Local News

UNC Graduation is Joyous, But Marred by Memories

Posted May 12, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— It was a day thousands of students had worked long and hard for. On graduation day at UNC-CH Sunday, a sea of blue filled the stands Kenan Stadium to honor nearly 9,000 graduates.

The turning of the tassels was marked by a commencement speech from President Clinton's highest-ranking assistant, North Carolina's Erskine Bowles.

But four of the seniors who should have marched in this year's graduation ceremony were noticeably missing. They were among the five UNC-CH students who died in last year's tragic graduation day fire.

Chancellor Michael Hooker, in his address to the graduates, called for a moment of silence in remembrance of the four.

Sunday, friends and family members passed by the Phi Delta Gamma house where the fire occurred last year to say goodbye and to remember the students.

As part of their gift to the university, the senior class collected $30,000 to rebuild a section of Coker Arboretum.