University Day Has Global Focus; Fed Ex Building Dedicated

Carolina celebrated its 214th birthday Oct. 12 with a marked emphasis on the University’s place in the world.

The keynote speaker for University Day, history Professor Michael Hunt, examined the expansion in international programs that UNC has taken on in the past 15 years and pointed to the “store of international expertise that UNC is accumulating.” His remarks, in part, were directed at posing questions about what Carolina should do to utilize that expertise. His remarks is available online.

Five alumni also received Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards.

Later in the day, the University hosted dedication ceremonies for the FedEx Global Education Center, a $39 million center that is roughly the size of the House Undergraduate Library and designed to bring various international activities under one roof. Construction began in November 2004; the facility on the western edge of the campus opened this fall.

Hunt, the Everett H. Emerson Professor of history, said that “what I am suggesting is that this and other universities have in this new century a special opportunity — and perhaps responsibility — to help sort out the international tangle [into which] the United States has gotten itself and to reinvigorate the democratic ideal of an educated citizenry engaging in genuine debate over the great issues before us. This is a role that the universities have not chosen,” he said. “It has come to us through events we could not imagine and through the failure of other institutions that we have come to lament.”

Chancellor James Moeser, following Hunt’s remarks, noted that Carolina’s often-used defining phrase as “the university of the people” should be seen in the 21st century in a new light, as “the university of the people of the world.”

The University Day spectacle of faculty in colorful regalia in Memorial Hall was warmed by the front-row presence of Oliver Smithies, who days earlier was named a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in medicine. Dignitaries and faculty members shook his hand as they passed, and the audience of faculty, staff and students offered a spontaneous standing ovation as Smithies, Excellence Professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the School of Medicine, was recognized by the chancellor.

This year’s Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards recipients are:

  • Clyde Ritchie Bell ’43, professor emeritus of botany at the University. Bell earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany from Carolina and returned to teach in 1951. He helped found the N.C. Botanical Garden and was the garden’s director from 1966 to 1986. He continues to write and make documentaries. One of his best-known works is Wild Flowers of North Carolina.
  • D. Benjamin Cameron ’75, program director of the arts of the Doris Duke Foundation. Cameron was a Morehead Scholar at UNC, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and majoring in English and drama, and received a master’s of fine arts degree from the Yale University School of Drama. Cameron has worked for PlayMakers Repertory Company and the National Endowment for the Arts and has taught drama at Carolina, Virginia Tech and Yale.
  • Alan Stewart Murray ’77, executive editor of The Wall Street Journal Online. Murray was a Morehead Scholar at UNC who graduated Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, Murray joined the staff of The Journal in 1983, reporting on economics in Washington, D.C. He has won numerous journalism awards for his reporting. He is a past member of the GAA Board of Directors.
  • Anne Ponder ’71, chancellor of UNC-Asheville. Ponder earned three degrees from Chapel Hill — in addition to her bachelor’s, she earned her master’s in 1973 and her doctorate in ’79. She is an expert on institutional effectiveness, resource development and strategic planning and is a frequent faculty member of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education.
  • Charles Thomas Scott ’70, the first black scholarship athlete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Scott, who was recruited in 1966 by Coach Dean Smith to play basketball, won the Patterson Award in 1969-70 as an outstanding student athlete and was a First Team All-American in 1970. Scott and Smith shared the 1998 American Civil Liberties Union’s Florina Lasker Civil Liberties Award for their efforts on behalf of civil rights in the 1960s.

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