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


For immediate use

March 12, 2002 -- No. 142

Stone Center to hold appreciation reception for Hitchcock

Friday, March 22, Noon - 2 p.m.
Alumni Hall II, George Watts Hill Alumni Center
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Media representatives are invited to attend a reception being held March 22 to honor Jimmy Hitchcock, a recent donor to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillís Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center. It will be held in the George Watts Hill Alumni Centerís Alumni Hall II from noon until 2 p.m. (The reception is for university community members receiving invitations from the center. It is not open to the general public.)

Hitchcock, a UNC alumnus who grew up in Concord and played cornerback on the Tar Heel football team, pledged $150,000 to the center in November 2001. His gift will help pay for construction of the new 44,500-square-foot academic building. The $9 million cost is being met entirely with private gifts. Construction is scheduled to begin this June and be completed in December 2003.

Hitchcockís gift is among the largest to the building fund, and a multipurpose meeting room in the new facility will be named for him. At first, Hitchcock had said he thought a room named for him was extravagant, but after the death of Kory Stringer, his former Minnesota Vikings teammate, he realized it would be an opportunity to leave a legacy for his children.

In the early 1990s, Hitchcock played a key role in the efforts by students to persuade campus officials to approve a free-standing building for Stone center, then housed in an office in the student union building. In 1991, the sudden death of popular center advisory board member Professor Sonja Haynes Stone prompted students to request, and university trustees to approve, the renaming of the center in her memory. She had favored a free-standing building for the center, and in 1992 students, including Hitchcock, demanded a university commitment to one. Hitchcock has said he was inspired by Stone to learn about African-American culture and to develop an appreciation for African-American history.

The Stone center offers academic programs and activities for all students and seeks to bridge gaps in understanding among diverse groups. It is one of the nationís leading centers for research, teaching, learning and public service related to black history and culture. The center sponsors activities including conferences, lectures and outreach programs.

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Stone center contact: Kristin Hawkins, (919) 962-9001