north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

ID:

Marker Text:

Essay:
     North Carolina’s Constitution of 1776 directed the establishment of “one or more universities” to be supported by state funds so that education could be provided to citizens at the lowest "practicable" cost. Due to the Revolutionary War and the financial burdens that the state incurred as a result, the legislature was reluctant to approve a bill for a university. Under the direction of William R. Davie of Halifax, the University of North Carolina was chartered by the legislature in 1789. A site in rural Orange County was selected for the university in late 1792. A group of Orange County farmers had previously donated funds and a parcel of 1,290 acres of land which included a prominence known as New Hope Chapel Hill, for the Church of England chapel that stood there.

     The cornerstone for the University’s first building was laid on October 12, 1793. Since Davie was the grand master of North Carolina’s Masons, the ceremony was conducted according to standard Masonic rites. The two-story brick building, now known as Old East, served as both dormitory and classroom. It opened on January 15, 1795 and the first student, Hinton James, arrived from New Hanover County on February 12. Two weeks passed before his fellow students reached the new campus. By March 1795 there were two professors and forty-one students at the University of North Carolina.


References:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill website:
http://www.unc.edu/about/history.html
William S. Powell, The First State University: A Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina (1972)
William S. Powell, “The Founding of the University of North Carolina,” Carolina Alumni Review (Winter 1993), pp. 16-25
William D. Snider, Light on the Hill: A History of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1992)
Kemp P. Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, I and II (1907 and 1912)

Location: County:

Original Date Cast:

 

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north carolina highway historical marker program


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