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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Cornelia Phillips Spencer (1826-1908)

Republicans had obtained university funding under the federal Morrill Act of 1862. This money had been lost in a bond scandal, but supporters urged the legislature to make regular interest payments to the university to supply the school with $7,500 in annual operating funds. The General Assembly agreed to this proposal in the spring of 1875. Overjoyed by the news, Cornelia Phillips Spencer and a small group of friends entered South Building and tolled the college bell in celebration. The University of North Carolina reopened the following September, and Kemp P. Battle became its new president in 1876.