The UNC Alumni Association (now the General Alumni Association) was formed in May 1843 with thirty-one members, the oldest from the class of 1801. Its first president was North Carolina governor John Motley Morehead (1796—1866), UNC class of 1817. The alumni often gathered at commencement and participated in the ceremonies. One of the earliest projects of the association was the erection of a memorial to former UNC president Joseph Caldwell in 1847. Alumni also played an active role in lobbying for the reopening of the university in 1875 and in the celebration of UNC's centennial in 1889.
In 1922 the Alumni Association opened an office on campus and hired its first staff. One of the initial efforts of the new employees was the creation of an alumni directory, a major project listing every known graduate of the university. As the number of alumni increased, so too did the work and impact of the Alumni Association. The association began publishing the Alumni Review in 1912 and began to take a more prominent role in raising money for and promoting the university. After working from different locations around campus over the years, the association dedicated the George Watts Hill Alumni Center in 1993.
The work of the Alumni Association is visible around campus in Alumni Hall (dedicated in 1901) and in Alumni Distinguished Professorships (first available in 1960).
Date Established: 1843
Date Range: 1843 – Present