UNC Asheville Celebrates Founders Day with 90th Anniversary Celebration Sept. 12

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Scene of scooping ice cream at UNC Asheville's Founder's Day

UPDATED SEPT. 10 - Due to Hurricane Irma, the celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12 has been moved indoors to the Highsmith Union Grotto. The David Brooks keynote lecture has been postponed until Oct. 12. For details on tickets to that lecture, see https://events.unca.edu/event/david-brooks

UNC Asheville, North Carolina’s designated public liberal arts university, celebrates 90 years in 2017-18, and the events continue in September with Founders Day, an annual recognition of UNC Asheville founders and the many university supporters throughout the years. Students, staff, faculty and friends of the university are invited to the Quad from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 to take part in the festivities, which will include a photo booth, themed to capture the present moment with a throwback to the past. The mid-day event is free and open to everyone.

Founders Day at UNC Asheville commemorates the first day of classes of then Buncombe County Junior College on September 12, 1927. Eighty-five students enrolled at Buncombe County Junior College for its opening day. At the time, the college was the first in the state to be operated by a county, and tuition was free. It was located at Historic Biltmore School, as it is known today, at 4 Vanderbilt Park Drive in Asheville, which was also built in 1927.

Buncombe County Junior College, the predecessor of UNC Asheville, started as a two-year junior college following the work of A.C. Reynolds, then the superintendent of Buncombe County Schools, and T.M. Howerton, L.D. Maney and D.S. Roberts of the Biltmore School Committee. These founders initiated discussions that led to a mass meeting on the feasibility of the school on July 11, 1927. The idea received a good reception at the meeting, followed by coverage in the July 12, 1927 Asheville Citizen, now part of the Asheville Citizen-Times. UNC Asheville celebrated these important days earlier in the summer. Read more at http://news.unca.edu/articles/unc-asheville-celebrates-90-years-2017-18.

Founders Day celebrations at UNC Asheville started 1997, when the university also dedicated Founders Hall in honor of the predecessor institutions that helped build a distinctive educational institution for Asheville and North Carolina. The 2008 celebration included the dedication of A.C. Reynolds Green in honor of the university founder. 

Previous Founders Day celebrations have included keynote speakers such as Anderson Cooper in 2004 and the unveiling of a new ice cream flavor from The Hop in 2015. The alumni-owned business created Espresso No. 7 in honor of UNC Asheville’s seventh Chancellor Mary K. Grant. The Hop will be on the Quad for the 2017 celebration, scooping up ice cream to top the cupcakes and apple treats that are also on the menu.

New York Times columnist David Brooks, a leading analyst of American culture and politics, will be the keynote lecture for UNC Asheville’s 2017 Founders Day. The sold-out public lecture begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, in Kimmel Arena on campus, and is supported by The David and Lin Brown Visionary Lecture Series and The Van Winkle Law Firm Public Policy Lectures.

Students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends are encouraged to join the celebration on social media and share their stories using the hashtag #UNCAVL90years. Social media posts and photos may be featured on the anniversary website, 90years.unca.edu