Ultimate Tar Heel Roll Call

I had some difficulty in deciding on a title for this article because every title I thought of had a deficiency. Finally, I decided to go with the above and after you read the article, it may be clearer why I had so much difficulty.

Let's throw a little Christmas in here because it's getting to be that time of the year. Mrs. Ramfanatic and decided years ago that we would not give each other Christmas presents for several reasons, one of which is ageing makes it more difficult because, over time, people tend to accumulate so much "stuff" that selecting a present becomes more of a problem than when we were younger. Rather than buying each other presents at Christmas, we both buy ourselves a present or two so that we aren't left completely out of the spirit of the season.

Several days ago, I answered the door bell to find our mail lady there with a sizeable box addressed to me. My first thought was that my wife had decided to break our agreement without telling me and had ordered a gift for me since I couldn't remember having ordered anything. The return address on the box was Virginia Beach which helped me not at all in determining what might be inside the box.

I opened the box and there staring me in the face was a beautiful color photograph of the old well and the words "2000 Alumni Directory" emblazoned across the bottom of the cover of what obviously was a very large book. Inside the box was a second book, the same size with the same picture on the cover.

After a few seconds of deliberation, I remembered that earlier in the year, I had ordered a copy of the UNC Alumni Directory and it had finally arrived. I gather they only printed the number that were prepaid since they could tie up a lot of money in producing an inventory. Best I remember the two volumes had cost around $40.

I had heard of the Directory since it has been out for several years but I had never actually seen a copy. Was I in store for a treat.

In addition to containing the names of every person who has ever attended UNC for one semester, the Directory provides an abundance of information I find intriguing. Each person is listed along with standardized personal information the listee chooses to share with the folks at the UNC General Alumni Association. Those persons who are deceased have only the degrees and the years involved listed. For those who, according to alumni association records, are still alive, the Directory provides occupation, address, spouse's name, telephone number and internet address ( if applicable.)

Thee is some statistical compilations provided such as the number of alumni who live in the various states and the cities within those states. In addition it lists alumni in foreign countries as well as listing all the alumni association chapters and Carolina Clubs. For example, if I want to know the number and names of all known UNC alums in Plainfield, New Jersey, I just flip to page 3006 and find that there are 7 alumni living there with attendance dates ranging from 1965 to 2000. Two of the 7 are Doctors. This might be helpful for those persons who move to a new city and have to find a new doctor. What better way to select one than to use attendance at UNC as a criterion? I recently had to find a new doctor because Thompson Mann, my former personal physician moved to Cambridge, Mass.

This was before I received my books so I telephoned the UNC School of Medicine to see what UNC Medical School graduates practiced medicine in Richmond. I was told that it is not uncommon for the Med. School to get calls of this nature and they seemed pleased to get the call.

It's interesting to see the number of alums in the various states and foreign countries. A sample of the type information that has been assembled is as follows:

State            No. of Alumni        GAA

Virginia        11,717                   3548

Georgia        9895                      3313

Florida         8552                      2459

California     7156                      1649

New York   6322                      1559

North Carolina has 119,112 alumni and 34,618 GAA members residing within the state.

I enjoy playing with numbers and I now have the material with which to work. For example, how does the total number of alumni outside North Carolina compare with the total number within N.C. I don't know now but there's a good chance I will before I go to bed tonight.

I'm not trying to sell these books but I thought there might be some people out there who, like me, were unaware that this information is available. I have already tracked down one friend I hadn't heard from in 20 years. He seemed pleased that I had done so.

This is probably the last article before Christmas so I want to wish each and every one of you the very best. Several situations I have experienced recently have reminded me how fragile life is. Take the time to do something at Christmas that shows to your loved ones that you really love them. I'm not talking about presents. They have their place but one of the reasons Mrs. RamFanatic and I entered into our "no presents" agreement was that we felt the giving of presents at Christmas had become so obligatory. One of the best Christmas presents I ever received was a homemade card from a young neighbor and he had written on it "To my best friend." He's grown now, has a child and probably doesn't even remember making and sending that card but I will never forget it. That's the kind of thing I am encouraging you to do.

Until after Christmas, GO HEELS.