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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Not for publication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 19, 2000 -- No. 290

Not for publication
Local angles: Louisburg, Bunn, Grifton

Tar Heel Bus Tour faculty tour tobacco farm, see hurricane relief efforts

Monday, May 22

A tour of a tobacco farm in Louisburg will be the first experience offered 30 new faculty and administrators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the 2000 Tar Heel Bus Tour. Participants also will visit Grifton and focus on Carolina’s role in hurricane relief efforts.

The privately funded classroom on wheels starts Monday (May 22). In a weeklong road trip spanning more than 1,000 miles, they will visit a dozen sites across the state aimed at enhancing how their teaching, research and public service work can help improve the state.

Carolina is among a handful of major public universities that take newcomers to the far reaches of their states. Since the inaugural tour in 1997, almost 100 participants have journeyed from Beaufort on the coast to Chimney Rock in the mountains and points in between. They have held tobacco leaves, trawled in fishing boats and had breakfast with the chief executive officer of the Bank of America. They have leapt from a 34-foot paratrooper tower, sped around a motor speedway in an official pace car, observed a father and son making pottery in Seagrove and visited a Civil War fort. And they have square-danced to bluegrass music and nibbled on North Carolina barbecue and soft-shell crabs.

After five intense days on the road, participants come home to Chapel Hill with an awareness of the state’s culture, economy, history and new friends from departments across campus. They see some of the places 82 percent of Carolina’s undergraduate students call home. And, organizers hope, they are inspired to develop projects and research that address the challenges facing the state.

Monday’s schedule includes these stops:

In Louisburg and Bunn, tour participants will be hosted by Steve and Irene Mitchell and John and Betty Vollmer of the two farms, as well as by Louisburg Mayor Lucy Allen, Mattie Kemp, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, and Angela Harris, president of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. These stops will focus on the role of tobacco in the N.C. economy and the impact of the tobacco settlement on farmers.

In Grifton, bus riders will learn how the Carolina Center for Public Service has coordinated multiple efforts based at UNC-CH to aid Hurricane Floyd victims. Hosts include Nick Didow, public service center director, Dr. Linda Cronenwett, dean of the UNC-CH School of Nursing and Grifton Mayor Tim Bright. Participants will eat lunch at the Grifton First Baptist Church, walk the town’s streets and ride through the Tick Bite community.

Interviews: Tour hosts and participants are available for print and broadcast interviews at stops or by cellular phone by making arrangements through News Services, (919) 962-2091, or University Relations staff members Scott Ragland or Gary Moss on site.

For more information: For additional information about the university, the Tar Heel Bus Tour, tour participants, directions or site visits, call News Services. Additional background about the bus tour can be found at:

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