UNC Charlotte Nickname

Miner statueThe nickname, the 49ers, was chosen in recognition of the importance of the year 1949 in the history of the university. UNC Charlotte, which began as an off-campus center of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, would have died in 1949 had Bonnie Cone and her supporters not convinced the NC Legislature that Charlotte needed a permanent college. Charlotte College was established that year. It is fortuitous that the university campus is also located on NC Highway 49 and that Charlotte has a rich gold mining history—the term 49ers symbolizing gold mining even though the Charlotte area gold rush preceded the one in California by a number of years.

A bronze statue of the 49er Gold Miner has a new location. It is in the plaza between the College of Education and the College of health and Human Services. The statue recalls the region’s history as a gold mining center and symbolizes the pioneering spirit and determination that has led to UNC Charlotte’s dramatic growth.