William Calhoun Newland was born in Marion, North Carolina on October 8, 1860. Newland attended the Finley Academy in Lenoir, NC, and upon graduation, he enrolled in the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, at the recommendation of Congressman R.B. Vance. After three years at West Point, Newland graduated and returned to North Carolina where he took an apprenticeship under Judge C.A. Cilley and was subsequently admitted to the North Carolina Bar Association at the age of twenty-one.
Newland continued his career in politics when he became the Mayor of Lenoir in his twenties and was re-elected twice. He later served the state of North Carolina as a Senator from 1881-1882, as a representative in the General Assembly 1889-1890 and then again 1903-1904 after serving as a solicitor for the Eight District in 1890, before becoming Lieutenant Governor for 1909-1913. Newland was a key figure in the formation of Avery County, and, as a result, the county seat was named Newland in his honor. In 1902, Newland introduced a bill to the legislature to Congress to fund a state school for teachers that would later become Appalachian Training School for Western North Carolina. While met with opposition, Newland was able to ferry the bill through and he spent the last years of his life as the chairman of the college board of trustees. Throughout his lifetime, Newland supported North Carolina education. He held positions as a member of the Penitentiary Commission, a trustee of Davenport College in Lenoir, as well as a trustee of Caswell Training School for the Feeble Minded. William C. Newland passed away in 1938 at Grace Hospital in Banner Elk from complications due to kidney and heart disease.
Newland Residence Hall at Appalachian State University, date unknown.
Newland Hall was built in 1908 near the university founder’s home on the south side of campus, and was initially a men’s dorm. By 1971, the female enrollment exceeded that of males and the question of where to house new female students was alleviated by transferring women into Newland Hall for the first time. Newland Hall was named for William Calhoun Newland who served as the chairman of Appalachian State Teachers College after he sponsored a bill to fund the university during his time as a Senator. The funding bill, totaling $2000, passed by one vote on the last day of assembly. There has been a total of three Newland Halls over the lifespan of Appalachian State University. The original Newland Hall was built in 1908, the second was built in 1939, and the third was constructed in 1996. All three iterations of Newland Hall occupied the same location on campus.