My Favorite Tar Heel

In Carolina's history, there have been famous Tar Heels – leaders, pioneers, and prize winners – but who are the favorite Tar Heels?

When we asked students, their answers revealed the values they admire, the people they hope to become, and the power of Carolina connections. Meet Veronica’s role model, Preston and Dain’s professors, Katie’s mom, Hunter’s roommate, and Mikayah’s inspiration.

Professor Heather Knorr

“Heather’s Spanish class was the first class I ever took at UNC. She’s someone who brings a lot of positive energy, who works really hard for her students and cares about supporting them. One day we were having a conversation about Mexican food. I’d lived in Phoenix for a long time, and so we’re talking about very specific types of dishes and cuisine, and I just could tell that she’s definitely traveled, and done a lot of research, and knows so much beyond the textbook.”

Preston terleski, UNC ’23

seattle, washington

Michael Jordan

“My family and I have always admired his passion, hard work, and determination. And now I get to say that we are both Tar Heels!”

veronica fonseca castro, UNC ’23

mexico city, mexico
UNC student Katie Billings and her mom

My Mom

“The funny part is, my mom never went to Carolina, but she’s been a pediatric nurse at UNC Hospitals for 30 years. Despite working one of the hardest jobs out there, she never misses a beat. She has taught me what it looks like to be a true sports fan, to carry enthusiasm in everything I do, and to always find the silver lining in hard situations .”

Katie Billings, UNC ’22

Chapel Hill, NC

Mira, My Roommate

“We were best friends in high school and that has continued here in Chapel Hill. We do everything together, from going to basketball games to eating on Franklin Street, to taking road trips. She has played a huge role in my becoming the person I am today and embodies what it means to be a Tar Heel – excelling in the classroom and in everything she does!”

hunter edkins, UNC ’22

lumberton, NC

Genevieve Lowry Cole

“She was the first Native American woman to graduate from UNC in 1954 with a degree in medical technology. She was a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, just like I am, and the embodiment of overcoming barriers that were in place to hold her back. She was first and pave the way for so many more!”

Mikayah Oxendine, UNC ’23

Maxton, NC

Professor Al Duncan

“I had a class with Dr. Duncan my freshman year called History of Roman and Greek Athletics. I’m a sports fanatic and not only was the class interesting, but Dr. Duncan made it so much fun. He came in with so much energy and made a point to get to know everyone and learn about the things that made us unique. He helped welcome me into the Tar Heel family and made me feel at home in Chapel Hill.”

Dain Ruiz, UNC ’24

cary, NC

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