'They embody the values that define our university': UNC names buildings after two trailblazers

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- UNC Chapel Hill announced Friday, a residence hall and the student affairs office building will bear the names of two trailblazing Tar Heels: Hortense McClinton and Henry Owl.

Upon the recommendation of Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz, the University's Board of Trustees voted to honor McClinton and Owl by adding their names to two buildings whose names were removed in July 2020.

What used to be the Aycock Residence Hall will now be known as Hortense McClinton Residence Hall. The former Carr Building that contains the student affairs office will now be known as the Henry Owl Building.

This change comes as UNC works to create more inclusive names at the university.

"Hortense McClinton and Henry Owl were trailblazing pioneers who left an indelible legacy at Carolina. They embody the values that define our University, and naming these buildings after them marks an important step in building a campus community where everyone feels that they belong and can thrive," said Guskiewicz.

McClinton was the first Black professor hired at Carolina. She was hired into the UNC School of Social Work in 1966 and retired in 1984. She is now 103 years old and lives in Maryland.

Owl was the first Native American to enroll at UNC as a graduate student in 1928. A year after Owl graduated, Swain County used a literacy test to prevent Cherokees from voting.

Owl showed his master's thesis to the registrar as proof he could read, but county officials detained him anyway.

Following Friday's announcement, black metal signs with the new names will be installed in front of both buildings. New letters spelling out "McClinton" will be added to the residence hall as well, but the etching of "Henry Owl" into the stone over the entrance to the Student Affairs building will take longer.
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