Happy Birthday, Carolina!

University Day

 Each year on Oct. 12, Carolina celebrates University Day, which marks the laying of the cornerstone of Old East — the campus’ first building and the oldest state university building in the nation. The day is a celebration of our mission as the country’s first public university and our service to North Carolina, the nation and the world through our teaching, research and public service.

Read more about the celebration

The stage during University Day.

While we are formally known as the University of North Carolina, we might better be known as the University for North Carolina. We want our state to be a place where small towns and cities live side by side, working together and benefiting one another. We want the people of our state to live healthy, productive, secure lives.

Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz

Kevin Guskiewicz

Celebrating service

The theme for this year's celebration was service to North Carolina.

During the ceremony, the University highlighted how service is connected to all aspects of what we do at Carolina and heard from faculty members whose work is aimed at improving the lives of North Carolinians.

Explore Carolina's impact on the state
  • Marine Sciences doctoral student Carter Smith turns a crank on some research equipment as she stands in water near the N.C. coast.

    The Institute for Marine Sciences conducts cutting edge research, trains scientists and provides expertise to government agencies and industry. Located in Morehead City on more than six acres of waterfront property, it is an ideal site to study the ecology, conservation and restoration of marine resources, and to develop new technologies to safeguard our coasts.

    UNC Institute for Marine Sciences
  • Purple plastic inside a 3D printer

    The Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship, led by Carolina's Bernard Bell since 2017, teaches students an entrepreneurial mindset that can be applied to any career. Successful entrepreneurs serve as faculty, advisors and guest speakers, sharing their real-world expertise with the students in social, commercial, artistic and scientific entrepreneurship.

    Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship
  • A North Carolina flag flies on South Building.

    Housed in the School of Government and led by Anita Brown-Graham, ncIMPACT brings experts and data to bear on some of the state's most pressing issues. The initiative works with policy experts and community leaders across North Carolina in a nonpartisan effort to improve education, jobs, health care and other pressing issues.


Impact on the State

From student service projects to cutting-edge research to UNC-Chapel Hill's impact on the state economy, Carolina serves communities from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Crystal Coast.

  • 3rdbest public university in the nation
  • $1 billionin annual research expenditures
  • 424Carolina startups headquartered in North Carolina
  • 12,587North Carolinians employed by UNC-Chapel Hill companies
  • 2 millionhours of community service contributed by undergraduates in the past 16 years
  • 22disaster relief trips hosted throughout North Carolina since 2016

Across the Tar Heel State

Read more stories
  • Trapped on the surface

    Researcher Nathan Hall studies the Cape Fear River, which has become more susceptible to algal blooms — a potential public health concern for more than 1.5 million people relying on the river as a drinking water source.

  • Going where the need is greatest

    Travis Williams is a medical student on a mission to bring excellent care to underserved corners of North Carolina.

  • Carnivorous conservation

    Native only to a 90-mile inland radius around Wilmington, the Venus flytrap is a symbol of the Atlantic coastal plain’s unique ecology — and a contender for the federal endangered species list.

  • An eye on the hurricanes

    Researchers are helping our state prepare for hurricanes by studying the challenges we face, from storm surge and flooding to water quality and beach erosion.