Today, I become an editor emeritus of The Daily Tar Heel. Or at least I’ll go with that title. It sounds a lot cooler than “former,” right?
I’m ending a journey that began four years ago, when I came to campus with not a whole lot more than a map, a national championship T-shirt and a goofy OneCard picture.
By the grace of God, that map led me into the DTH office.
Of course, I have the obligatory wonderful memories as a basketball fan. I’ll never forget every floor of Morrison Residence Hall exploding after Wayne Ellington hit a 3-pointer to beat Clemson in overtime. Or beating Duke in 2007 and rushing Franklin Street — but making sure to stop and bear hug the Davie Poplar on the way.
But even more important than that, through my work here I’ve had the honor of getting to know the people who make up UNC — and they are what make this place special.
They’re people like John Sanders, who has spent about half a century serving UNC and the state, from playing a key role in drafting the state Constitution to advising generations of chancellors. The man has a building on campus named after him, but he says his main joy is to spend time with students.
They’re the brilliant scientists and educators who give a UNC diploma the value it has. People like chemistry professor Joe DeSimone, who is doing biomedical research that could revolutionize how we treat cancer. And history professor Jim Leloudis, whose lectures on N.C. history captivated me more than any I’ve heard.
And they’re people like you and me — the ones who study and protest and sweat and work late into the night.
Sure, I can take pride that as editor-in-chief this year, I’ve managed to produce nearly 150 issues.
But that’s not even close to being my favorite part of the job.
I’ve loved learning how you read the DTH and talking about what you think about our coverage and what you’re looking for in our pages.
And I have loved working with the staff of the DTH. They make this paper, not me. And they will continue to do great things next year.
In the first issue of this school year, I made a lot of promises.
I said we would keep you informed and hold your leaders accountable, dedicating ourselves to finding the stories behind the big issues.
Overall, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that. We’ve taken you behind the University’s review of the Greek system, the development of University Square, the search for a new provost and money woes in Orange County’s emergency services department — among many, many others throughout the year.
I also pledged that the DTH would be a responsive member of the community and not a walled fortress.
I’ve tried hard to make this a reality. I failed at creating the Community Feedback Board. I didn’t spend enough time recruiting and trying to get people involved. But to make up for that, I have tried extremely hard to make sure people felt like my door was always open to come talk to me about their concerns.
No, we haven’t been perfect. But just like all of you, I feel we’ve made this campus a better place.
And I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Dunn is a senior journalism major from Apex. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org