The Years in Review

865 First Avenue
New York, NY
February 8, 1937

Dear Spike: … I’ve been reading the Alumni Review all morning when I should be working, and I think you’re getting out a mighty interesting, lively and informative publication — one that not only tells an alumnus what is going on but makes him want to read it …

Sincerely yours,
Tom Wolfe’ 20

Preparing this 75th Anniversary issue of The Alumni Review has provided me an opportunity to do something I wish I’d done years ago — read through some of the earliest issues of this magazine. I found wonderful bits of UNC history that would interest most former Carolina students.

Louis Round Wilson was the very first alumni editor and he was aided by several distinguished associate editors including Edward Kidder Graham, Archibald Henderson, Louis Graves and Frank Porter Graham. Walter Murphy was The Review‘s first managing editor. The first page of the first issue, published in October 1912, announced the death of Thomas Stephan Kenan who had served as President of the General Alumni Association from 1892-1912. Colonel Kenan was succeeded as GAA President by Julian S. Carr.

That very first issue articulated several objectives for The Review:

” … carry news from the University to its scattered sons … its tasks, the problems which confront it, the record of achievement, the ideals by which it is guided, and the hope which it cherishes for future service …”

“story of success of its sons … what one’s college mates are doing …”

“the task of uniting all sons of the University in a common effort to bring into being the greater University.”

That inaugural Review went on to say that the methods for accomplishing these objectives would vary and then affirmed: “There is unanimity in the one point that it must be a medium through which all alumni can — and do — speak.”

When The Review celebrated its 10th anniversary, paid circulation had grown to 3,500 and Walter Murphy was then President of the GAA. Earlier that year Daniel L. Grant became the Association’s first full-time paid Alumni Secretary, and George Watts Hill graduated from UNC. Mr. Hill would go on to serve for 35 years as the Treasurer of the General Alumni Association. The October 1922 issue of The Review also noted that “on Emerson Field Carolina and Trinity will meet for the first time in twenty-five years at football.” The November issue boasted that “the first team ran up a safe score” and the second team played all of the second half. Carolina won 20-0.

In The Review‘s 15th Anniversary issue of October 1927, Robert B. House announced that Alumni Secretary Daniel Grant was departing to conduct national research in alumni relations funded by the Carnegie Corporation. On the next page came the announcement that J. Maryon “Spike” Saunders of Durham had been selected as Grant’s successor. As most readers know, Spike served as Alumni Secretary for the next 43 years and was Alumni Editor longer than anyone.

Thomas Wolfe’s letter above came during The Review‘s 25th anniversary year. That Review noted that the University had its highest enrollment ever — just over 3,000. A “new” gymnasium (Woollen) and swimming natatorium (Bowman Gray) were also completed that year.

By the fall of 1962, as The Alumni Review noted its 50th anniversary, attention turned to south campus. The Review announced that two new dormitories were “because of their magnificence … referred to by their proud occupants as Craige-Hilton and Ehringhaus-Hilton.”

In recent years The Review has changed. Its contents have expanded and the design has improved. The Statement of Purpose for Alumni Publications, adopted by the GAA Board in 1984, and found on page 49 demonstrates the Association’s continued commitment to the objectives set forth in The Review‘s first issue.

In this The Review‘s 75th year, the GAA remains committed to alumni publications serving our alumni readers — now over 45,000.

We hope you, our alumni readers, enjoy The Review as much today as Thomas Wolfe did 50 years ago. Remember, this magazine is yours. It is only as good as you insist we make it.

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature




Douglas S. Dibbert ’70