Chancellor Folt to discuss UNC’s bright future at University Day Oct. 12

Chancellor Carol Folt
Chancellor Carol Folt

Chancellor Carol L. Folt will deliver a keynote address on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s rich history as the nation’s first public university and its bright future as a top, global, public research institution at University Day on Oct. 12. This year’s celebration marks Carolina’s 222nd birthday and will take place at 11 a.m. in Memorial Hall.

“As we celebrate Carolina’s 222nd birthday, we honor our pioneering leaders and the generations who have come before us,” said Chancellor Folt. “We are also working to realize a bold vision for the future – one that reflects the University’s historic commitment to our state and anticipates the needs and opportunities of this great global public research university well into the 21st century.”

Folt, the 11th chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill, is an internationally recognized scientist and award-winning teacher. Her priorities for Carolina include preserving and expanding the University’s academic excellence, access and affordability, and deep commitment to North Carolina’s future. Under Folt’s leadership, the University was recently named first among public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s “Great Schools, Great Prices” category.

A new addition to the pageantry of this year’s event, faculty and staff will process into Memorial Hall carrying gonfalon style banners that identify each school. The procession will be organized by the date of the establishment of the school.

University Day, which the campus first celebrated in 1877, 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. Classes will be cancelled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and all members of the Carolina community are invited to attend the festivities.

Other University Day convocation highlights will include the presentation of Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards, a practice begun by the faculty in 1971 to recognize Tar Heels who have made outstanding contributions to humanity.

This year’s recipients are Miami Herald senior reporter Jacqueline Charles, Mona Carol Frederick, executive director of Vanderbilt University’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Betty Debnam Hunt, creator and editor of “The Mini Page” and a former North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice, the Honorable Sarah Elizabeth Parker.

Additionally, the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award, established by the Faculty Council in 2011 to recognize outstanding service by a faculty member, will be presented to Peter White, professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

White served as director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG) from 1986 to 2014, during which he vastly increased the Botanical Garden’s size, programs, staffing, facilities and outreach, including raising more than $10 million toward completion of the Jim & Delight Allen Education Center. White’s vision resulted in acquisition of and responsibility for the Coker Arboretum, Battle Park, the UNC Herbarium, Carolina Campus Community Garden and the Mason Farm Biological Preserve. Under his leadership, NCBG continued its role as one of 14 founding gardens for the Center for Plant Conservation and co-founder of the Plant Sentinel Network.

The award was named in memory of Edward Kidder Graham, University president from 1914 to 1918, who committed the University to public service by vowing to “make the campus co-extensive with the boundaries of the State.”

For more information about University Day and or more on the honorees, refer to