Johnson C. Smith University

Jacqie McWilliams
Gwendolyn Glenn

The CIAA basketball tournament is back in Charlotte for its last run -- at least for now. After this year, it will be in Baltimore through 2023. The tournament is where historically black colleges and university basketball teams compete against each other. The CIAA is one of the country’s oldest athletic conferences, with 12 schools, including Johnson C. Smith in Charlotte.


According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 6,000 veterans committed suicide last year. Close to 200 occurred in North Carolina.

From left: J.T. Henderson, Alvamir Jzar, Amare Harris and Christopher Bacon Jackson perform Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, during the ULI Hip-Hop Architecture Camp at Johnson C. Smith University.
Dashiell Coleman / WFAE

How do you get teens to spend part of their summer vacation thinking about architecture and public policy? The Urban Land Institute of Charlotte turned to something that might sound a bit crazy: Hip Hop Architecture Camp

Clarence Armbrister, president of Johnson C. Smith University.
Sarafina Wright / WFAE

Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte is a private liberal arts school with a strong heritage as a historically black school. Johnson C. Smith's president is Clarence Armbrister. He's been on the job since January of 2018 but his official inauguration ceremony will be held on Friday, April 5. Clarence Armbrister joins WFAE’s Mark Rumsey to talk about his time at JCSU so far and his vision for the school's future.


Students at Johnson C. Smith University are having an extended winter break while the school is removing mold from residence halls after students reported the fungus was making them sick. The university expects the work to be completed by the end of next week.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a long history of giving minority students access to education. But as HBCUs around the country face financial hardships, loss of accreditation and even — for a few — closure, some schools are turning to a new community for recruitment: Latino students. That includes Johnson C. Smith University in west Charlotte.

Johnson C. Smith University

State officials are asking the public for help in finding a historical marker that disappeared from its spot near Johnson C. Smith University about six months ago. 

Amanda Ruiz

A typical image for a college graduation ceremony involves proud parents taking pictures of their kids in cap and gown. Of course, many graduates are also parents themselves, like Amanda Ruiz. She says a scholarship program geared to mothers helped her graduate within three years.

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's and women's basketball tournaments are in Charlotte this week. Tournament week brings a variety of unofficial parties and other events in and around uptown, including the Charlotte Convention Center.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

Johnson C. Smith University was placed on probation last week by its accreditation agency. This week that agency released a bit more information about why it made that decision. It cited concerns about the school’s financial stability and control of its resources. But there are still a lot of questions. Smith officials are playing the probation down, saying they expect to clear it up soon. They, too, are not providing any specifics.

Clarence Armbrister will become the next president of Johnson C. Smith University, the school said in a statement Wednesday.

Armbrister will be officially installed in January as the historically-black college's 14th president.  He's had leadership roles in k-12 education and in universities. Currently, he serves as president of Girard College, a boarding school for students from economically-disadvantaged families in the Philadelphia region.

Hillary Clinton
Jeff Cravotta / WFAE

  Updated 5:05 p.m.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in Charlotte Thursday for a midday rally at Johnson C. Smith University. She talked about college costs, voting rights, House Bill 2 and her differences with Republican Donald Trump.

Charlotte Observer File

This next school year will be Ron Carter's last as president of Johnson C. Smith University. He plans to step down next June. The man hired to be a change agent says he's accomplished what he set out to with the school.

JCSU President Ron Carter Faces Questions Over Leadership

Nov 23, 2015
Charlotte Observer File

Charlotte Observer 

Ron Carter arrived at Johnson C. Smith University seven years ago as a change agent, and testaments to his vision include the new light-filled science center on campus and the colorful Mosaic Village housing development along Charlotte’s northwest corridor.

Supporters say Carter, who has been president since July 2008, is just what the university – and west side – need to revitalize.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have charged four people in relation to a shooting on Johnson C. Smith University's campus over the weekend. The student who was shot was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A Johnson C. Smith University student was shot in the shoulder area around 2:15 a.m. Sunday while sitting in a car on campus. The university's president says the student was not targeted.

CMPD reports another vehicle fled the scene and then crashed. Police say they found three guns and marijuana in the vehicle, and then charged four people with crimes:

Charlotte’s West End is the subject of a book called "Let There Be Light:  Exploring How Charlotte’s Historic West End is Shaping a New South.” It’s a collection of essays by local journalists, scholars, and civic leaders who explore the history and future of this largely African-American part of town just over I-77 from uptown. The book is a project of Johnson C. Smith University. Morning Edition host Marshall Terry visited school president Ronald Carter and asked him how this part of Charlotte is helping to shape the New South.

JCSU Gets More Than $1 Million For Scholarship Fund

Apr 17, 2014

Johnson C. Smith University has received about $1 million this month for a scholarship fund that helps students pay the difference between their financial aid and tuition.

Tasnim Shamma

Johnson C. Smith University President Ron Carter is urging the Department of Education to reconsider changes to the Federal Parent PLUS loan. Carter blames those changes for the school's recent three million dollar budget cut.

Johnson C. Smith University

Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the historic march on Washington, in which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream Speech.”  The march drew thousands of people from all over the country.  One was an aspiring attorney from Charlotte named Charles Jones. He was attending law school at Howard University after graduating from Johnson C. Smith University. Jones helped organize the march as part of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.  He spoke to us about the experience.