Virginia License Plate Anniversary
It's hard to believe that it has been a year since we in Virginia received our Virginia UNC License plates. It's also hard to believe that once people discover that I was heavily involved in securing the required number of pre-paid orders, how interested they are in the subject.
So, I decided two things. First, if Kelly Ripa, Cathy Lee Gifford's replacement on the Regis and Kelly show, can have an anniversary celebration for being on the show for 10 weeks, then we can have a celebration for having had our plates for 1 year and two, you might like to read what the Alumni Review wrote about our campaign to be recognized in the Commonwealth.
The following is an article by Asta Ytre which appeared in the May/June 2000 issue of the Carolina Alumni Review.
The story starts two years ago when Tom Kellen '73 (MA) wants a Virginia license plate with the logo of his alma mater. Kellen, who lives in Hampton, Va. contacts the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles to request one but soon realizes much more would need to be done to bring the same auto acknowledgment to UNC that the state of Virginia gives to universities such as Elon, Florida, Georgia Tech, The Citadel, Notre Dame and Duke.
" I began to notice license plates from Penn State and a lot of other fine schools." Kellen said. " With the number of ( Carolina ) alumni in this state, I thought now was the time to get our own."
Once Kellen got the project started, the baton was passed to Frank Gay '58 of Richmond. Like Kellen, he had noticed that several rival schools had their own license plate, and he wanted the same recognition for his school.
" There are 16 out- of- state universities that have Virginia license plates, but the one that got me was when Duke got one," he said." I decided to scoop up the ball and run with it."
To approve the license plate, the Virginia DMV required 350 prepaid orders, and a lot of paperwork had to be completed. Gay worked with a list of the nearly 10,000 alumni in Virginia and started an elimination process, sending letters only to those he found likely to want the plates. He initially mailed 1800 letters and spent more than $ 800 in postage. After getting 357 orders, Gay started a long process of communicating with the DMV as well as the Virginia General Assembly.
The result: UNC alumni in Virginia finally can drive with pride, as the two year long obstacle course to get a Carolina vanity license plate has paid off."
" When I started I thought it would take a few weeks," Gay said. " I stayed on it for 15 months."
But Gay said knowing that the UNC license plate would be seen across the state was well worth the effort. " Once the plates are issued, anyone can go in and order them," he said. The customized tag costs drivers an extra $10, in addition to the usual $25 fee.
Said Kellen, "It is all about seeing a license plate for alumni up here and letting people know we are around."
You better believe we are around and there are better days ahead in our two high profile sports, football and basketball. GO HEELS.