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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990. Interview L-0037. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Education, friendships, and dating at UNC-G and UNC-CH

Aycock discusses her education. After spending one year at Duke University, Aycock transferred to University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she finished her college education during the late 1930s. Aycock describes her mentors at UNC-G, her friendships with other students, and how the women students socialized with young men at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Grace Aycock, March 28, 1990. Interview L-0037. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

FRANCES A. WEAVER:
You entered college in 1936?
GRACE AYCOCK:
In the fall of 1935.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
1935, yes, you entered Duke.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was fifteen years old.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Oh my goodness. How does that happen, fifteen? How did that happen, Grace? I stopped the tape at that moment that you entered college at age fifteen.
GRACE AYCOCK:
It happened because I had skipped the third grade.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
That was a technique used in the schools in those days.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right. Many children, well, I should not say "many," some children. I had a sister who also skipped a grade. I stayed in the second grade one month and was then sent to the third grade.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
North Carolina public schools had eleven years in those days.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Eleven grades.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So that you entered Duke at fifteen. That's rather daunting to think about.
GRACE AYCOCK:
I was sixteen shortly thereafter.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Then after one at Duke where did you go?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I transferred for financial reasons to what is now UNC-G. At that time, it was the Woman's College of the University.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you were at Woman's College for three years?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What was your major there?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I had a BS degree in secretarial administration.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you were thinking of that in terms of career.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Right. I knew I must go to work.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
How about your other siblings. Did they also go to college?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes. My mother and father nearly always had two children in college and sometimes three.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did they go to the state institutions, most of them?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Two of my sisters were at Duke. Other than that, we were at North Carolina State, the Woman's College of the University, and East Carolina.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Do you remember any teachers at Woman's College? Does anybody stand out in your mind when you think about it?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Several. Miss Louise Alexander.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
What did she teach?
GRACE AYCOCK:
She taught "The Family," a course in marriage and the family. It was an elective, but she was a very good teacher.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
And who else?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Miss Bernice Draper, who was our class advisor. I did not have a course under her, but I did get to know her. And Miss Harriet Elliot, who was the Dean of Women.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I've heard of her, yes.
GRACE AYCOCK:
And Dr. Keister, K-E-I-S-T-E-R, taught economics. Mr. Claude Teague, who later became the Business Manager here, taught me business law.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Did he really? I didn't know that.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes. Of course, you studied economics, business law, accounting, and learned to run a number of machines.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
So you were really prepared to go out into the world as a professional woman when you graduated.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, a secretary.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
How would you characterize that experience at the Woman's College? Did you enjoy it? Was it fun?
GRACE AYCOCK:
I did enjoy it. I was affected by the fact that I was there three years rather than four.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
In what way?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Most of the friendships had been made before I arrived. I felt strange for a while, but people were nice to me, classmates and dormitory mates, so that I became at home.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
I know, from hearing Fred talk about it, that there was a considerable bit of, what people laugh at now, dating. Woman's College people dated people on the campus at Chapel Hill. Did you do any of that? Did you come over?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I did. I came to Chapel Hill for many dances.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Even when I was here, buses would come over from Greensboro. Did you do that when you came over?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I did, for football games. I rode the bus over here in the morning and back that night.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
But you also had male dates here, and you would come over to see them specially.
GRACE AYCOCK:
Oh yes. You had a date when you arrived who met the bus.
FRANCES A. WEAVER:
Do you have any carry-over friends from those days, people who you still see?
GRACE AYCOCK:
Yes, I do.