It could have been a doorknob

“That plate is the most precious artifact that UNC has because it’s a direct link to the founding moment of the University. It’s an artifact that goes to the very beginning, and it’s the centerpiece at the founding moment.” -Speed Hallman ’82

Every year Carolina celebrates the historic laying of the Old East cornerstone as a symbol of the birth of the nation’s first public university.

But for decades, the centerpiece of that ceremony more than 200 years ago—a brass plate commemorating the occasion—wasn’t even in Chapel Hill, but 500 miles away as scrap metal waiting to be melted down in a foundry in Clarksville, Tennessee. Because of the dedication of a few alumni, the plate returned to Chapel Hill and was presented to Edward Kidder Graham at UNC’s 123rd University Day.

Read the complete Carolina Story…

This is story number 64 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

Related Stories


Steering toward Sustainability

Exploring Rural Education

A Student’s Guide to Well-Being