It's a chance to honor the history of UNC while envisioning its future.
This year's University Day convocation will begin at 11 a.m. Friday in Memorial Hall. Gov. Mike Easley, who received his undergraduate degree from UNC in 1972, will deliver the keynote address.
Provost Robert Shelton, who is head of the University Day Planning Committee, said it is a long-standing tradition for the governor of North Carolina to speak at the first University Day after being installed in office. "We're very fortunate to have that (tradition)," Shelton said. "It's sort of the power, the longevity of Carolina that allows us to do that."
After Easley's speech, four Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards will be presented to past UNC students for their outstanding contributions to humanity. This year's recipients include retired botanist James A. Duke; Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland; and Hugh L. McColl Jr., retired chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp. P. Kay Wagoner, who started and currently heads ICAgen, Inc., her own biopharmaceutical company, will be honored also.
The ceremony will end at 12:30 p.m., with cake and lemonade to be served in honor of UNC's birthday. The UNC Chamber Singers and Crown Chamber Bass will perform at the reception.
This year's schedule includes a variety of events for students, alumni, committee members and friends of the University.
The Campus Y will hold an open house from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the New Scholar Reception will be held for Johnston Scholars at 4:30 p.m. in the Morehead Lounge in Graham Memorial.
The Capital Campaign Steering Committee will meet in the early morning, and the National Campaign Committee will have a meeting at 12:30 p.m.
Classes are suspended from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to encourage attendance at the events, but Shelton says he worries about scheduling University Day on a Friday.
"The veterans here tell me it's problematic because you take a Friday and cancel afternoon classes, and the students are out of here," Shelton said.
Despite his concerns about student participation, Shelton said he is eagerly awaiting the events that he helped plan -- especially because this is his first University Day at UNC. "Color me new and naive, but I'm really excited about this," said Shelton, who became UNC's provost eight months ago.
Sue Estroff, chairwoman of the Faculty Council, said student involvement in University Day is especially crucial this year due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Now, as always, University Day is about cherishing our past and imagining our future," Estroff said. "And I think we're all going to do our damnedest to make sure that future is bright."
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