CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Chapel Hill Transit is honoring the town’s first and only Black mayor by naming its transit headquarters after him and his wife.

The town council voted a couple of months ago to rename the facility the “Howard and Lillian Lee Transit Operations Center.”

Former mayor Howard Lee is responsible for bringing transit services to Chapel Hill when he was mayor and secured the first five buses from the City of Atlanta back in 1974.

Lillian is a prominent retired educator who worked with the UNC Hospital System and Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.

Mayor Lee said thank you to the many drivers over the years and the mayors who followed him for growing the transit system.

“There are so many others who deserve equal or more credit than we do for our being here to celebrate this wonderful bus system today,” said the former mayor.

Lillian Lee talked about how thankful they were to receive this honor while they are still alive, as it’s rare for the town to name facilities after living people.

“In my 86 years, I’ve had some good things happen to me but nothing makes me happier than what’s happening today,” Mrs. Lee said.

Town and community leaders were on hand for Monday’s event.

Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. David Price were not able to attend but wrote letters to the Lee family to congratulate them on the renaming.