Have you visited the campus lately? Coming back to Chapel Hill after a long absence can be a stunning experience. New buildings and current construction sites surround you.
Brand new to the 1984 landscape are the eight-story Walter Royal Davis Library, just completed on the site of old Emerson Field in the middle of the campus, and going up fast is the 22,000 seat Student Activities Center, under construction on South Campus. On page 2, you can see photographs of models of two more buildings soon to appear — an $8.5 million computer science building, and the new Kenan Center, the newest construction project and the one I’m going to tell you about here.
Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in Chapel Hill in 1983 was the announcement in mid-December that the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust had donated $6.5 million for a five-story building on this campus to be called the Kenan Center of North Carolina. The Center will house offices and activities of the Kenan Institute for the Study of Private Enterprise and of the Kenan Fund, which will support the Center and the Institute.
(You may be interested that the Kenan Center will be adjacent on South Campus to the new Student Activities Center, behind James and Craige dormitories. The Center’s location is seen as further evidence of the University’s decision to develop the southern section of the campus.)
William R. Kenan Jr., one of the University’s most generous benefactors, majored in chemistry and was graduated in the Class of 1893 . His scientific discoveries and his business acumen combined to make him a very wealthy man. His contributions to his alma mater, not the least of which are the endowed professorships which bear his name, over the years have helped assure the University’s academic preeminence. His interest in intercollegiate athletics is manifested in another gift to Carolina, Kenan Stadium. We all know there is none more beautiful in the country.
The Kenan Trust, already generous in support of teaching, research and athletics, now gives the University its first facility designed for public service. It will benefit North Carolina and the entire Southeast. The Center’s Institute for the Study of Private Enterprise, in conjunction with the School of Business Administration, will work to strengthen and broaden the study of the private enterprise system in order to assist in developing public policy on behalf of businesses today growing ever more dependent on international understanding.
Most of you already know that we have one of the country’s truly outstanding schools of business administration. With the Kenan Center’s much needed new facilities for meetings, seminars and study, and the capacity for expanded research, the University will have the means to become an even more significant force in North Carolina’s continuing effort to expand its economic base and provide better and more employment opportunities for its citizens.
It is heartening to know that as our campus moves south it will be bringing to Chapel Hill and the University some of the world ‘s greatest thinkers and scholars and achievers in the business field to explore and expand our understanding of the changing world of economics and business. Thus our University is beyond “the ivory tower” and is committed to an intimate relationship with the people of the state and business leaders of the country and sees this as an important part of its public service responsibility.
William R. Kenan Jr.’ s generosity has meant much to the University and the Center which will bear his name will assure the University’s continued expansion and commitment to the public interest. As Chapel Hill Newspaper publisher and editor, Orville Campbell ’43, wrote upon the announcement of the Kenan Center, “William R. Kenan, Jr. never forgot the place where he became a man. ”
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’70