I was born into a family where the University of North Carolina was mentioned with a near reverence and always with thanksgiving for the years that my grandfather and his four brothers and their assortment of children had spent in what they considered to be “the southern part of heaven” receiving quality educations.
However, during the time that I grew up, females (excepting nursing and pharmaceutical students) were not allowed to matriculate until their junior year. I could hardly wait and happily entered UNC-Chapel Hill in 1954. During those short two years before I received my Bachelor of Arts degree, I thrived. The classes were not only intellectually stimulating, but more importantly, critical in their approach to understanding the difference between the status quo and progressive thought.
Campus activities offered many choices and I took full advantage. Student entertainment opportunities were endless and the first-ever campus-wide symposium, “Southern Folkways That Impede the South,” plowed the ground for open minds when integration and civil rights would tear other campuses apart.
If that were all, it would be enough for me to want to hold on to this lifeline thrown out in the setting of a relatively small southern town. But something else happened during those two years. I met my future spouse! He and I walked side by side in procession at graduation after having spent a year and a half together in the idyllic setting of the campus, walking to class
together, sitting in rocking chairs on The Carolina Inn porch, studying in the library and going to The Pine Room afterwards to enjoy chili and coffee, strolling in The Arboretum, partying, and basking in the assurance that we both happened to be in the right place at the right time.
So…of course we are both Life Members of the UNC General Alumni Association. We will always be thankful for The University of North Carolina and its immeasurable impact on our lifetimes. We have traveled and worked in many areas of the country and we are always so very glad to answer when someone asks, “Where did you go to school?” With good memories flooding our minds and beautiful sites floating in our vision, we proudly answer, “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.” Usually the response is, “That’s a great school!” What an understatement!
Jane Cocke Perdue ‘56 | Life Member 30,506 | Kerrville, Tex.