UNC Artifacts, Part 1

Ram note:

There may something on the State game later in the week. In the meantime, I just want to enjoy the feeling of getting a good win against an arch rival in the most satisfying of ways.


I have been the recipient of some very nice UNC artifacts recently, sent to me by viewers of this board. If you have read the permanent parts of the site, you know that I am a hopeless collector of things. I use the word "things" because the term has to be broad to describe what I collect. Very broad since I collect many things.

The UNC items are especially appreciated because old UNC items are hard to locate when you don't reside where most of the graduates/fans are located. I was indeed fortunate to have located several old UNC football programs some years ago, but probably wouldn't have gotten them if the seller had not known me personally.

Maybe that's a good place to begin the story about my recent acquisitions. A viewer in Chapel Hill saw the photos of my football programs on this site and contacted me since he collects old UNC football programs. He has a fine collection, and after contemplating the matter for some time, I agreed to part with several of my football programs to make his collection more complete. The viewer is trying to assemble as many of the programs as he can and it is his plan to donate them to the University when he is finished. Nobody knows how close he will come to finding all of the programs but I would bet that he has the best collection of UNC football programs to date. Wouldn't it be interesting to know when the first UNC programs were produced. He and I both have several that go back into the twenties.

Back to my Chapel Hill friend. He e-mailed me recently to say that he had a gift he wanted to send me but he didn't say what the gift was. He had e-mailed to find out my mailing address. When I received his package several days later, I couldn't believe what was inside. It was an original Commencement Program from UNC for the year 1860. No, that is not a typo. It was for the year immediately preceding the Civil War and I plan to try and determine how many of the graduates have their names on the wall in Memorial Hall. I haven't visited Memorial Hall lately and I understand they are still in the midst of a major renovation to the building. I assume the names of UNC grads killed in the Civil War still exists on the walls of the building, but with everybody so concerned about being political correct, it wouldn't shock me to find that the names been removed. I surely hope not.

I have had two pages of the program framed and they now adorn the wall with my other treasured items. The viewer told me he found the program in a book store in Chapel Hill, so I called the owner to see if he could provide any information regarding its background. Unfortunately, he could not.

The program contains 6 pages (front and back for a total of 12) and much of the writing is in Latin. Latin was more a part of higher education in the old days than it is today. Apparently they had numerous speakers throughout the day and some of the topics were:

Latin Salutatory

Where Eloquence flourishes, Liberty must dwell

Moral Courage

Man Worship

The Origin of Love-a poem

Literary Vanity

Can't imagine our graduates of today sitting still for some of these topics, but they were presented in 1860 in a much different time in almost every way. Can you imagine the buzz going on about whether there is going to be a war or not and if there is, will I have to serve? Will I survive?

The most interesting topic listed was "The Alleged Degeneracy of the Age." Apparently some people thought back then that everybody might be headed straight to Hell the same as some think today. Another good topic was "Common Sense."

The speakers are listed by name and where they were from but there are no titles to explain who they were. There is a section entitled "Extemporaneous Speaking" and I assume that was reserved for students who might want to say something to those who had assembled for the commencement.

One side note. There is a graduate listed with the last name of Gay and I am anxious to try and research the name to see if he is the same person I was told attended N.C. confederate troops as a physician. One thing frequently leads to another.

I plan to write several articles about UNC items that have been sent to me recently. A fellow UNC grad here in Richmond said he thought I ought to establish a UNC museum. That may be a little too ambitious, but I do enjoy receiving these items and I may ask the University if they are interested in having any of them when my collection is dispersed.

UNC trivia:

Did you know that at the time of the Civil War, UNC was the second largest university in the country? Only Yale exceeded UNC in the number of students enrolled. When I graduated in 1958, UNC had approximately 7,000 students and many of us thought it was too big. Today, the University has approximately 23,000 students and I wonder what the current students think about the size of the institution.