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William Davie News Archive

Anne Cates, first female UNC trustees chair: ‘After 200 years, I was it’

More than five decades later, Anne Cates is now best known around Chapel Hill as a respected leader who played many critical roles at Carolina, including being the first woman to chair the University’s Board of Trustees in 1999. Her decades of commitment to the University earned Cates the William R. Davie Award and the UNC General Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Medal.

Davie Poplar has stood for centuries

On Dec. 3, 1792, Revolutionary War Gen. William R. Davie and five other men were having a picnic. It was this meeting that would decide the location of the University, and it was this man for whom one of UNC’s many monuments would be named: the Davie Poplar. The exact age of the Davie Poplar is unknown, but arborists believe it is around 300 years old.

UNC's Native Narratives

Long before Revolutionary War Gen. William R. Davie (as the legend goes) sat under a poplar tree and decided this was where the University should be built, indigenous people lived here – hunting, gathering, trading. Here on campus, archaeologists have found artifacts including stone spear points alongside numerous fragments of broken cooking pots.

UNC professor Christopher Armitage takes teaching ‘seriously, not solemnly’

The teaching awards line the corner office in Greenlaw Hall like wallpaper, but it is the unusual picture above the desk that rivets the eye. It shows a bemused Dean Smith shaking hands with General William Richardson Davie, portrayed by Christopher Armitage, to whom the picture belongs. It was taken 21 years ago, when the two men took center stage – Armitage on horseback – for Carolina’s bicentennial celebration in October 1993.

The University of the People

When William Richardson Davie laid the cornerstone at Old East on Oct. 12, 1793, it marked the beginning of what alumnus Charles Kuralt would famously call “the University of the people.” That’s why, since 1877, UNC has recognized October 12 as University Day, a time to anticipate Carolina’s future while celebrating its history — a rich history that includes a long commitment to accessibility and affordability.


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