About Our System
The University of North Carolina is a multi-campus university dedicated to serving our state and its people through world-class teaching, research and scholarship, and outreach and service. The oldest public university in the nation, UNC traces its roots to the state’s 1776 constitution, which held that “All useful Learning shall be duly encouraged and promoted in one or more Universities.” Today, nearly 225,000 students are enrolled on 16 university campuses across the state and at the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the country’s first public, residential high school for gifted students.
Over two centuries, UNC has evolved into one of the strongest and most successful systems of public higher education in the nation. Its centuries-old roots remain central to its modern role. Today’s mission—to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society—remains true to the University’s founding ideal of shared knowledge in a free society.
In addition, UNC has a long-standing commitment to public service. The UNC Center for Public Television, the UNC Health Care System, the NC Arboretum, and other University affiliates and programs reap social and economic benefits for the citizens of the state.