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University officially dedicates McClinton Residence Hall and Henry Owl Building

McClinton Residence Hall is pictured on May 17, 2022. Formerly Carr Hall, the building's new name honors Hortense McClinton, the first Black professor hired at UNC.

On Friday, the University renamed one of its residence halls and its Student Affairs building after two prominent members of the UNC community. 

Residence Hall One, formerly named Aycock Residence Hall, was renamed after Hortense McClinton, the first Black faculty member at the University. The Student Affairs building was renamed after Henry Owl, the first American Indian to enroll at UNC. 

The new names advance the first Carolina Next strategic initiative entitled “Build Our Community Together,” which seeks to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at UNC.

The ceremony comes after the UNC Board of Trustees voted to remove the names in 2020, as the names of Aycock and Carr were removed from their respective buildings. Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz made the renaming official in the ceremony, commemorating the legacy of McClinton and Owl in the Student Union Auditorium. 

“This process really began about a year and a half ago, and we knew that we wanted to diversify the landscape of our campus,” Guskiewicz said. 

Guskiewicz has worked directly with the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward on renaming efforts. In April 2021, the commission recommended that the names of ten other campus buildings with namesakes connected to white supremacists be removed.

Guskiewicz said he hopes to develop a campus atmosphere that makes each student feel like they belong.

“We have an opportunity to consider some other naming opportunities here over the next several months, and I’m really pleased that our Board of Trustees has been part of this process because their voice is important, as is the voice of our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” Guskiewicz said.

The Henry Owl Building was formerly named after Julian Carr, a member of the Ku Klux Klan who fought for and heavily supported the Confederacy. 

Owl was the first American Indian and first person of color to attend UNC, receiving a master of arts degree in history in 1929. He wrote his thesis on the removal of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

His daughter, Gladys Cardiff, accepted the dedication on her father’s behalf. 

“History is all about who speaks and who gets to speak, and who does not,” Cardiff said.

Juanita Paz-Chalacha is an undergraduate student and member of the Carolina Indian Circle who spoke during Owl’s building dedication. 

“I am here before you all today not with a multitude of praise for this event, but with a hollow and exhausted anger,” Paz-Chalacha said. 

During her speech, Paz-Chalacha said she hoped to see expanded representation for native students and faculty.

“While we are seen here at this event for the duration of the time we are here, afterwards, what are you, the University administration, going to do to get proper representation to your native students and faculty going forward?” Paz-Chalacha said.

McClinton Residence Hall commemorates the legacy of Hortense McClinton, who became the first Black faculty member at the University when she began teaching at UNC in 1966. McClinton regularly taught courses on casework, human development and institutional racism.

“Building names are a really important part of what we stand for, so just seeing that we’re fighting for leaving diverse legacies on our campus really shows a lot,” said Alexandra Love, an undergraduate student who spoke during McClinton’s dedication ceremony. 

Student body president Taliajah "Teddy" Vann attended both ceremonies and said she enjoyed meeting McClinton after the ceremony concluded. 

“There is no path for me as a Black woman, as student body president, without the contributions of her and the contributions of Henry Owl and everybody else like them who are still a part of this unsung history of Carolina,” Vann said.


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