Edith Wiggins, a community treasure who dedicated her life to public service and serving the Chapel Hill community, died on Easter morning, April 4.
Wiggins, UNC’s first African American vice chancellor and dean of student affairs and the former director of the Campus Y, attended UNC-Greensboro for her undergraduate degree and was one of five Black women admitted in her class. Wiggins came to Chapel Hill to pursue her graduate degree in social work.
“She was a very soft spoken, very insightful and very caring human being,” Lillian Lee, a lifelong friend of Wiggins, said. “And very dedicated to making things better for those around her and her family and her friends.”
Wiggins was deeply involved with both UNC and the Chapel Hill community.
She served on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education from 1979 to 1987. In 1996, she became the second African American woman to be elected to the Town Council, where she served until 2005.
During her time on the council, Wiggins was focused on the treatment and compensation for Town employees.
“I always advocated for the best experience possible for our employees,” Wiggins said in a December 2005 Daily Tar Heel article about her exit from the Town Council. “They determine the quality of life in Chapel Hill.”
Council member Allen Buansi said when he made his decision to run for Town Council, Wiggins was one of the first people he talked to.
"She was so incredibly supportive, so encouraging and really brought me up to speed on the history of Town politics — things to be aware of, things to look out for,” she said.