If some of your friends, neighbors and co-workers seem a little distant and moody this week, it might be because they’ve dropped a child or two off at college.

It’s back-to-campus time at the area’s colleges and universities, which start their fall semesters this month. Here are some new buildings, people and programs at each campus.

UNCG

New buildings: UNC-Greensboro opened its $91 million student recreation center — the Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness — on Aug. 1. Next door, UNCG is working on the second phase of its Spartan Village complex. The two-building, 330-bed dorm with ground-floor restaurants, shops and a grocery store is slated to open next fall.

New name: Get used to a new name around campus — the College of Visual and Performing Arts. UNCG has merged the art department with the former School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

Key dates: UNCG will formally dedicate the Kaplan Center on Sept. 16. Chancellor Frank Gilliam’s installation ceremony will be Oct. 7. Gilliam is starting his second year as the university’s leader.

N.C. A&T

New buildings: Construction continues on A&T’s new student center. The $90 million replacement of Memorial Student Union won’t open until early 2018.

New programs: Over the summer, A&T completed its academic restructuring. The university has three new colleges, each with new deans: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Health and Human Sciences; and Science and Technology. A&T’s agriculture, business, education, engineering and graduate colleges remain largely the same.

Key dates: The Greatest Homecoming on Earth is Oct. 29, when the Aggies will play Florida A&M in football. The concert lineups haven’t yet been announced.

GTCC

New buildings: Guilford Technical Community College is still working on its Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The college is renovating an old Daimler bus warehouse across the street from campus to house its automotive, welding and manufacturing programs.

New program: GTCC is just one of 44 colleges nationwide — and the only one in North Carolina — to take part in a new federal program that will let high school students use Pell Grants to pay for college classes. The classes award both high school and college credit. The goal is for students to finish college sooner and at less expense.

Greensboro College

New construction: Greensboro College is repairing the north wall of Hanes Gym and will use some of the debris to fill in the gym’s old pool. The $900,000 project is scheduled to be done in November. The college hasn’t yet decided how it will use this refurbished space.

Key date: The Pride will play in the 20th annual Gate City Soup Bowl at Guilford College on Sept. 3. Proceeds will benefit Greensboro Urban Ministry. Admission is free if you bring non-perishable food items.

Guilford College

New programs: Last spring, Guilford College started a new major in cyber and network security. Next spring, the college will offer a new major in sustainable food systems. The college says no other four-year college offers a similar major that studies the intersection of food, nature and society.

Key date: The Guilford College Bryan Series celebrates its 20th birthday this year. The 2016-17 season of the lecture series kicks off Sept. 30 with sustainable food expert Michael Pollan. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, a late addition to the lineup, will speak Jan. 31.

Bennett College

New people: Provost Phyllis Worthy Dawkins will take over as Bennett College’s president Monday. Rosalind Fuse-Hall resigned last week after three years as president of one of just two historically black women’s colleges in the nation.

Key dates: Bennett will learn in early December if the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges will take further action against the school. The commission, the school’s accrediting agency, put Bennett on warning last December because of concerns about the college’s financial stability.

High Point University

New buildings: High Point University has two major buildings in the works. A $120 million facility to house its health sciences and pharmacy programs is scheduled to open during the spring semester. HPU broke ground this summer on a 310-bed dorm that’s slated to open next fall. It’s the university’s 10th new residential facility in a decade.

New programs: The university welcomed its first class of pharmacy students this month. The inaugural class of the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy — the Triad’s only pharmacy school — has 60 students from 12 states.

Key dates: HPU has expanded its Veterans Day commemoration (Nov. 11) to include a breakfast open to all veterans and a series of speakers, including Celia Sandys, a granddaughter of Winston Churchill. The university’s two-day Community Christmas will be Dec. 14-15.

Elon University

New buildings: A major expansion of Elon’s School of Communications continues. Extensive renovations to the existing McEwen Building should be done before classes start. A new two-story building, a connecting atrium and a standalone pavilion aren’t scheduled to open until early October. Already open is Park Place at Elon, a four-story off-campus building. The first floor is retail space while the upper floors will have apartment housing for 129 Elon students.

Also: Elon started work this week on its new convocation center and basketball arena. Tentative completion date is summer 2018.

Key dates: Even before the semester started, some students were up in arms about a lecture by Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker. She’ll be on campus Oct. 4. Other big-name speakers include journalist Bob Woodward (Sept. 29), Internet founding father Vint Cerf (Sept. 30) and former NPR journalist Michele Norris (Jan. 10).

At Elon Law: Elon University School of Law — which celebrates its 10th birthday this fall — last week welcomed its second class of students who will graduate in two-and-a-half years instead of the traditional three. The class of 2018 has 131 students, about the same as last year’s incoming class.

Wake Forest University

New buildings: Wake Forest plans to open a 220-bed dorm for first-year students on the south side of campus in January. Renovations of historic Reynolds Gym continue as part of a 10-year, $625 million construction effort that has added academic, student and athletic buildings to campus.

New programs: The Winston-Salem university launched a one-year master’s degree program in business analytics this summer. A new bachelor’s degree program in biochemistry and molecular biology starts in January.

Key dates: Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan will speak on campus Sept. 8.

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Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.

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