I count as one of the marks of maturity that men and women nurture the institutions that nurtured them, not uncritically but lovingly, not to preserve them unchanged but to renew them as the times require.
— John W. Gardner, Haas Professor of Public Service, Stanford University,
from a commencement address delivered June 16, 1991
Organizations and institutions, like individuals, have a unique character and culture that help determine whether those who work and live in and around them share in a sense of community. The University of North Carolina, now nearing its 200th birthday, has a very special character that defines our community. In times of stress, such as we have now experienced during four consecutive years of severe budget limitations, our values are tested and the strength and vitality of our common community may even be questioned.
Upon my return to North Carolina a decade ago, I was pleased to experience again the warmth of the people of North Carolina, who when they ask, “How are you?” mean it and expect more than a perfunctory response. There is a civility among North Carolinians that brings with it respect for differing points of view and celebrates the diversity that is found across our state and among our 6.5 million people.
Your Alumni Association serves to inform and involve Carolina alumni and to connect and reconnect you to each other and to our University. For nearly 150 years we have done this through our member programs and services, which include our alumni publications, local clubs, class reunions, enrichment seminars and programs, career assistance, alumni directories, alumni travel, our student alumni association (The Order of the Bell Tower), the Clef Hangers (a student a cappella group), alumni and faculty awards, student programming and admissions receptions.
Soon we will have an exciting, new and much-needed resource with which to better deliver our growing menu of programs. The George Watts Hill Alumni Center will give Carolina alumni our first on-campus home.
At the request of the University, we are providing an alumni and faculty dining club within the Alumni Center. The Carolina Club will provide members an opportunity to come together for fellowship, for collegial exchange or for social interaction in a comfortable environment noted for warm, attentive and accommodating service and fine dining.
In 1993 we will observe not only the 200th anniversary of our University, but we will also celebrate the 150th birthday of our General Alumni Association. We are excited that these two milestones will coincide with the completion and opening of the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.
Let us remember that a building is not a “home.” The Alumni Center will truly be a home when Carolina alumni, faculty, staff and friends enter its doors, participate in our programs, enjoy each other’s companionship and fully use the facilities.
Our fondest hope is that the George Watts Hill Alumni Center will add significantly to our shared sense of community. Within the Alumni Center all of us — alumni, faculty, staff and friends — can come together to “nurture” and “renew” our First State University.
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’70