Wilmington College began as a temporary college center under the Division of Extension at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1946. After the passage of a public referendum in March 1947, Wilmington College gained the local support and property tax levy to earn permanent status. On September 4, 1947, Wilmington College officially opened. Classes were held in New Hanover High School from 4 to 9 p.m. Reportedly, over 200 students enrolled, and there were 17 faculty members. Due to prevailing segregation laws, Wilmington College was for whites only. Williston College opened for African American students on the same day at Williston Industrial High School with 6 part-time instructors and 26 students. The New Hanover County Board of Education operated both colleges. (See From These Beginnings: Wilmington College, 1946-1969).