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This article examines the origins of East Carolina University (ECU) in Greenville, North Carolina, in the framework of the Progressive reforms of the early 20th century. Founded as East Carolina Teachers Training School, ECU sprung from a state wide debate on how to train teachers for an expanding number of schools. Opposed by Piedmont and western interests who did not want another eastern school, the college was approved after a series of bond issues in 1907 and began classes shortly after.