YOURS AT CAl}OLINA
New years ago, I shared a story that lately has been on my mind: Mter saying his prayers one night, our older on once asked, "What will it be like when I'm living
in a dorm at Carolina?" I was startled. Thinking quickly, I
responded"Michael, there are many great colleges and univer-
sities, and you might choose one of those." Michael must have
believed me because many
years later, he waited until the
week before the deadline to
declare, "We won't need
another bumper sticker for
the car. I've decided to go to
Two years later, Michael's
younger brother didn't hesitate and quickly accepted
Carolina's invitation to enroll.
As readers might expect, the
student experiences of Brian
Dibbert '05 and Michael Dibbert '03 greatly enhanced my
understanding of and appreciation for Carolina.
As a leading public research university, Carolina remains
uniquely committed to undergraduate education. The special
relationship between the people of North Carolina and the
nation's first state university remains strong. The pride shared by
former Carolina students continues and convinces alumni that
we each attended Carolina at exactly the most perfect time.
When the time came to move each of our sons into their
residence halls, it becanle clear that during the intervening
30-plus years since I moved into Alexander Dormitory, stu-
dents came to expect and were permitted to bring much
with them. I brought a single footlocker and some clothes. In
fall 1966, I didn't know anything about microwaves, laptops,
DVDs or cell phones. I wasn't allowed to have a toaster or
refrigerator, and the only television was in the dorm basement. (Women still had to sign in and out of their residence
halls, and all dorms were single sex.)
Having been three-sport athletes in middle and upper
schools, each of our sons developed his earliest Carolina
relationships with teanmutes - Michael as a member and later
president of the crew team and Brian as a walk-on member
of the varsity lacrosse teanl. Each found a major well suited
to his interests - Michael in history and Brian in sports
marketing within the School ofJournalism and Mass
Communication. Each benefited from the needed advice and
council ofseveral faculty members, and Brian especially
enjoyed and benefited from his internship in sports marketing
in the department ofathletics.
Just as the assassinations of Martin Luther KingJr. and
Robert Kennedy, the Vietnam War protests and the food
workers' strike captured the attention of the Carolina campus
Carolina sons Michael '03 and Brian '05
with parents at the 2005 men's Final Four.
May / ] u n e 2006
when I was here, Brian and Michael sought comfort from
each other following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 200l.
Always each other's best friend, during the two years they
overlapped at Carolina they enjoyed attending Carolina foot-
ball games together and welcomed the opportunities to sit
with mom and dad at Carolina men's home basketball games.
Brian was especially pleased that as a Carolina senior he was
present in St. Louis (with his parents and brother) when the
Carolina men won the NCAA national chanlpionship just as
he and his family were in Richmond,Va., in 1994 when the
Carolina women won the NCAA national chanlpionship.
During the six years that one or both sons were Carolina
students, I would sometimes walk across the campus hoping I
might catch a glin1pse of one of them. And when my wife
assumed her fundraising responsibilities at the Lineberger
Comprehensive Cancer Center in Michael's senior year, we
were pleased that all the fanlliy was on campus.
Now that Michael and Brian are Carolina alumni, I
remain grateful for the education they received and the
education our sons imparted to me about Carolina while they
were UNC students. While encouraging students to take per-
sonal responsibility for their education, Carolina remains a
nurturing environment. There is intimacy despite our growing size. Much vital learning continues outside the classroom.
The beauty of our canlpus is treasured and respected, and
faculty, students and staff easily and comfortably collaborate.
Carolina sports are important not only because of their
rel11arkable record of success but because of the pride taken
in doing things "the Carolina way" and because sports add so
much to our sense of community. And long after the specifics
of a particular course are forgotten, what will remain vivid
are the special friendships that developed with faculty and
fellow Carolina students.
I am pleased that upon arriving in Memphis, where he
teaches U.S. history in middle school and coaches the boys' basketball and track teams, Michael quickly connected with the
local Carolina Club. Similarly, while interning as a ticket repre-
sentative with the Chicago Bulls, Brian worked with the
Chicago Carolina Club to arrange for Carolina alumni to
attend a Charlotte Bobcats vs. Chicago Bulls ganle. It l1UY be
only a matter of time before he does something similar in his
new job with the Chicago Fire soccer team.
Regardless of where they are living and working, it is
clear that they are forever Carolina sons.
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ' 70