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Join us for University Day

The campus community will celebrate Carolina’s 229th birthday on Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall. Classes will be canceled from 3:20 to 4:40 p.m. to allow for attendance.

People on the stage.
Carolina commemorated its 228th birthday at University Day on Oct. 12, 2021. (Photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

We invite you to join us for our annual University Day ceremony at 3:30 p.m., Oct. 12, in Memorial Hall to celebrate Carolina’s 229th birthday. Our campus first recognized University Day in 1877, which marks the 1793 laying of the cornerstone of Old East, the nation’s first state university building, and the beginning of public higher education in the United States.

We are excited to hold the traditional procession this year. Those wishing to participate should line up behind their school or unit banner beginning at 3 p.m. at the Old Well. Faculty may choose whether to wear academic regalia. Staff planning to attend the ceremony should seek prior approval from their supervisor. Classes will be canceled from 3:20 to 4:40 p.m. to allow for attendance.

As part of University Research Week, the ceremony will highlight some of the incredible work by our faculty and students to better the State of North Carolina and beyond. Orlando Coronell, associate professor and associate chair for academics in environmental sciences and engineering, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Christian Chung, a biology and public policy major in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, will share their work on a novel clean water technology for effective removal of toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Caela O’Connell, assistant professor in anthropology and the environment, ecology, and energy program, UNC College of Arts and Sciences, along with Margot Midkiff, a health policy and management major in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, will offer insight to their work on human and environmental relationships and how they can change in relation to hurricanes, flooding, pollution and other factors.

University Day is also a time to honor our Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Award winners. This year’s recipients are:

  • Nicole K. Bates, director of strategic partnerships and initiatives for Pivotal Ventures LLC;
  • Jerry W. Blackwell, founding partner of Blackwell Burke P.A. and nominee to serve as a judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota;
  • F. Dubois Bowman, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan;
  • Charles H. Robbins, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems; and
  • Karen L. Parker, journalist (retired), first Black female undergraduate to enroll at the University of North Carolina, graduated in 1965.

We will also present the Edward Kidder Graham Award and the Rebecca Clark Award for Moral Courage to deserving faculty and staff. This year’s recipient of the Edward Kidder Graham award is Frayda S. Bluestein, David M. Lawrence Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government, UNC School of Government. The Rebecca Clark Award will be given to Charletta G. Sims Evans, associate dean for student affairs, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

For more information, please visit the University Day website. We look forward to celebrating with you on Oct. 12.

Sincerely,

Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Chancellor

Christopher Clemens
Provost and Chief Academic Officer