University Day marks the laying of the cornerstone of Old East, the nation’s first state university building, in 1793. The day has become the traditional inauguration day for new chancellors since 1957. UNC President Tom Ross will preside at the ceremony, and Sarah Parker, chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, will administer the oath of office. Distinguished speakers include representatives from the UNC Board of Governors, the University’s Board of Trustees, faculty, students, staff and the UNC General Alumni Association.The public is invited to attend the free ceremony, which will begin with a processional of faculty, students, staff, alumni, visiting dignitaries and other leaders. A reception following installation will be outside of Wilson Library. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held in the Dean E. Smith Center.
“This is an exciting day for Carolina,” said Lowry Caudill, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We hope the students, faculty, staff and everyone in the Carolina community will join us to hear Chancellor Folt’s vision for the University and to celebrate 220 years of public higher education in America.”
The UNC Board of Governors unanimously elected Folt as chancellor in April, and she started work on July 1. An internationally recognized environmental scientist and award-winning teacher, Folt served as interim president of Dartmouth College during 2012-2013. She also was Dartmouth Professor of Biological Sciences at the prestigious Ivy League institution. Folt is the first woman to lead Carolina.
During the ceremony, Carolina will present five Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Awards, created in 1971 to recognize “alumni who had distinguished themselves in a manner that brought credit to the University.” This year’s recipients are: Stuart Bondurant, professor and dean emeritus of the UNC School of Medicine; William Easterling III, dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University and founding director of the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment; Karol Mason, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs; Todd Miller, founder and executive director of the North Carolina Coastal Federation, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Ocean, N.C.; and Gary Parr, vice chairman of Lazard Ltd., a global financial advisory firm.