Cooperating Raleigh Colleges was founded as a consortium of six institutions of higher education in the City of Raleigh, N.C. Those institutions were Meredith College, North Carolina State University, Peace College, Saint Augustine’s College, Saint Mary’s College, and Shaw University. While there were occasional informal agreements among institutions before 1968, it was not until then that more formal relations were instituted with headquarters in the office of Dr. John A. Yarborough, Professor and Head, Department of Biology, Meredith College.

Created in 1968

Cooperating Raleigh Colleges began officially on July 1, 1968. During that month, the final details of a consortium were approved by the presidents/chancellor of the six institutions. The Constitution and By-laws of Cooperating Raleigh Colleges, joining the institutions into a voluntary arrangement, were unanimously adopted on November 5, 1968. The signers of the document were E. Bruce Heilman, President, Meredith College; John T. Caldwell, Chancellor, North Carolina State University; S. David Frazier, President, Peace College; Prezell R. Robinson, President, Saint Augustine’s College; Richard S. Stone, President, Saint Mary’s College; and James E. Cheek, President, Shaw University. The Board of Directors consisted of the heads of the six institutions and met twice during the academic year.

Early Funding

Initial funding for Cooperating Raleigh Colleges came from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, the Southern Education Foundation, and the IBM Corporation. The major continuing source of funding was from member institutions through dues. Initially, all the IBM grant and a substantial part of the Babcock grant were used to finance projects carried out during the first two years of operation; the Southern Education Foundation grant and contributions from member colleges were used to meet salaries and other expenses in the central office.

From the earliest discussions, dynamic interaction was evident among the six diverse institutions as they addressed collective concerns and policy issues common to all institutions.

Cooperating Raleigh Colleges sought to promote inter-institutional cooperation among the member institutions and to make available to students the maximum benefits of the educational resources of all institutions.These objectives were accomplished in part by agreements formulated between two or more institutions. The founding principle of Cooperating Raleigh Colleges was inter-institutional cooperation for student cross-registration, joint library use, faculty development through meetings by discipline, administrative meetings according to responsibility, and improved communication.

How It’s Governed

The CRC Board of Directors assisted by one professional designated as CRC Director directed the total program of CRC. Representatives from each campus composed an advisory or operating committee, giving suggestions to the Director on program development and implementation. The CRC Director might initiate a project with the Board of Directors or might respond to the request of a president, or interested faculty members and/or administrators might make their interests and concerns known to their CRC Advisory Committee members or to the CRC staff.

The CRC office then facilitated establishment of conference groups, committees, projects, and seminars with representatives from all interested member institutions. CRC thus served as a vital instrument in exploring and implementing new ideas. Moreover, CRC responded to ideas and initiated cooperative endeavors with the larger community and with government.

Cross-registration a Key Program

Cross-registration was a founding principle of Cooperating Raleigh Colleges and gave students on each of the six campuses the opportunity to take courses on other campuses.

The Board of Directors of Cooperating Raleigh Colleges and the staff brought people together who recommended policy. After policy was set, the CRC office kept records on the implementation of this policy. The basic goal was to allow each student to complete registration on his or her own campus for all courses. Also from the beginning it was recommended that billing for tuition and fees be worked out so that the individual student would pay his/her entire bill on his/her own campus. The details of cost per course or credit hour and the intercampus billing were to be worked out between the business offices of the he respective campuses with the recommendation that the students would pay no charges above those paid at their own institution. The overall goal was to broaden the areas of study for as many students as possible.

Cooperating Raleigh Colleges has been served by six Directors. They are Dr. John A. Yarbrough, 1968-71; Mr. M. Austin Connors, Jr., 1971-1977; Dr. Julius P. Freeman, 1977-1981; Dr. Rosalie P. Gates, 1981-2006; Ms. Jenny Spiker, 2007-2019; and current Executive Director Maura DiColla, who joined CRC in January 2020.

Early Leaders

The first coordinator, Dr. John A. Yarbrough, Professor of Biology and Head of the Department of Biology at Meredith College, served on key committees leading to the founding of CRC. He met with committees that put the founding ideas into appropriate structures and coordinated the appearance of outstanding guest lecturers. Mr. M. Austin Connors, who followed Dr. John A. Yarbrough, attended national conferences to keep fellow educators abreast of ideas and initiated an extensive project that involved cooperating with community libraries. Dr. Julius P. Freeman, formerly head of Teacher Education for the State Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina, during 1977-1981 initiated publication of the CRC News, a newsletter circulated among the member institutions, and organized a celebration of the tenth anniversary of CRC held in the McKimmon Center at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Rosalie P. Gates, Professor of History and former Assistant to the President at Meredith College, served as Director of Cooperating Raleigh Colleges from 1981 to June 2006. She brought a background of teaching, research, and administration and a commitment to public service and expanding the boundaries of the educational experience through travel, distance education, and international education. In 2005, Dr. Gates was elected to the national board of the Association for Consortium Leadership (ACL), a national forum for higher education professionals in cooperative programs with members including colleges and universities and consortia, including the American Council on Education and the Association of Governing Boards.

After 1981, cross-registration showed a dramatic increase and included graduate as well as undergraduate programs. Key committees of registrars, librarians, and academic deans remained active, and the CRC Library Agreement was in force. CRC sponsored conferences on the teaching of English and on leadership development.

CRC Takes on a TV Channel

In 1992, at the invitation of the City of Raleigh, CRC began to administer the CRC Education Channel. By 2004, the channel offered credit and non-credit programming to 240,351 Time Warner Cable subscribers.

Saint Mary’s School withdrew its CRC membership in an action taken by the Saint Mary’s School Board of Trustees, June 22, 2005. As Saint Mary’s College, the school was a founding member of Cooperating Raleigh Colleges in 1968. Saint Mary’s School became a four-year private high school in 1997 and was a member until 2005. This was the first change in membership since the consortium was founded.

Longest-serving Director Rosalie Gates

In 2006, Dr. Rosalie Prince Gates retired from the position of Director after twenty-five years of service. Following the CRC Board of Directors meeting on May 8, 2006, members of the CRC Board of Directors and other friends of the organization honored Dr. Gates at a reception at Meredith College.

Former Directors

In February of 2007, Ms. Jennifer (Jenny) Spiker joined CRC as Director. An educator and nonprofit manager who has lived in Raleigh since 1981, Ms. Spiker has been a faculty member, administrator or consultant with four of the five CRC institutions. She was director of communications and a communications faculty member at Peace College in the 1980s, taught English at NC State, taught communications at Saint Augustine’s University from 2002 to 2004, and consulted with the Admissions Office at Meredith College in the mid 80s. She was director of marketing and public relations for The North Carolina Symphony and for the NC Center for Nonprofits and executive director of Communities In Schools of Wake County. Ms. Spiker retired from CRC in December 2019.

Prepared by Rosalie P. Gates with additions by Jenny Spiker and Maura DiColla