The lights came back on and the masked figures left the room.
With the century-old ritual for new member selection to The Order of the Golden Fleece completed, two-time World Cup champion, philanthropist and UNC alumna Mia Hamm took the stage to present the 2014 Frank Porter Graham Lecture on Excellence.
This year marks the 110th anniversary of the Order, which is the oldest honorary society at UNC.
Lifelong members returned to Chapel Hill this weekend for a celebratory reunion featuring panels and speeches by distinguished members of the UNC community.
The event began with masked men running around the room and “tapping” the newest inductees to the society, which they consider the highest honor at UNC. Then Mia Hamm, ’94 UNC graduate and current member of the Order, spoke to the group.
“Mia Hamm was selected to deliver the Frank Porter Graham Lecture on Excellence because of her love and dedication to the University and because she embodies excellence in all aspects of her life,” said reunion committee co-chairwoman Cathy Stuart.
Hamm shared her thoughts on excellence at UNC and beyond.
Hamm said her pursuit of excellence began in her youth, when she competed on local boys’ soccer teams. She eventually earned a spot on the under-19 Women’s National team at the age of 14.
When choosing where to play in college, Hamm said she had her sights set on UNC.