Strong College was established by the University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1994. The College of Arts and Sciences had for many years been developing special programs for undergraduates, including the freshman Seminars, Writing Across the Curriculum, and the University Honors Program. Dean Walter Beale suggested that a residential academic program be established in Moore-Strong Hall when the residence hall was scheduled for renovation.
Dr. Laurie White, Assistant Director of the Honors Program and long-time Lecturer in English, was chosen to head this new project. Dr. Robert O’Hara, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Critical Inquiry in the liberal Arts, joined Dr. White soon after, and he helped to steer the program in the direction of a residential college modeled after the Harvard University Houses in which he had served as a graduate student.
The new college was named for Professor Cornelia Strong, one of the two people for whom Moore-Strong Hall had been originally named.
In the spring of 1994, while Moore-Strong Hall was still in the midst of renovations, a planning room for the new college was set up in Room 200 in the Foust Building and it soon came to be called “the War Room.” (A plaque was dedicated there in the summer of 1996 to mark the place where Strong College was founded.) Dr. White and Dr. O’Hara began to collect all manner of objects and ideas for the new college in the War Room, and brought a steady stream of visitors through to help with the planning. Dr. O’Hara picked up a copy of Elizabeth Ann Bowles’ book A Good Beginning: The First Four Decades of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro from the Alumni House and set it on an empty table in the War Room under a sign that read “Strong College Library.” That book was the first of the hundreds the College has since received from generous students, faculty, parents, and friends.