Skip to main content

The Carolina community will celebrate its 217th birthday and history as the nation’s first public university during University Day on Oct. 12.

Innovation and entrepreneurship, the theme of this year’s University Day convocation, will be discussed by featured speaker Heather Munroe-Blum, a highly regarded innovator in higher education, Carolina alumna and the principal (a post equal to president) and vice-chancellor of McGill University in Montreal.

The free, public convocation will begin at 11 a.m. in Memorial Hall. Classes will be canceled from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Chancellor Holden Thorp will preside.

The day’s events include the official release of “Innovate@Carolina: Important Ideas for a Better World,” an ambitious plan to bring the power of innovation and entrepreneurship to bear on the world’s biggest problems. The University has raised more than $11 million for a new $125 million fundraising campaign supporting the plan.

The plan is a roadmap developed through nearly a year of deliberations by alumni and friends with extensive experience leading innovation in science, business, medicine, nonprofits and academia. Alumnus Lowry Caudill, co-founder of Magellan Laboratories Inc. and an adjunct faculty member, chaired the Innovation Circle, which also worked with a Faculty Innovation Working Group and Student Innovation Team. The roadmap was recently previewed for the University’s Board of Trustees.

A convocation highlight will be the presentation of Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus Awards, which recognize Tar Heels who have made outstanding contributions to humanity. This year’s recipients are James Larry Jameson III, M.D., Ph.D. of Chicago; Harry Louis Jones Sr. of Charlotte; Harry Corpening Martin of Asheville; Alane Salierno Mason of New York; and Charles Milton Shaffer Jr. of Atlanta.

In keeping with a tradition of celebrating campus milestones on University Day, Carolina also will dedicate Venable Hall and Murray Hall, which opened this fall in the second phase of the Carolina Physical Science Complex. That ceremony will be at 3:30 p.m. at the building, off South Columbia Street near South Road.