Fire and Stone: The Making of the University of North Carolina under Presidents Edward Kidder Graham and Harry Woodburn Chase Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
  • Covington Jr., Howard E.
  • In June 1919 Harry Woodburn Chase was chosen to succeed Edward Kidder Graham as president of the University of North Carolina. The two were a study in contrasts. Graham was a southerner whose father had worn Confederate gray. Chase was a New Englander and suspected of being a Republican. Chase had advanced academic degrees, including an earned doctorate, while Graham’s title was honorific. Chase was quiet, almost shy, and he best expressed his thoughts in the written word. Graham was an accomplished writer but also a superb public speaker whose friends had a political career charted out for him until his death at 42 years of age, a victim of the 1918 influenza pandemic. The university trustees chose Chase to succeed Graham after two more highly favored candidates were disqualified at the last minute. A young man--Chase was 36 at the time--he wasn’t expected to stay in Chapel Hill all that long. He remained for a little more than a decade and in that time he oversaw the transformation of the institution and introduced it to a national audience. Chase built upon Graham’s ambitions for the university that its work extend beyond the campus to reach citizens all across the state. Graham first kindled this fire for a new mission among the undergraduates he met in his classroom in the decade before he became president in 1914. One of those acolytes was his younger cousin, Frank Porter Graham, who called him the greatest teacher he had ever known. Chase gathered his administration behind this spirit of service and moved the university into a new era. If one man had not followed the other, the university would have been a different place. Taken together, the presidencies of Graham and Chase turned a relatively small institution founded in the liberal arts into an institution worthy of its name, the University of North Carolina.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Book
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Coates University Leadership Series
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • 9781469651835
  • English