Influenza

The influenza pandemic that swept the world in 1918 and 1919 had a very visible effect in Chapel Hill, claiming two consecutive university presidents. Edward Kidder Graham, the popular young president who was leading the university's growth and transformation into a modern research university, died from complications from the flu in October 1918. His successor, Marvin Hendrix Stacy, died from influenza just a few months later. Other than the tragic loss of Graham and Stacy, UNC did not suffer great losses during the pandemic, with only a few students dying. Concerned about future outbreaks, in 1919 UNC hired its first physician, Dr. Eric Abernethy, and began the work of modernizing the university infirmary and sanitation practices on campus.