210 Pittsboro Street
Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210

T 919-962-2091
F 919-962-2279

News Release

For immediate use

Sept. 12, 2007

Photos: To download photos, see end of release.

University Day has global focus with speaker Hunt and building dedication

CHAPEL HILL - Dr. Michael Hunt, the Everett H. Emerson professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be the keynote speaker at the 214th annual University Day celebration Oct. 12 in Memorial Hall.

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

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 cancelled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The FedEx Global Education Center 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.

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 North Carolina legislature in 1789 and opened to students in 1795. The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees made the event a college holiday in 1877 and an all-day celebration in 1900.

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.”

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

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

Bell is professor emeritus of botany at UNC-Chapel Hill. Born in Cincinnati, He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany from Carolina in 1943 and 1949, respectively, and returned to teach botany in 1951. Bell helped found the North Carolina Botanical Garden and was the garden’s director from 1966 to 1986. Bell continues to write and make documentaries.

Cameron is the program director of the arts of the Doris Duke Foundation. He won a Morehead Scholarship as an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill 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 UNC-Chapel Hill, Virginia Tech and Yale.

Murray, a Morehead Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa, earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Carolina in 1977. 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. Murray is executive editor of The Wall Street Journal Online. He has won numerous journalism awards for his reporting.

Ponder is chancellor of UNC Asheville. A native of Asheville, she earned three degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, finishing her doctoral work in 1979. Ponder 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 FedEx Global Education Center supports the university’s international efforts, one of six priorities in Carolina’s Academic Plan. Funded by the 2000 N.C. Higher Education Bond Referendum and private gifts, including $5 million from FedEx Corp., the center 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.

Photo URLs:


University Day Web site:
FedEx Global Education Center Web site:

News Services contacts: Lisa Katz, (919) 962-2093,; Karen Moon, (919) 962-8595,