The post below was written by undergraduate student Lindsay Creech
October 12th. It seems like any other date, but the history behind it impacts each and every Tar Heel. October 12th marks the laying of the cornerstone of the University’s first building, Old East. The cornerstone was laid by General William Richardson Davie, Revolutionary patriot, governor of North Carolina, and recipient of the University’s first honorary doctor of laws degree. Old East is also the oldest state university building in the nation. Now a tradition, University Day seeks to celebrate the future of the University while remembering the past.
The first University Day was celebrated in 1877 at Gerrard Hall. University Days have also served as convocations for new chancellors. Since the first ceremony, the celebration has grown to include speeches from faculty members and visitors. Such honored visitors include President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and Bill Clinton in 1993. Currently, classes are cancelled during the morning to allow faculty, staff, and students to participate in University Day festivities such as the faculty processional and guest speaker. This year’s guest speaker was Jamie Bartram, Direct of the Water Institute. Other festivities include Waffles Under Wilson, an event put on by Order of the Bell Tower, the official ambassadors to the chancellor. So, whether you’re a past, present, or future Tar Heel, University Day is a tradition that can tie everyone together as part of the Carolina family.