SOE News

Peabody Room 104 to be dedicated to Gerald Unks

Forty-five years.

The Gerald Unks Lecture Hall will be dedicated at a reception on March 4. Unks, now retired, will attend and make brief remarks. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by Feb. 29 to Laurie Norman, laurie_norman@unc.edu or 919-843-6979.

That’s how long Gerald “Gerry” Unks lectured in Room 104 in Peabody Hall, schooling more than 22,000 students about the role of education in his popular “Education in American Society” course.

Now the room is about to get a name: The Gerald Unks Lecture Hall.

The dedication will be held on March 4, from 4:00p.m. to 5:30p.m.

Unks, now 79, retired in 2012.

Unks joined the Carolina faculty in 1967 after getting his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He taught high school social studies in Evanston, Ill., for six years before going to graduate school. Unks was known for his rollicking classes in which he engaged 140-plus students at a time in conversations about educational issues.

Unks received 13 teaching awards at Carolina, including four times receiving all-University teaching awards – the Tanner Award twice in 2002 and 2009, the Standard Oil Award in 1971, and the Amoco Award in 1977. He was presented by the senior class and the General Alumni Association the Favorite Professor Award in 1990 and 2008. He was also presented three times – in 1999, 2000 and 2011 – the Outstanding Faculty Award by the GAA, the Division of Student Affairs and the student body.

Unks is also known to many Carolina alumni for leading them on trips abroad. He took more than 2,000 students for month-long summer study trips to London, but also took students to China and to the Soviet Union.

An anonymous donor designated an estate gift several years ago to the Gerald Unks Undergraduate Travel Fellowship to support students seeking study abroad opportunities. The gift satisfies the requirements for the naming of this room and was approved by the University Naming Committee.