years of offering courses to students in North Carolina and across the country and abroad.

“We are extremely proud of the role Summer School has played in helping so many UNC-Chapel Hill students complete their degree requirements as well as to bring such a diverse visiting student group to campus in the summer,” said Dean Jan Yopp.

Summer School is planning only several small celebrations for staff across campus who “are the backbone in setting up courses, getting faculty paid and handling other behind-the-scenes administrative tasks in their units in summer,” Yopp said. “Although we are marking this milestone, it’s business as usual.”

“The Summer Normal School,” as it was called when created in 1877, was possibly the first residential summer school in the United States. It enrolled 235 students in courses in more than 10 disciplines. About half the students were teachers, and students came from 42 counties across North Carolina and from neighboring states.

Summer School was the first school at UNC to enroll women, beginning in its first year. By 1925, almost 20,000 students had enrolled in Summer School courses. From 1934 to 1987, these programs were administered by the Office of Summer Sessions. The traditional name of Summer School was reinstated in 1988.

Summer School courses are offered in a three-week Maymester and in two five-week sessions.

About 45 departments or curricula of the College of Arts and Sciences and six professional schools in Academic Affairs offer summer classes. More than 90 percent of the instructors are the same faculty and graduate students who teach during the academic year. Visiting faculty are hired to teach specific topics.

For more information, visit the Summer School or follow @UNCSummerSchool on Twitter.

Published May 15, 2012.