University Day Has Global Focus; FedEx Building to Be Dedicated

Michael Hunt, the Everett H. Emerson Professor of history, will be the keynote speaker at the 214th annual University Day celebration Oct. 12 in Memorial Hall.

The FedExGlobalEducationCenter will be formally dedicated at 4 p.m. the same day. The public is invited to attend the building dedication and to view the center’s “Women Empowered” photography exhibit.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public are invited to attend the University Day ceremony. Faculty and staff will process from the Old Well to Memorial Hall before the 11 a.m. ceremony. Classes are canceled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

University Day commemorates the laying of the cornerstone of Old East, the nation’s first state university building, on Oct. 12, 1793. The University received its charter from the N.C. General Assembly in 1789 and opened to students in 1795. The UNC Board of Trustees made the event a college holiday in 1877 and an all-day celebration in 1900.

Hunt writes and teaches international history, with special interests in U.S. foreign relations and the post-1945 world. He helped create the Asian studies department and his own department’s program in global history.

In 1906, Edwin A. Alderman, former University president, 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 “alumni who had distinguished themselves in a manner that brought credit to the university.”

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Clyde Ritchie Bell ’43 of Chapel Hill; D. Benjamin Cameron ’75 of New York, N.Y.; Alan Stewart Murray ’77 of Greenwich, Conn.; Anne Ponder ’71 of Asheville; and Charles Thomas Scott ’70 of Norcross, Ga.

Bell is professor emeritus of botany at the University. Born in Cincinnati, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany from Carolina and returned to teach botany in 1951. Bell helped found the N.C. Botanical Garden and was the garden’s director from 1966 to 1986. He continues to write and make documentaries.

Cameron is the program director of the arts of the Doris Duke Foundation. He 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.

Murray, a Morehead Scholar at UNC who graduated Phi Beta Kappa, earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Carolina. He was born in Akron, Ohio. After receiving a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, Murray joined the staff of The Wall Street Journal in 1983, reporting on economics in Washington, D.C. Currently, he  is the newspaper’s assistant managing editor. He has won numerous journalism awards for his reporting.

Ponder is chancellor of UNC-Asheville. A native of Asheville, she earned three degrees from Chapel Hill. 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.

Scott was the first black scholarship athlete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He was recruited in 1966 by Coach Dean Smith to play basketball. Scott 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.

The FedExGlobalEducationCenter, funded by the 2000 N.C. Higher Education Bond Referendum and private gifts, including $5 million from FedEx Corp., brings together key international activities under one roof, including student and faculty services, academic instruction, research, study abroad and cultural exchange. The “Women Empowered” photography exhibit features women around the world who have worked to alleviate poverty in their communities.

University Days have served as convocations for new chancellors; William B. Aycock ’37 (MA) in 1957, Paul F. Sharp in 1964, J. Carlyle Sitterson ’31 in 1965, N. Ferebee Taylor ’42 in 1972, Christopher C. Fordham III ’47 in 1980, Paul Hardin in 1988, Michael Hooker ’69 in 1995 and James Moeser in 2000.

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