A Tar Heel After All

There was a dedication held on Oct. 11th in Chapel Hill that I would never have thought possible when I was a student in the late 50's. I had just completed 4 years of military service and was enrolled as a freshmen at UNC. Along the way, I had acquired a wife and child and my financial situation was tenuous to say the least.

To augment the money I was receiving from the G.I. Bill, I took a job at Kerr Rexall in Cameron Village in Raleigh, the first of what was to become a chain of Kerr Rexall drug stores. It was there that I met Banks Kerr, the owner of the store.

Mr. Kerr confused me back then because he was a strong supporter of State College ( that's what they were called then ) in spite of the fact that he had attended the UNC School of Pharmacy. He and I would playfully argue about the UNC-State rivalry but I never did fully understand how a Carolina man could be such a Wolfpack fan. A couple of times our bantering threatened to cross the line but we were able to recover and stay on good terms.

One of my fellow employees at Kerr Rexall was Dick Christy, the All American running back for State and it wasn't difficult to figure out how he got the job. Even though no one knew it at the time, Christy had tried to transfer from State to Vanderbilt because he was unhappy at State. Apparently he didn't know much about the academic requirements at Vanderbilt because he would have been in over his head even if the transfer could have somehow been arranged. Christy finished at State and played for a short while in the NFL before being killed in an auto accident.

So you see, I thought that whatever financial help Banks Kerr would make to an institution would be to State and not Carolina. Keep in mind that I was in my early 20's and and did not possess an understanding of the way things work in this world as I do now. I will never forget what a gentleman told me years ago that has proved invaluable in my lifetime in understanding baffling situations. He said to me, "When you can't figure out a situation, think money." How right he was and I now understand that Banks Kerr's relationship with the Wolfpack Club probably had more to do with business than it did to true allegiance to the school.

So it was with a great deal of pleasure that I took note of the dedication of the Banks D. Kerr Hall at the UNC School of Pharmacy on University Day. It will serve future pharmacists well both in the State of North Carolina and elsewhere and only a few people will know that, for a while, his allegiance to UNC was in question, at least in my mind. They say all's well that ends well and this one certainly ended well.