Day 6: Return to Fayetteville

The first stop in Fayetteville was at Fayetteville State University. James Anderson is one of the three first-year chancellors (along with me and Linda Brady of UNC-Greensboro), so we had lots to talk about. Sounds like he is settling in well at FSU and really understands the university. He seems to have figured out as much about Fayetteville in a few months than I have in my whole life.

Dr. Anderson has written a book, “Driving Change through Diversity and Globalization,” as a means to produce change in higher education. He gave me a copy, which I’m going to read on my next trip. It was great to talk about these topics with him, given all that we have going on at Carolina around diversity, globalization and identity.

Chief Tom Bridgers adjusts the uniform of Air Force Junior ROTC Cadet Julia Bryant as they waited to officially welcome me to Terry Sanford High School.

Chief Tom Bridgers and ROTC students, including Air Force Junior ROTC Cadet Julia Bryant, officially welcomed me to Terry Sanford High School.

The next stop was my alma mater, Terry Sanford High School. My name was on the marquee outside, and the ROTC students were waiting for our car when we arrived. Principal Diane Antolak took me on a tour of the school. Things had changed a bit, but a lot of it was just like it was in 1982. She had only been there three years, so she didn’t know where my chemistry class had been, but I was able to take her to the right room. I know it was the right place, because I went back in the storage area and saw a spot on the floor where I had spilled nitric acid.

Check out these videos that show some of what happened when I met with about 400 students in their Global Studies program. I talked about the value of attending a research university. I also gave out T-shirts to students who answered trivia questions about people who had gone to Terry Sanford and done things at Carolina.

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Principal Diane Antolak showed me how my alma mater has changed.

Principal Diane Antolak showed me how my alma mater has changed.

My friend Barbara Feemster made me smile when I arrived at Sanford High School.

My friend Barbara Feemster made me smile when I arrived at Sanford High School.

Steve Farmer was with me, and he eventually answered questions about admissions, but first people asked me things like “How do you become a chancellor?” and “Why did you want to be a dean?” Stuff like that. It was fun. Maybe one day they’ll let me come back and play in the talent show again.

My mother, Bo Thorp, listened as I talked with students.

My mother, Bo Thorp, listened as I talked with students.

We ended the tour with a General Alumni Association event at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. My mother founded the theater 48 years ago. It was good to be in a city where I was the second-most-famous Thorp. People said a lot of nice things about me, but when they mentioned my mother, everyone jumped to their feet immediately.

It was a great night. The mayor gave me the key to the city. My great friends and wonderful musicians – Joyner, Young, and Marie – were there to play. I’ve been playing music with Bill Joyner since I was in high school. I brought my bass, so they let me sit in for a few songs. We did “Chain of Fools” and “Margaritaville,” then we ended the event. Thankfully, the band waited around, so we played the Freddie King classic “Tore Down” before we came home.

Thanks to all of you who have given us positive feedback on the blog. Even though the tour is over, I’m not going to stop blogging, so stay tuned.


  1. 1

    Sorry I didn’t know you were on campus, Holden. And I had no idea you were a Terry Sanford alumnus. I graduated in 1969–probably before you were born! I think this blog is a great idea. I’ve suggested reading it to my own students as a means of encouraging them to write. Way to go, kiddo!

  2. 2

    Bo looks beautiful! My mom so enjoyed your appearance at the Fayetteville Regional Theatre. I have such fond memories of that theatre. And she called this morning to tell me about ride from Fayetteville and the Installation address (which I just watched online). I initially got the breakdown of what your mom wore and how stylish it all came together. I actually would like to think that I blazed the Terry Sanford/UNC trail for you.