Monday Memo


Monday Memo is a regular column from the Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. You can sign up to receive this and other Orange County news in your inbox.

The current edition is posted below. Archives are available on the right.

Monday Memo: Dec. 6, 2021

UNC-CH honors McClinton and Owl

Hortense McClinton was the first African American professor and Henry Owl was the first Native American student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On Nov. 4, on the recommendation of Chancellor Guskiewicz, the Board of Trustees voted to name a residence hall in honor of Professor McClinton and the Student Affairs office building in honor of Mr. Owl.

Henry Owl (1896-1980) enrolled at the University as a graduate student in history in 1928. In its review, the nominating committee cited these achievements by Owl: 

  • authored a study of Cherokee history, told from a Cherokee perspective, that challenged the racist myths of white settler colonialism;
  • fought courageously for Cherokee Indians’ civil rights; and
  • served as an educator in Indian reservation schools and as a counselor to Indian veterans of World War II.

Hortense McClinton accepted an appointment with the UNC School of Social Work in 1966 and retired in 1984. At age 103, she now lives in Silver Spring, Md. The committee that nominated McClinton acknowledged that she "overcame the obstacles of a Jim Crow society and distinguished herself as a pioneer in desegregating the social work profession." Committee members also noted that she was "lauded nationally for teaching the knowledge and modeling the skills that prepare social workers to practice ‘without racial and cultural basis.'"

Mr. Owl and Professor McClinton were trailblazers, and they certainly deserve to be recognized for their impact on the university and Orange County and for their contributions to society as a whole. I have had the pleasure and honor to meet and chat with Mrs. McClinton on a few occasions. I would have loved the opportunity to sit and hear stories from Mr. Owl.

The naming of these buildings for McClinton and Owl is another step by the University to building a campus community that is welcoming to all. For more information, see the article in The Well.

Thank you, Dr. Mandy Cohen, and welcome Kody Kinsley

Mandy K. Cohen, M.D., Secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, will be stepping down from her position after five years of service to the people of North Carolina. She was appointed by Gov. Cooper in January 2017. She has directed the state’s response to COVID-19, serving as chief advisor and strategist to the governor regarding the pandemic.

I am extremely grateful to Dr. Cohen for her leadership during this crisis. With her professional knowledge, composure and compassion, she has guided us in keeping North Carolinians safe and well.

Gov. Cooper has appointed Kody Kinsley, currently Chief Deputy Secretary for Health at NCDHHS and lead for COVID operations, to succeed Dr. Cohen beginning Jan. 1. Kinsley has held positions at the White House, at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and has led operations for a behavioral health-care service provider in western North Carolina.


The 2022 Primary Elections will take place on Tuesday, March 8, with Early Voting starting on Feb. 17 and ending March 5. On Friday, a three-judge panel denied a request to block new legislative and Congressional maps, and to delay the primary. Elections will proceed as scheduled.

400 Elves & Light up the Night

Yes, elves decked out in green with accents of red white and gold. On Sunday at 4pm, approximately 400 elves of all ages ran down Churton Street to lead off the Light up the Night holiday parade. Families and friends lined the streets of downtown Hillsborough to see and hear marching bands, floats, fire trucks, and processions and displays spreading holiday cheer.

Earl McKee, Sally Greene and I joined in the fun, riding down the street and waving as we passed by groups of joyful onlookers. I rode in the back of a Jeep Gladiator Mojave, Sally sat on the back of a convertible sports car, and Earl stood in the back of a 1950 Chevrolet truck.

Many thanks and kudos to the Hillsborough Orange County Chamber of Commerce and all the sponsors--incuding Hillsborough Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram--on a fabulous event.