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Media Advisory

For immediate use

May 12, 2006 -- No. 259

Local angles: Halifax, Rocky Mount

Davie birthday party, Rocky Mount center
to be first stops for 2006 Tar Heel Bus Tour

Monday, May 15

9:15-11 a.m.: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill founder William R. Davie will ride in on his horse for his 250th birthday party at his historic home in Halifax - actually, UNC English professor Dr. Christopher Armitage, in period dress, will play the role of the Revolutionary War officer, Halifax attorney, member of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and advocate of the bill for North Carolina's ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

The public is invited to enjoy cake, sing "Happy Birthday" and observe as Chancellor James Moeser, "Davie" and others plant a poplar sapling, symbolic of the Davie Poplar on the UNC campus. Davie was born June 22, 1756, in England and practiced law and lived in Halifax, where the family home is part of the Historic Halifax State Historic Site. He wrote the bill to establish the university.

The party and history lesson will be the first stop on the 2006 Tar Heel Bus Tour, designed to teach participants about the state that UNC serves and from whence 82 percent of Carolina students hail. Thirty-six new faculty and administrators are participating in this year's tour.

Noon-2 p.m.: The second stop will be at the Opportunities Industrialization Center in Rocky Mount. Moeser and tour members will hear about how UNC health affairs schools' work with the center to provide health services in five counties: Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson, Halifax and Northampton.

Tour background:
The UNC group will travel more than 1,000 miles in a classroom on wheels, from Monday through Friday (May 15-19), to learn about distinctly North Carolina topics and visit some of the state's historic and scenic sites.

"We aim to help faculty gain a better understanding of North Carolina and the people we serve," Moeser said.

The privately funded tour, which began in 1997, aims to teach new faculty and administrators about North Carolina's people, geography, economy, culture, history, education system and health and social issues. Participants learn about the university's commitment to North Carolina and the people it serves. Many stops highlight UNC outreach projects. The participants also have opportunities to learn how their research, teaching and public service can serve the state's needs.

Later in the week, participants will learn about a state-of-the-art textile factories keeping North Carolina competitive in that fast-changing industry; a UNC-founded program that helps provide a support network to families of National Guard and National Reserve soldiers deployed overseas; the growth of the state's Hispanic population (on a stop in Kenansville); the state's higher education system (in a meeting with peers at UNC-Charlotte); and economic development efforts in small towns including Chimney Rock.

Carolina Connections: Halifax County is home to 56 Carolina students and 374 alumni; Nash County is home to 162 Carolina students and 1,174 alumni; and Edgecombe County is home to 52 students and 381 alumni.

Monday highlights:

7 a.m. Departure from the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education, N.C. 54, Chapel Hill.

9:15-11 a.m.: Historic William R. Davie Home, at the corner of Norman and St. David streets, Halifax.
The university's roots and rich history will be the focus of this stop at the home of William Richardson Davie, one of the university's founders and early trustees. Armitage, an expert in 17th-century American literature, and Robert Anthony, curator of the N.C. Collection at UNC's Wilson Library, will discuss Davie's life and the role of the university in the state's history.

Among those joining the tour in Halifax will be Allan Parrott of Virginia Beach, Va., a member of the UNC Board of Visitors and a descendant of William R. Davie; Halifax Mayor Gerald Wright; Patricia Samford of Bath, regional manager of N.C. Historical Sites, Northeastern Division; and Anthony.

Noon-2 p.m.: Opportunities Industrialization Center, 402 E. Virginia St., Rocky Mount.
Participants will hear about a partnership between the UNC Program of Ethnicity, Culture, and Health Outcomes (ECHO), the UNC Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and the center to provide HIV/AIDS awareness education, cancer screenings, health clinics and a mobile health center, serving five counties.

Among many Carolina-supported efforts that the meeting will cover is Project GRACE (Growing, Reaching, Advocating for Change and Empowerment), which focuses on reducing HIV in Nash and Edgecombe counties, where the virus disproportionately affects African-American communities.

Experts and leaders discussing the programs will include: Dr. Anissa Vines, research assistant professor in the department of epidemiology in the UNC School of Public Health and ECHO associate director; Reuben Blackwell, the Opportunities Industrialization Center's president and chief executive officer; Stacey Henderson, community outreach specialist for the Area-L AHEC through ECHO and director of the Center for Community Research in Rocky Mount; and Brenda Lyon and Dr. Ted Wilson of the center's Family Medical Center.

Interviews: Participants and tour organizers are expected to be available for print and broadcast interviews at stops. During the tour, call UNC News Services at 919-962-2091 with questions about coverage, directions to tour stops or interviews.

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2006 Tar Heel Bus Tour news release:

News Services contacts: Karen Moon, (919) 962-8595 or; LJ Toler, (919) 962-8589 or