A look back 2022-23

By Jon Gardiner, University Communications

Whether they are attending formal ceremonies and major milestone events, making portraits of our community or finding candid moments on Polk Place and across campus, Carolina photographers capture life as a Tar Heel and show what makes UNC-Chapel Hill so special. 

With another academic year in the books, University Photographer Jon Gardiner looked back at some memorable photographs from key moments of this year and shares the story behind them.

Hortense McClinton holding flowers.

A historic moment

Hortense McClinton, who became Carolina’s first Black faculty member in 1966, sits outside the residence hall that now bears her name on May 13, 2022.

This photo happened as the then-103-year-old McClinton moved into place for a group photo with family and friends who wanted to celebrate with her at a ceremony recognizing the naming of McClinton Residence Hall. Someone had brought her a bouquet of roses, and as she sat down, the most joyful expression spread across her face.

It’s always a thrill to be around living history. McClinton is an integral part of the University, and the influence she has had on countless students, faculty and staff was palpable on this day.


Students carrying boxes and a dart board into their dorm.

Fall move-in

Students move into Hinton James Residence Hall on Aug. 12, 2022.

Students move into Carolina every fall, which makes move-in a tradition that ties past and present students together. Each year I end up finding an image that, except for the cars and maybe clothing, could have happened today or 40 years ago.

Students sining on stage.

Sunset Serenade

A cappella groups perform during Sunset Serenade at Polk Place on Aug. 16, 2022. The annual event, hosted by the General Alumni Association, kicks off the start of the year every fall with performances.

This is always a fun start to the year: Music on Polk Place and gathering with the Tar Heels you will be around for the next four years.

Firefighters walking up stairs.

Tar Heels reflect on 9/11

ROTC students, local first responders, Carolina student-athletes and community members climb the steps at Kenan Memorial Stadium in honor of the anniversary of 9/11 on Sept. 11, 2022.

This is an annual event that always serves as a reminder of how dedication plays such a significant role in our lives.

Brian Hogan.

Brian Hogan

Brian Hogan’s journey to becoming a teaching professor in the College of Arts and Science’s chemistry department has been anything but a straight path. But through perseverance and an ask for help, the Tar Heel found a way to quiet the doubt that lingered in the back of his mind.

This photo was a portrait to accompany a story about Hogan. The popular Carolina professor opened himself up to help others who might be struggling with doubt and issues with mental health.

People walking across a bridge.

Meeting the Tar Heel state

Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz walks across the Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain with Teshanee Williams, assistant professor of public administration and government at the UNC School of Government, in October.

The visit to Grandfather Mountain was part of the Tar Heel Bus Tour that traveled our state over fall break. It was an incredible journey of listening, learning and visiting the communities that our students call home.

The Old Well.

The Old Well in the springtime

The Old Well, seen through the front door of South Building in April.

As I walked out of South Building this day, I had a moment where I thought about that scene from “The Wizard of Oz” where Dorothy opens the farmhouse door of her black and white Kansas life to reveal the colorful world of Oz.


People tossing caps.

Pre-commencement celebrations

Graduating seniors have their pictures made at the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower in May.

I saw this group of students setting up to take a picture of themselves tossing their caps in the air at the base of the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower. It looked like it would make an interesting photo from the side, so I positioned myself and waited for them to celebrate.