Left: Chancellor Leutze and Veronica McLaurin-Brown display Brunson House plaque at reception. Reception was held at Kenan House following the dedication of Brunson House.
14 years ago, Chancellor James Leutze dedicated UNCW’s Brunson House, 1700 Princess Street, in honor of Lawrence “Buck” and Hattie Brunson. The house, acquired from the Brunsons' granddaughter Mrs. Veronica McLaurin-Brown in a combination gift-sale, is the first and only university-owned building named for UNCW staff members (not faculty or administrators).
Right: Mr. Lawrence "Buck" Brunson
Buck and Hattie Brunson were housekeepers at Wilmington College when it was located in the Isaac Bear Building in downtown Wilmington. They moved with the college to the new campus on College Road in 1961. William Wagoner, president/chancellor from 1968-1990, noted how valuable the Brunsons were and that Mrs. Brunson was the first person to unlock the doors of the three new buildings when the campus opened.
Below: Brunson House exterior, UNCW rental properties. Photographed by UNCW / Laura Johnson in 2007.
The Brunsons witnessed many changes at UNCW. When they began working at Wilmington College, it was not yet integrated. Upon the move to College Road, the college was integrated and began accepting African American students.
According to Mrs. McLaurin-Brown, the Brunsons provided encouragement to all students, including African American students who attended UNCW. There were not many African American students on campus, and those who were there affectionately knew the Brunsons as "Daddy Buck" and "Mama Hattie." Mr. and Mrs. Brunson encouraged their granddaughter to attend UNCW. So proud was her grandfather that he insisted on standing in line with her to pay her first tuition bill.
The house, located a block from the Chancellor's official home (Kenan House), has had extensive renovations. It has been used to host UNCW guests such as visiting faculty.
Mrs. McLaurin-Brown earned her B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from Watson College of Education. Today she is a retired principal from the New Hanover County Schools.
Right: Mrs. Hattie Brunson
Resolution honoring the memory of Mrs. Hattie Brunson may be found in the Minutes of the Meeting of the UNCW Board of Trustees, October 11, 1979 and below:
WHEREAS, Mrs. Hattie Foxworth Brunson was a loyal and faithful employee
of Wilmington College and The University of North Carolina at Wilmington; and
WHEREAS, as a member of the staff of both institutions, Hattie Foxworth
Brunson was known and loved by faculty, staff and students alike; and
WHEREAS, Hattie Foxworth Brunson had been an employee of the State of
North Carolina for a total of thirty-one years and ten months; and
whereas, during her of service with the State, Hattie Foxworth
Brunson was a member of the staff of Wilmington College from 1947 to 1969,
and a member of the staff of The University of North Carolina at Wilmington
from July 1, 1969 until her retirement on June 30, 1978;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of The University
of North Carolina at Wilmington expresses its great sorrow in the passing of
Hattie Foxworth Brunson on Wednesday, October 3, 1979; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be communicated to
the widower and family of Hattie Foxworth Brunson.