Edward Jacob Forney (1860-1948) was a leader in public education in North Carolina. He was born near the Catawba-Lincoln county line and educated in the public schools of Newton and at Catawba College. He became State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Raleigh in 1890 and came to the State Normal and Industrial School (now the University of North Carolina Greensboro) with Charles McIver in 1892.
Although initially hired as McIver’s secretary, Forney became treasurer of the school and chairman of the Commercial Department. He was particularly known for his proficiency in shorthand. Forney retired from the college in 1940.
Forney died on January 29, 1948. He was the last surviving faculty member from the opening of the school. In 1957, the former Carnegie Library on campus was refitted to serve as a classroom and renamed in Forney’s memory.