O. Max Gardner (1882-1947)
In 1930, North Carolina governor O. Max Gardner turned to the Brookings Institution for advice on how to keep the state government functioning during the Depression. Among other measures, the Institution recommended the consolidation of the state’s three major public universities for whites: the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering, and the North Carolina College for Women. Its report argued that consolidation would save administrative costs, eliminate duplicate programs, and coordinate competing interests. The legislature approved the plan in 1931, and the next year the trustees chose Graham to head the new organization.