University Day Ceremonies to Install Thorp as 10th Chancellor

Holden Thorp '86

Holden Thorp ’86

The University will mark its 215th birthday as it installs Holden Thorp ’86 as its 10th chancellor on University Day, Oct. 12.

“University Day is one of the most important days of the year at Carolina, and the installation of Chancellor Thorp trumpets the next stage of the continuing journey for our University,” said Professor Joe Templeton, chair of the faculty and the installation committee. “We hope the Carolina family – students, staff, faculty, alumni, parents and friends – and the community will attend, both to show their support and to hear Chancellor Thorp describe his vision for the University.”

Thorp will deliver an installation address during the free, public ceremony, which will begin at 3 p.m. in Polk Place, the quadrangle between South Building and Wilson Library. A reception will follow in Polk Place. Parking is available in the Dean E. Smith Center lots, with shuttle service starting at 2 p.m. If rain is forecast, an official announcement will be made in advance about moving the ceremony to the Smith Center.

University Day began in 1877 to commemorate the 1793 placing of the cornerstone of Old East, the nation’s first state university building. Since 1957, the University has installed its chancellors on this day.

The ceremony to install Thorp will begin at about 2:40 p.m. when the UNC Symphony Band and UNC Wind Ensemble begin a pre-processional concert with the Carolina Choir. About 200 student musicians will participate in performances featuring Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich and Hymn Jubilar by George Enescu.

Alumni representing almost every class since 1940 plan to participate in the Alumni Processional as part of the University Day and installation celebration. Representatives from each class will be led by past chairs/presidents of the GAA.

Following a traditional academic procession, which will include delegates from other universities and University representatives, UNC System President Erskine Bowles ’67 will preside.

Carolina also will present five Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards, created in 1971 to recognize “alumni who had distinguished themselves in a manner that brought credit to the University.” This year’s recipients are:

Molly Barker '82


Mary Wilmer “Molly” Barker ’82, founder and vision keeper of Girls on the Run International, an experiential learning program for girls ages 8 to 13. In the past decade, the program has grown to include more than 100 councils serving 40,000 girls across the U.S. and Canada. Barker, who also earned her master’s in social work from UNC in 1989, designed the program as an outlet to address “girl box issues” – restrictions placed on women that make them follow a particular path to be recognized and valued.

William Bynum '82.


William Joseph Bynum Jr. ’82, CEO and president of ECD/HOPE (Enterprise Corp. of the Delta and Hope Community Credit Union), a private nonprofit community development financial institution. He helped launch the Durham-based Self Help Credit Union and served as director of programs at the N.C. Rural Center. He also has advised Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush on community development matters.

W. Lowry Caudill '79.


W. Lowry Caudill ’79, retired worldwide president of pharmaceutical development for Cardinal Health and co-founder, with Alfred Childers, of Magellan Laboratories. In 1998, Caudill and Childers were named Entrepreneur of the Year for North and South Carolina. Caudill was a steering committee member of the Carolina First Campaign and led the steering committee raising funds for the Carolina Physical Science Complex.

Dr. Leah McCall Devlin '76.


Dr. Leah McCall Devlin ’76, state health director of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health. After earning her undergraduate degree at Carolina, Devlin went on to receive a doctorate in dentistry in 1979 and master’s degree in public health in 1984, both from UNC. Devlin was director of the Wake County Department of Health before joining the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in 1996. In 2001, she became the first woman to serve as state health director.

Debra Wehrle Stewart '75.


Debra Wehrle Stewart ’75 (PhD), president of the Council of Graduate Schools, the only national organization dedicated solely to graduate education and research. She took that post in 2000 after serving as vice chancellor and dean of N.C. State University’s Graduate School. She also was interim chancellor at UNC-Greensboro in 1997. Stewart’s service to graduate education includes chairing the Graduate Record Examination Board, the Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education and the board of directors of the Council of Graduate Schools.

Bringing greetings during the ceremony will be Hannah Gage ’75, chair of the UNC System Board of Governors; Roger Perry ’71, chair of the Board of Trustees; J.J. Raynor, student body president; Eleanor Saunders Morris ’55, chair-elect of the GAA; Tommy Griffin, chair of the Employee Forum; and Templeton, the faculty chair. Also speaking will be Allan Gurganus, a noted North Carolina writer known for his novels, stories and essays.

Patricia Timmons-Goodson ’76, associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, will administer the oath of office to Thorp, who will receive the Chancellor’s Medallion from Bowles before his speech. When the ceremony ends, the South Building bell will ring 10 times in honor of the University’s 10th chancellor.

The Board of Governors unanimously elected Thorp as chancellor in May, and he started work on July 1. Thorp, 44, has rapidly progressed through several leadership posts since joining the faculty 15 years ago and previously was dean of the UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. A native of Fayetteville, he is Kenan Professor of chemistry and an award-winning teacher and researcher. Thorp was the unanimous choice of the Chancellor Search Committee.

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