Gov. Beverly Perdue delivers University address. (Photo by Dan Sears ’74)
Carolina officials remembered the University’s past and celebrated its future during the Gov. Beverly Perdue, who gave the keynote speech at the celebration, commended the University community and faculty, which “has stood tall and continued to support the state and the University” in the face of historic budget cuts over the past year. “I am deeply grateful,” Perdue told the assembly, which filled most of Memorial Hall.
As the state’s 73rd governor and in her prior years of public service, Perdue has focused on jobs, health care and government efficiency. “North Carolina puts its hope for the future squarely on UNC,” she said. Detailing how Carolina created programs in previous troubled times, including in the years following World War I and during the Great Depression, she exhorted the University community to continue “Carolina’s legacy of service … [that is] woven into the fabric of the state’s soul” and help solve the “critical needs” the state faces now.
Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86, who presided at University Day, also presented an address that was distributed online. It, along with a video version of Perdue’s address, is available on the University’s YouTube Channel.
Perdue is North Carolina’s first woman to serve as governor. She was lieutenant governor for eight years following two terms in the N.C. House and five terms in the state Senate, where she became the first woman to serve as a chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Before entering public service, Perdue, who holds a doctorate in education administration, worked as a public school teacher and as director of geriatric services at a community hospital in her hometown of New Bern.
University Day marks the laying of the cornerstone of Old East, the institution’s first building and the oldest state university building in the nation. The Carolina community first celebrated University Day in 1877.
Subsequent celebrations have featured speeches from distinguished faculty members and honored visitors including two presidents: John F. Kennedy in 1961 and Bill Clinton in 1993. Many North Carolina governors have made University Day a traditional stop during their first term of office.
The new Education Center at the N.C. Botanical Garden was to be dedicated later on Monday. It is expected to be the first public building in North Carolina to receive the highest level of certification for green architecture.
The nearly 30,000-square-foot center, a new gateway to the display gardens and woodland trails, was designed as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum building. All systems and materials minimize environmental impact and include such technologies as photovoltaic panels, rainwater cisterns, stormwater retention ponds, geothermal heating and air conditioning, natural day-lighting and low-flow plumbing.
In 1906, University President Edwin A. Alderman, of the class of 1882, received an honorary degree, the first given on University Day. That practice evolved into the Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards, first presented in 1971 to recognize “alumni who had distinguished themselves in a manner that brought credit to the University.” This year’s recipients were:
- Janie Fouke ’80 (MS, ’82 Ph.D.), senior adviser to the president for international affairs at the University of Florida. Fouke is one of the nation’s foremost experts in the field of biomedical engineering. Her scholarly work has been critical to the understanding of the etiology of airway diseases such as asthma and the pulmonary effects of environmental pollutants. After earning her master’s and doctoral degrees in biomedical mathematics and engineering at Carolina, Fouke began her academic career on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University, with teaching and research interests in medical instrument design and development. She went on to administrative posts at Michigan State University and the University of Florida and has played a major leadership role in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Fouke was the inaugural division director of the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Systems of the National Science Foundation.
- Santiago Gangotena ’78 (Ph.D.), founder of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), the first private university in Ecuador that Gangotena founded 10 years after studying at UNC. The university enrolls 5,000 students, 3,300 of whom are undergraduates. Although USFQ receives no funding from the government of Ecuador, its 230 full-time and 450 part-time faculty comprise half of all the people in that nation who hold a doctorate. In 1995, Gangotena founded a private K-12 school affiliated with USFQ, Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito. The 1,300-student Spanish/English bilingual school draws on both international and American school models as it honors Ecuadorian culture. Recently, Carolina and USFQ have begun joint research endeavors in the Galapagos Islands, a partnership that has the potential to help preserve one of the world’s most treasured living laboratories and to improve the lives of the people who live there.
- Mia Hamm ’94, collegiate women’s soccer champion and Olympic gold medalist. Hamm, arguably the most famous woman athlete in the world, led Carolina to four NCAA championships in women’s soccer. She was an All-American and ACC Player of the Year for her last three years and was named the ACC Female Athlete of the Year in 1993 and 1994. She received the GAA’s Distinguished Young Alumna Award in 1997. Playing as a forward for the U.S. women’s national soccer team, Hamm scored 158 international goals in her career — more than any other player, male or female, in the history of the sport. Hamm retired in 2004 with two world championships and two Olympic gold medals to her credit. In 2007, she was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. In 1999, she began the Hamm Foundation to honor the memory of her brother, Garrett. The foundation is dedicated to bone marrow research and to help further women’s sports programs. In 2001, Hamm established a fund in the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to help the families of patients following organ transplants.
- Walter Hussman ’68, a third-generation newspaper publisher and head of WEHCO Media Inc. of Little Rock, Ark. Hussman heads WEHCO Media Inc., a company that operates nine daily newspapers, 11 weekly newspapers and 11 cable television companies in five states. Hussman has served as a member of the board of directors of The Associated Press and as chair of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. He has been honored with the Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award in recognition of his contributions to SNPA and to journalism. Hussman has worked to improve public education in Little Rock and has supported the Arkansans for Education Reform Foundation and the creation of three state-funded charter schools. In 2004, a Knight Foundation newsletter called Hussman “a newsman defying conventional thinking by turning out quality journalism that leads to healthy profitability.” Recently, he urged newspaper publishers to reconsider their practice of making their news available for free on the Internet.
- The late William F. “Bill” Little ’52 (MA, ’55 PhD), longtime Carolina administrator and a driving force behind the creation and later development of the Research Triangle Park. Little entered Carolina in 1951 as a graduate student in the first class of Morehead Scholars and earned his master’s degree in 1952 and doctorate two years later. After completing postdoctoral study in London and a year on the faculty of Reed College in Oregon, he returned to Chapel Hill in 1956 for the remainder of his career. Little was chosen chair of the chemistry department at age 35. His management of the department has been cited as a factor contributing to the department’s current standing in the top tier of its discipline in the country. Little was a driving force behind the creation and later development of the Research Triangle Park. He also played a seminal role in founding the College of Arts and Sciences Foundation in 1975. From 1973 to 1978, he served as vice chancellor for development and public service. For many years, Little chaired the Central Selection Committee of the Morehead Foundation and the Executive Committee of the Research Triangle Institute. Until he retired in 1996, Little served for five years as senior vice president for academic affairs under UNC President C. D. Spangler. Little died Feb. 27.