Left: Chancellor Leutze and Veronica McLaurin-Brown display Brunson House plaque at a reception held at Kenan House following the dedication of Brunson House.
In 1999, Chancellor James Leutze dedicated UNCW’s Brunson House, 1700 Princess Street, in honor of Lawrence “Buck” and Hattie Brunson, longtime UNCW employees. The house, acquired from the Brunsons' granddaughter Mrs. Veronica McLaurin-Brown in a combination gift-sale, is the first and only university building named for staff.
Right: Mr. Lawrence "Buck" Brunson
Buck and Hattie Brunson began their association with the school when it was Wilmington College and located in the Isaac Bear Building on Market Street. The Brunsons 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, remarking that Mrs. Brunson was the first person to unlock the doors of the three new buildings when the campus opened. Mr. Brunson was director of buildings and grounds. He was responsible for supervising and hiring his staff. Mrs. Brunson was in the same department, working closely with leaders and administrators including William Randall in addition to Wagoner.
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 segregated. A year after the move to College Road, the college was desegregated and began admitting African American students.
According to Mrs. McLaurin-Brown, the Brunsons provided encouragement to 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 as a university-owned property.
Mrs. McLaurin-Brown earned her B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from Watson College of Education. She is a retired principal and educator living in New Hanover County.
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.