Dear Campus Community:
I am pleased to announce that the new exhibit inside the entrance to Carolina Hall is installed and ready for viewing. I had an opportunity to tour this powerful exhibit, and I was moved by the lessons I learned about our history, which came through for me in a deeply personal way.
I am proud of this exhibit, the initial project of the Chancellor’s Task Force on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill History. It is a great starting point as we tell the full story of Carolina’s history. We began this journey when UNC’s Board of Trustees voted in May 2015 to rename Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall. At the same time, the board passed two other resolutions, one that placed a 16-year freeze on renaming other buildings, and one that called for a broad effort to thoughtfully and thoroughly curate Carolina’s history.
The Carolina Hall exhibit focuses on three eras in North Carolina and UNC’s history: Reconstruction, and William L. Saunders place within this era; the building’s naming in the 1920s, which was part of a larger reshaping of the landscape and historical memory; and, the contemporary era of student activism that propelled Carolina’s Board of Trustees to remove Saunders’ name in 2015. The exhibit is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. To read more details about how the exhibit was created, see this story and watch a video on unc.edu.
I want to thank the history task force—co-chairs Winston Crisp, vice chancellor of student affairs; Amy Locklear Hertel, director of the American Indian Center and clinical assistant professor in the School of Social Work, and James Leloudis, professor of history and associate dean of Honors Carolina—and Cecelia Moore, the University’s historian, for their work in researching and collaborating with noted North Carolina historians to create this exhibit. I also want to thank the advisory committee, made up of faculty, staff, students and alumni, for their important role in ensuring a critical review of this exhibit. This was no small feat, given the complexity of our history and the desire to share it in a comprehensive and engaging way.
The work of the history task force is ongoing. Upcoming projects include a curatorial plan for McCorkle Place; an inventory of historic buildings, monuments, and memorials; and an online orientation program on University history. We look forward to continuing the important and powerful dialogue about our history. I hope you will take time to visit this exhibit, learn more about our shared history, and be part of the continuing conversation about our future.
Carol L. Folt
Published November 16, 2016.