CHAPEL HILL, NC (WNCN) – On Friday, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz, honored two remarkable Tar Heels who are influential in the schools history.
The school dedicated two of its buildings to two minority individuals who came and paved the way for so many.
Henry Owl and Hortense McClinton were honored for their tremendous dedication to push forward during challenging times.
Owl was the first American Indian and person of color to enroll at the University as a graduate student in history in 1928. He received his masters of arts degree in 1929. He wrote his thesis on “The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Before and After Removal. Owl passed away at the age of 83 on March 3, 1980.
McClinton was the first Black faculty member to be hired at Carolina in 1966, and at 103 years young, the event was a moment of appreciation.
McClinton worked as a research supervisor and mentored students in UNC’s School of Social Work.
“I felt very honored, but I never expected it. But I’m very happy that it happened,” she said.
The families of the honorees are grateful for the impact their loved ones have made.
Owl’s Daughter, Gladys Cardiff, accepted a gift from the school and wants students to understand her fathers message.
“I want people to remember that it’s just not about his name on the building, but this whole program and what it stands for,” Cardiff said.
Students that attended the dedication, recognized the significance of the moment.
“Three out of 32 dorms on our campus, at that time, were named after women. I wanted to believe that at a campus that prides itself in diversity, inclusion and equity, that we would have more than just three,” a social work student said in her speech.
Sritha Chilumula, who’s a UNC sophomore, said living in the dormitory that’s being renamed after McClinton was an absolute honor.
“It feels amazing, firstly for it to be acknowledged, and for here name to be put up. And it’s just an honor to able to live in a building, which I guess, is now apart of history,” Chilumula said.
She also gave advice for students looking to major in social work.
“To do the work, do well, and try to remember that there are good people too. They’re human being just like everybody else. And you can do anything anybody else can do,” McClinton explained.
Students and faculty said the dedications are a great way of acknowledgement inclusion, diversity and equity.