About COA >> History


At our 2014 convocation, we prepared a four year retrospective which shows all of our accomplishments in that time period. We hope you enjoy catching up with our activities in this view book.



In 2011, College of The Albemarle celebrated fifty years of academic service to the Albemarle region. As it has from its beginnings as the first comprehensive community college in North Carolina, COA continues to expand its programs and services to the seven county Albemarle Area. We look forward to continuing our service to this great region.

COA Timeline

Local interest to start a community college in Elizabeth City is formalized. The Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce forms special committee that was convinced of the need to establish a comprehensive community college. From this committee began the work of surveying potential students, planning a facility, developing funding, and selling the idea to the citizens.

1960: In the Fall, the Pasquotank County voters by a vote of more than two to one agreed to pay a special tax of fifteen cents per $100 evaluation to support a new college. 

1960: On December 16, the official charter was issued making College of The Albemarle the first college charted by the state under the Community College Act of 1957.

1961: On September 21, College of The Albemarle opens its doors in a remodeled facility known as the former Albemarle Hospital on Riverside Avenue in Elizabeth City. The school serves 113 students at the single campus. College Transfer is the only program offered. There are fifty-seven courses listed in the catalog in areas including mathematics, English, social studies, science, foreign language, and business. There are eight full-time employees; five of whom are faculty.

1963: In June, the first graduating class leaves COA.

1964: COA begins offering vocational and technical programs.

1968: COA enrollment reaches 700.

1968: On December 4th, COA first receives accreditation by the Southern Association (SACS).

1969: College of The Albemarle begins offering classes in Dare County in various borrowed facilities.

1969: In June, COA President Petteway reports to the board that the college has secured forty-two acres of land adjacent to and north of Albemarle Hospital. It will house the newly constructed COA campus.

1971: On February 17th, the groundbreaking ceremony is held for the building on the "new" campus located on 17 North.

1971: The Learning Lab assists an average of 799 adults per month. Of these, nearly half are engaged in the high school equivalence program or the adult high school diploma area.

1972: In December, College of The Albemarle receives reaffirmation of accreditation.

1977: On June 27, the board of trustees reluctantly votes to discontinue the COA intercollegiate athletic program because of uncertainties regarding funding.

1980: The College of The Albemarle Foundation is chartered. The a nonprofit charitable corporation is formed to receive and manage gifts in support of the educational mission of the college. It provides funds for capital needs, equipment, staff development, program support and scholarships.

1984: The Dare County Campus is established as the first satellite campus of the college.

1985: Enrollment reaches 1,487. There are one-hundred and twenty full-time employees.

1985: COA celebrates its 25th Anniversary.

1989: In November, COA opens an Adult Education Center in Edenton (Chowan County) to improve literacy in the region.

1992: In December, the Chowan County Adult Education Center is reestablished as the "Chowan County Center". In its new facilities, the center offers basic skills classes as well as instruction in reading, math, GED preparation, and English as a Second Language classes.

1996: In June, the COA Nursing Program first receives national accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).

2000: College of The Albemarle, Elizabeth City, opens its new Technology Building located on the northern end of the campus.

2001: College of the Albemarle erects the arch from the "Old Campus" on September 21st.

2002: COA breaks ground on the joint Dr. Zack D. Owens Health Sciences Center and Albemarle Family YMCA building.

2003: College of The Albemarle receives reaffirmation of accreditation.

2004: Dr. Zack D. Owens Health Sciences Center and Albemarle Family YMCA building opens.

2007: COA breaks ground on the Building A Expansion Project.

2011: College of The Albemarle celebrates 50 years of serving the Albemarle area - Pasquotank, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, and Perquimans Counties.

2012: Edenton Campus ribbon cutting; Rebranding of the Performing Arts Center.

2013: Currituck Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center ribbon cutting; STEP Center grand opening; Bookstore relocation.

2014: Dolphins Den renovations & ribbon cutting at the Elizabeth City Campus; COA and Currituck County receive the Distinguished Partners in Excellence award by the State Board of the NC Community College System.

2015: Welding Lab renovations ribbon cutting at the Elizabeth City Campus.

Today: College of The Albemarle serves close to 4000 students at locations in Currituck, Dare, Edenton-Chowan and Elizabeth City.

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