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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication May 12, 1999 -- No. 330


Local angles: Louisburg, Williamston, New Bern

Tar Heel Bus Tour faculty tour tobacco farm, see breast cancer screening program, visit Tryon Palace

Monday, May 17
A tour of a tobacco farm in Louisburg will be the first experience offered 34 new faculty and administrators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the 1999 Tar Heel Bus Tour.

Participants also will visit the N.C. Breast Cancer Screening Program in Williamston and tour Tryon Palace in New Bern.

The Tar Heel Bus Tour’s 15 stops are designed to teach new faculty and administrators about North Carolina’s geography, economy, culture, history, education system and health and social issues. The mobile classroom will cover 1,200 miles through 31 counties by Friday (May 21). Carolina is just one of a handful of major public universities that show newcomers their states.

Carolina is an internationally renowned research institution that attracts faculty from across the globe. Yet 82 percent of her undergraduate students hail from North Carolina. The privately funded bus tour allows new faculty -- some of whom have never stepped foot outside the Triangle -- to meet the people whose taxes support their paychecks and offers them insight into where their students come from.

Monday’s schedule:

8:50 a.m. Mitchell and Vollmer Tobacco Farms, Louisburg

12:15 p.m. N.C. Breast Cancer Screening Program, New Fellowship Christian Church, Williamston

5:30 p.m. Tryon Palace, New Bern. Shrimp boil on lawn at 6:30 p.m.

North Carolina produces more tobacco than any other state in the nation, and about one in 11 state workers depends on tobacco for his livelihood. Production, manufacturing, farming and wholesaling of tobacco add about 7.8 percent to the gross state product annually -- more than any other industry. The Louisburg stop also will highlight the recent tobacco settlement and its potential affects on farmers.

Nearly 50 percent of North Carolina residents live in rural areas, and the state is home to the third largest non-metropolitan population in the nation, behind Texas and Pennsylvania. Despite having just under half of the state’s population, the 88 non-metropolitan counties in the state are served by just 26 percent of the state’s physicians. The Williamston stop will explore rural health care and UNC-CH’s involvement in bringing improved health care to all North Carolinians. This stop also will highlight the role of churches as community centers that provide for both the spiritual and physical well-being of their parishioners.

New Bern is the second oldest town in North Carolina and once served as the seat of the state’s colonial government. Tryon Palace was constructed between 1767 and 1770 as a meeting place for the colonial assembly and as a residence for British Royal Governor William Tryon. Participants will take a brief tour of the palace and then settle in for dinner with entertainment by Bland Simpson, member of the UNC-CH Creative Writing Program, author of "Into the Sound Country: A Carolinian’s Coastal Plain" and member of the musical group, the Red Clay Ramblers.

Media availability: Tour hosts and participants are available for print and broadcast interviews at stops or by cellular phone by calling Karen Stinneford at 919-218-2380, pager 919-216-4653. Reporters, photographers and videographers may ride on legs of the tour by advance arrangement with News Services.

Photos on the World Wide Web: To download photos posted daily from the tour, visit

For more information: For additional information about the university, the Tar Heel Bus Tour, tour participants, directions or site visits, call News Services at 919-962-2091. Or visit the Web site at

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