Write Again … We can take pride

Published 11:27 am Sunday, May 31, 2020

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Over the years, one constant for me has been my recognition of, and pride in, the institutions of higher learning in our state.

We are truly blessed to have so many very good schools, both within the UNC system, and our private ones as well.

This awareness has been even heightened as our grandchildren moved toward college enrollment. They live in New England, so their school peers — and their parents — became quite familiar with our colleges and universities.

Our grandson has just one year left at Auburn, and our older granddaughter has been accepted for enrollment this year at Clemson. The younger granddaughter has two more years in high school before college selection is finalized.

The college “quest” has allowed them to really explore many possibilities, and actually visit quite a few. I was even in on our grandson’s visits to schools here in our state, and Sally did this with the older granddaughter.

Now, here is the point in today’s piece that I could go into the costs of higher education. Let me not do that, and simply address the subject in just one word: insane.

The University of North Carolina, which I see as the flagship school in the entire system, is truly a nationally historic institution.

As you know, UNC was chartered in 1789, making it the nation’s first public university. Now, that’s uniquely significant.

Let me, also, share with you a historical tidbit gleaned about UNC from the book “Absolutely American,” by David Lipsky:

“Students were expelled for ‘firing pistols in the buildings’ and ‘throwing stones at the faculty,’ for breaking a ‘window-glass’ over a tutor’s head, for attempting to burn down a trustees’ house. In 1799, for a full week, students rioted; they went after the faculty. A professor testified, ‘They accosted Mr. Flinn with the intention of beating him, but were diverted from it, and at length uttered threats against Mr. Murphy and Mr. Caldwell . . . (they) waylaid and stoned Mr. Webb . . . they beat Mr. Gillaspie personally.’

“When the university’s president suggested an honor pledge to ‘suppress every species of irregularity,’ it sparked the Great Rebellion of 1805.”

Well, now. I certainly didn’t know that about UNC. (Have you ever noticed that some alumni always refer to their school as “Chapel Hill,” except in an athletic context, when it then becomes “Carolina?”

Also, many folks, especially non-alumni, like to fiercely identify with a school mainly because of sports. That’s okay. Or, as Archie Bunker might have said, “Whatever.”

More important, much more important, is that we all can take pride in having so many outstanding institutions of higher learning here in the Old North State.

Stay well.