The Carolina Alumni Memorial in Memory of Those Lost in Military Service, on Cameron Avenue between Phillips and Memorial halls, was dedicated in April 2007.
The memorial’s bronze Book of Names includes pull-out panels listing names of alumni who lost their lives in battle and in training accidents during time of war. They are grouped alphabetically by conflict.
This online edition of this memorial includes a biographical page for each alumnus listed, along with a tool to search by conflict. This information was researched by the GAA’s Records Department, which began work on this project in 2002, and assembled and edited by members of the Carolina Alumni Review staff.
Each biographical page includes a link for sharing additional information or comments. Photos are included as available, and photo submissions are welcomed.
Since coverage of the online edition of this memorial appeared in the September/October 2010 issue of the Carolina Alumni Review, three additional alumni have been identified, and they have been added to this project:
- Capt. Johnston Blakeley, class of 1801, a naval hero in the War of 1812;
- Lt. Frank C. Elkins ’63, whose death in 1966 in Vietnam went unconfirmed until 1990, when his remains were returned to his wife for burial in North Carolina; and
- Ensign Philip Sprague Randolph Jr. ’49, a Navy jet pilot in Korea who died in June 1951 as he was landing his plane into the flight deck of the carrier USS Princeton. Randolph and two crew members were lost in the crash.
Three more names, three more stories… reading about just these three perhaps can illustrate the range these 715 lives represent. And as readers see additional ways they can contribute to this accounting of these lives, the writers and editors of this project look forward to hearing from them.
The idea for the memorial on Cameron Avenue originated with Chapel Hill businessman Robert W. Eaves ’58, who was inspired by a visit to the American cemetery in Normandy to lead an effort for an additional memorial to Carolina’s war dead. Eaves and fellow ROTC Carolina alumni Sherwood H. Smith Jr. ’56 and Charles M. Winston Sr. ’53 of Raleigh headed a committee that raised $300,000, mostly from ROTC alumni, for a Book of Names memorial.
The memorial has been designed to allow for names to be added that were not discovered in research for the memorial, as well as those who may be lost later. On May 11, 2009, Navy Cmdr. Charles Keith Springle ’79 was killed in Baghdad, becoming the first Carolina alumnus to die in the Iraq war. On Aug. 18, 2009, Army Pfc. Morris L. Walker ’08, an Army paratrooper, was killed in the war in Afghanistan, becoming UNC’s first alumnus to die in that war.
|War of 1812||1|
|U.S. Civil War:||287|
|World War I:||22|
|World War II:||333|
Anyone who believes a friend’s or a relative’s name should be added should contact the GAA’s Records Department.
Carolina has a long history of honoring the lives of its alumni and others who lost their lives in battle. In 1883, when the University needed more space for Commencement than Gerrard Hall could provide, a larger building was built nearby that was meant to serve as a memorial to David Lowry Swain — a past president of the University — to other notable North Carolinians, and to alumni, students, faculty and staff who died in the line of duty. The marble tablets commemorating those first individuals so honored were installed when Memorial was dedicated in 1885.
In 1931, a new Memorial Hall was built, and the marble tablets were retained then and during a later major renovation to the hall in 2002-05. Prominent in the lobby are these words of dedication: “Memorial Hall was erected as a memorial to President Swain as well as to all others connected with the University, who, by honorable lives in civil or military service, deserve commemoration here.”
In the wake of World War II, N.C. Memorial Hospital was created. Its name honors North Carolinians who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. N.C. Memorial was the original building in what is now the UNC Hospitals complex, and the 1952 dedication plaque in N.C. Memorial’s lobby reads: “To serve as a continuing memorial to those who have given their lives, and who may hereafter give their lives, as members of the armed forces in protecting the freedom and common welfare of their fellow citizens.”