William Peace University is located in the heart of Raleigh, North Carolina. It was founded in 1857 as Peace Institute, offering education for boys and girls in primary grades and to women from high school to college.
The school is named in honor of William Peace, a Raleigh Businessman and church elder, who pledged $10,000 to the Rev. Joseph M. Atkinson in trust for the First Presbyterian Church. The gift was used to establish the Peace Institute.
William Peace University's mission is to prepare students for careers in the organizations of tomorrow. On average, more than 90 percent of the University's graduates are placed in jobs or graduate school within one year of graduation.
William Peace University has been named among the Most Successful Colleges for Graduating Low-Income Black Students (Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D.).
WPU is also ranked among the best online colleges in North Carolina for 2015 and 2016 by Affordable Colleges Online (ACO), an independent organization dedicated to online learning and college affordability. The University has been twice ranked in the top 15 and commended for its flexibility in course offerings, financial aid awarded, and affordability.
The National Survey of Student Engagement consistently rates William Peace University among the top 10% of colleges and universities nationwide. Nowhere is our commitment to students more evident than our outcomes.
WPU is known for having a high success rate in job placement for its graduates. The school's job and graduate school placement rate exceeds the national job placement average of 59 percent reported in 2011-2012 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Career Services Benchmark Survey. In 2014 and 2015, WPU reported a placement rate of 97 percent of graduates within a year of graduation.
Additionally, WPU is ranked No. 1 in the nation when it comes to colleges with the highest rate of internships, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Construction of the University's Main Building was interrupted during the Civil War when the Confederate government used it as a military hospital. After the war, the federal government used the building as the North Carolina headquarters the Freedmen's Bureau, which helped former slaves, establish new lives.
Peace Institute opened in 1872, when the First Presbyterian Church regained ownership of the property and repaired the Main Building. R. Stanhope Pullen, a local businessman and philanthropist, who owned the eight acres of land the campus is built on, signed over ownership of the property to the Peace Institute in 1878.
By 1940, Peace offered an academic program for young women that encompassed the last two years of high school and the first two years of college. During the 1960s and early 1970s, William Peace University saw its greatest growth with the construction of 11 new buildings and many renovations to existing structures.
William Peace University transitioned into a four-year baccalaureate institution during the mid-1990s, awarding its first baccalaureate degree in 1996. Additionally, Peace began offering coeducational evening courses through the William Peace School of Professional Studies in 2009.
In 2011, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to transition Peace's day program to coeducational and to rename the college William Peace University. The university's first male students matriculated in 2012.