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News Release

For immediate use

Sept. 20, 2006 -- No. 439

Photo: To download photos, see end of release.

Address by Bowles, alumni honors
highlight University Day 2006

CHAPEL HILL - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will celebrate its 213th birthday on Oct. 12 with a speech by UNC President Erskine Bowles and an awards presentation in Memorial Hall.

Students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to the free public ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m.

University Day was created by the UNC Board of Trustees to commemorate the laying of the cornerstone of Old East, the nation's first state university building, on Oct. 12, 1793. The university was chartered by the state legislature in 1789 and welcomed its first students in 1795.

At 3 p.m., Chancellor James Moeser will help unveil a virtual museum of university history at a public symposium in Wilson Library's Pleasants Family Assembly Room. The Web-based museum, a joint project of the UNC Center for the Study of the American South and the University Library, chronicles Carolina's people and events from its founding to the present day. As a comprehensive resource, the virtual museum contains blunt historical truths, including the role of slavery in the growth of the university.

"This project was born of both pride and responsibility," said Harry Watson, director of the Center for the Study of the American South. "Carolina has a rich and complex story that includes some very painful episodes. It's important to thoroughly understand our past in order to move intelligently to the future."

In addition to Watson, the symposium will include Dr. William Darity Jr., Boshamer distinguished professor of economics and director of the Institute of African American Research; Dr. James Leloudis, associate professor of history, associate dean for honors and director of the Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence; and Dr. Jacquelyn Hall, Spruill professor of history and director of the Southern Oral History Program. The symposium will explore historical perspectives on race and the university; service to the state and region; and gender and Southern education.

University Day became a college holiday in 1877 and an all-day celebration in 1900. In 1906, Dr. 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 recipients, who will be recognized at the Memorial Hall event, are: Dr. Valarie Alayne Batts, Angela Rebecca Bryant, William "Bill" Burwell Harrison, Jr., Weiming Lu, Dr. Charles Barnet Nemeroff, and Dr. George Edwin Stuart III.

Batts and Bryant are co-founders of VISIONS Inc., a nonprofit firm offering consultancy and training in multiculturalism. Both are natives of Rocky Mount, N.C. Batters earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from UNC in 1974. She helped found the Black Student Movement at Carolina and was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Order of the Valkyries and the Order of the Old Well. Bryant earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1973 and a doctoral degree in law in 1976, both from UNC. She helped develop the Wright Center, a multicultural adult daycare health project in Rocky Mount.

Harrison earned a bachelor's degree in economics from UNC in 1966 and played basketball for Dean Smith. In 2001, Harrison was named chairman and chief executive officer of J.P. Morgan Chase & Company. He piloted the company through its merger with Bank One Corporation. A Rocky Mount native, Harrison has served on Carolina's Board of Visitors, the Bicentennial Steering Committee and the National Development Council. In 2004, the Board of Trustees honored him with the Davie Award.

Lu earned his master's in regional planning from UNC in 1956. As president of Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation in St. Paul, Minn., Lu has advised major urban design projects including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and redevelopment of Chattanooga, Tenn., and south-central Los Angeles. Lu is a member of the Committee of 100, a national organization of Chinese American leaders.

Nemeroff earned his doctoral and medical degrees from UNC in 1976 and 1981, respectively. He is now Reunette W. Harris Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Emory University School of Medicine. Nemeroff's research focuses on biological basis of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and affective disorders. He has received numerous honors, including the Gold Medal Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry and election to the Institute of Medicine.

Stuart earned his doctoral degree in anthropology from UNC in 1975. He spent 38 years as resident archaeologist for the National Geographic Society, retiring in 1998, and was the society's vice president for research and exploration. A native of Barnardsville, N.C., his seven books include "Lost Kingdoms of the Maya" and "The Mysterious Maya." He founded and directs the Center for Maya Research in the Yucatan and oversees the scholarly journals "Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing" and "Ancient America."


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