Gladys Hall Coates University History Lecture Series

UNC historical image

In 2004, the North Carolina Collection hosted the inaugural lecture in the Gladys Hall Coates University History Lecture Series. The series features experts speaking on topics related to the history of the University of North Carolina. Archived lectures from previous years are available in PDF format.

The lectures


“The Hidden Campus: Archaeological Glimpses of UNC in the Nineteenth Century” (PDF) by Stephen Davis, Associate Director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

R.P. Stephen Davis, Jr. is a Research Archaeologist and Associate Director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked at UNC since 1983.

Davis received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from UNC (1974), an MA in archaeology from the University of Calgary (1976), and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Tennessee (1986). He is editor of North Carolina Archaeology, and he has served as editor of the scholarly journal Southeastern Archaeology, as chairman of the North Carolina Archaeological Council, and on several other professional boards and committees.

Davis’s archaeological research interests focus on the impact of European colonization upon native people of the Carolina Piedmont and the greater American South. He also has participated in numerous investigations of historic archaeological sites on the UNC campus.


“A Model for Folk Theatre: The Carolina Playmakers” (PDF) by Cecelia Moore, Special Assistant to the Chancellor and University Historian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cecelia Moore is Special Assistant to the Chancellor and University Historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In this role, she prepares briefing materials and speeches, and advises the Chancellor and senior administrators on university history and related issues. A resident of North Carolina for more than twenty years, Moore was drawn to research on the Carolina Playmakers through her background in theater and her interest in history.

She holds a BA in Theatre from Barry University in Miami, Florida, and worked as a production assistant and lighting technician before turning to the more stable career of university development. Her first job at UNC was development director for PlayMakers Repertory Company, which provided her with the opportunity to explore the rich history of drama at Carolina. She pursued this interest through further studies. Moore earned an MA in Public History at North Carolina State University and a PhD in History at UNC.


“The Rise and Fall of the North Carolina Speaker Ban Law” (PDF) by Robert W. Spearman, UNC Student Body President, 1964-1965.

Robert W. Spearman entered UNC-Chapel Hill on a Morehead Scholarship in fall 1961. While at UNC he held several student government positions, including student body president from 1964 to 1965. As student body president, Spearman spoke out against the Speaker Ban. He testified before the Britt Commission, a legislative group considering changes to the law, on September 8, 1965. Spearman also was president of Phi Beta Kappa. He earned an A.B. with highest honors from UNC in 1965 and was inducted into several honorary organizations, including the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Spearman spent two years as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in England before beginning law studies at Yale University. After graduating from Yale in 1970, he served as a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. Upon completion of his clerkship, Spearman returned to North Carolina to practice law. He retired as a partner with Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein in 2010.


“Lux Libertas in Perpetuity: Historic Preservation at UNC” (PDF) by Wendy Hillis, Campus Historic Preservation Architect, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Wendy Hillis is the Campus Historic Preservation Architect at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.She holds a MBA from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Masters Degree in Architecture with a Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia. She has worked in varied capacities on the documentation, stabilization and renovation of historic resources throughout the United States and Europe.

In 2007 Hillis was the recipient of the Richard Morris Hunt Fellowship, a professional honor, bestowed by the American Architectural Foundation (AAF) and the French Heritage Society, for which one American architect is selected every two years to spend 6 months working with restoration architects and professionals throughout France. She also worked as an historic resource consultant for FEMA in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.


“‘And They Talked. Always They Talked:’ 215 Years of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies” (PDF) by Kevin Cherry, Senior Program Officer, Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Kevin Cherry is Senior Program Officer at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. At IMLS, he helps coordinate a grant program that seeks to support the development of the nation’s library and archives workforce. A special collections and manuscripts librarian by education and training, Cherry has worked in public, community college, and research libraries, as well as the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources’ State Library.

He holds a a BS (Biology, 1988), MA (History, 1993), MSLS (1995), and a PhD (2010), all from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While an undergraduate at Carolina, he served as President of the Joint Senate of the Dialectic and Philanthropic societies.For service to his alma mater, he has been tapped into the Order of the Old Well, the Frank Porter Graham Graduate Honorary Society, and the Order of the Golden Fleece. He is a native of Denver, NC, and lives in Washington, DC.


“The Origins of Journalism Education at UNC-Chapel Hill” (PDF) by Thomas A. Bowers, Professor Emeritus, School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Tom Bowers served on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 1971 to 2006. He was associate dean and senior associate dean beginning in 1979 and interim dean from 2005 to 2006. He has been honored with the University’s John L. Sanders Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Service and the David L. Brinkley Teaching Excellence Award in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. A native of Indiana, he earned three degrees from Indiana University. His book, Making News: One Hundred Years of Journalism and Mass Communication at Carolina, was recently published by the School and is distributed by UNC Press.


“William Richardson Davie and the University of the People: Ironies and Paradoxes” (PDF) by Harry L. Watson, Professor, History Department, Director of the Center for the American South.

Harry L. Watson is a native of Greensboro, NC. He received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1971 and his doctorate in history from Northwestern in 1976. His teaching and research interests focus on the antebellum South, the early American republic, and the state of North Carolina. Watson joined the History Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976 and now holds the rank of professor.

He received the Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award at Carolina in 2002. Since 1999, he has served as Director of the UNC Center for the Study of the American South, and has co-edited the Center’s quarterly journal Southern Cultures since its inception in 1994. He currently serves on the North Carolina Historical Commission and advises the Secretary of Cultural Resources on state historical policies. He is a member of the Advisory Boards of the South Atlantic Regional Humanities Center; Research Laboratories in Archeology at UNC-CH; and Documenting the American South; while participating in the Distinguished Lecturer program of the Organization of American Historians.

Watson is the author of four books, including Liberty and Power: The Politics of Jacksonian America (1990 and 2nd revised edition, 2006) and Andrew Jackson vs. Henry Clay: Democracy and Development in Antebellum America (1997). With James L. Peacock and Carrie R. Matthews, he is co-editor of The American South in a Global World (2005) and he is currently working on a history of the United States, to be entitled The American Republic.


“What is a University? The Perspectives of UNC’s Antebellum Students” (PDF) by Erika Lindemann, Professor of English and Interim Chair of the Department of Romance Languages.

Erika Lindemann is Professor of English and Interim Chair of the Department of Romance Languages at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her B.A. from the University of Georgia, with honors in English, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in English. She joined the faculty at Chapel Hill as Associate Professor of English in 1980, after several years with the Department of English at the University of South Carolina, where she was Director of Freshman English. She was Director of Composition at Chapel Hill from 1980 to 1985, 1986 to 1990, 1995 to 1998, and 1999 to 2002. From 1991 to 1995, she served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

Books she has authored or edited include English Essays, Literary and Linguistic (Scholars Guild, 1975); A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers (Oxford, 1982, 1987, 1995, 2001); The Longman Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric (1987, 1988); An Introduction to Composition Studies (Oxford, 1991); and Profiles for Writing Programs in the Alliance for Undergraduate Education (Pennsylvania State University, 1993). She has also published extensively in journals and scholarly proceedings and lectured at numerous conferences and workshops.

She has received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the UNC Women’s Issues Network and Executive Branch of Student Government (1996); University Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instructions (2001); Association of English Graduate Students Award for Mentoring Students (2004); and Exemplar Award, Conference on College Composition and Communication (2005).


“What’s a University For? Reflections on Carolina’s History” (PDF) by James L. Leloudis II, Associate Dean for Honors and Associate Professor of History, and Director of the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence.

James L. Leloudis II is Associate Dean for Honors and serves as Director of the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a native or Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and a Carolina alumnus. He earned his B.A. in History with highest honors in 1977 and completed the PhD. in 1989. In the latter year, he joined the faculty of the History Department, where he teaches courses on higher education, North Carolina, and the contemporary South.

He is the recipient of an Undergraduate Students Teaching Award and the Ruth and Phillip Hettleman Award for Outstanding Scholarly Accomplishment by Young Faculty. His published works include Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World. (1987), and Schooling the New South: Pedagogy, Self, and Society in North Carolina, 1880-1920 (1996), both from the University of North Carolina Press. Professor Leloudis is currently working on two research projects, one on the War on Poverty in the South and the other on race, ethnicity, and education in the years since desegregation.

Gladys Hall Coates

A native of Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Gladys Hall Coates moved to Chapel Hill in 1928 after marrying Albert McKinley Coates (UNC Class of 1918). The couple immediately immersed themselves in the life of the University and community, he through his position as professor of law and she through civic and cultural organizations. In 1931, they established the Institute (now School) of Government, initially using their own funds to finance the Institute’s activities. Mr. Coates served as director until 1961, always crediting Mrs. Coates as the Institute’s indispensable “staff member without portfolio.” Today the School of Government serves as a model for other states as the oldest, largest, and most influential university-based public service organization in the United States.

During her seventy-four years in Chapel Hill, Gladys Coates not only assisted Albert in developing the directing the Institute of Government but also frequently conducted research on and wrote about various University-related topics. Her special interests included the history of women at the University; the Dialectic and Philanthropic societies, especially their portrait collections; and author and University alumnus Thomas Wolfe. In 1985, she and Mr. Coates coauthored the 435-page The Story of Student Government in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 2001, the University awarded Mrs. Coates, then age 99, an honorary doctor of laws degree. Her other honors included the William Richardson Davie Award, the Cornelia Phillips Spencer Bell Award, and the Distinguished Service Medal from the UNC-Chapel Hill General Alumni Association. In 1997, the University building at 223 East Franklin Street housed the Institute of Government was renamed the Albert and Gladys Coates Building. With the establishment of the Gladys Hall Coates Professor of Law and Government in the School of Government, the couple was the first to have separate endowed professorships named in their honor at the University. On 25 September 2002, thirteen years after her husband’s death, Gladys Coates died in Chapel Hill.