Hinton James Residence Hall

Completed in time for the fall 1967 semester, Hinton James was (and remains) UNC—Chapel Hill's largest residence hall. Housing close to 1,000 students, "HoJo" continued the 1960s trend of building high-rise dorms on South Campus. The dorm was the first to house both women and men when, in the fall of 1969, UNC began "Project Hinton," an experiment in coed living, with women occupying the top two floors of the dorm. By the 1970s Hinton James housed more African American students than any other campus dorm, leading to accusations that the university was enabling student "self-segregation."

The building is named for UNC's first student, Hinton James. A native of what is now Pender County, James arrived at newly established University of North Carolina on February 12, 1795. For two weeks he was the only student. He lived in Old East (the only building on campus at the time) and studied alongside the few other students who found their way to Chapel Hill. He graduated in 1798, one of seven members of the university's first graduating class. James had a successful career as an engineer and later as a politician, serving in the state legislature and as the mayor of Wilmington. The legend of Hinton James looms large not just because he was the first student but because of the way he got to campus. James is said to have walked all the way from his home, a journey of around 140 miles. There is no documentary evidence to support the idea that James walked, and one early account suggested that he came on horseback. Whether true or not, the story of Hinton James's long walk began to emerge in the early twentieth century and is now a common campus legend.


Date Established: 1966

Date Range: 1966 – Present