Under the leadership of Charles M. Shaffer Jr. (B.A. ’64, J.D. ’67), Atlanta-area Carolina alumni created The Atlanta Distinguished Professorship in Southern Culture as part of their 1994 regional Bicentennial Campaign for Carolina.

Charles M. Shaffer Jr. was born in 1941 and grew up in Chapel Hill. At UNC-CH, Shaffer played on Dean Smith’s first UNC-CH basketball team and was co-captain of the basketball and tennis teams in 1963 and 1964. In 1964, he received the Frank Porter Graham Award for Outstanding Seniors.

In 1967, Shaffer joined the Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding. As partner, he specialized in commercial litigation, internal corporate investigations and special matters. He has also served as president of the Atlanta Bar Association. In 2003, he retired from King & Spaulding to become president and CEO of The Marcus Institute, an Atlanta-based resource center for children with developmental disabilities and severe and challenging behaviors.

A national co-chair of Carolina First, the University’s $2 billion capital campaign, Shaffer has also served as chairman of the Atlanta Sports Council, which attracted Super Bowl XXXIV to Atlanta for the year 2000. He also was one of the original Atlanta 9, the group that first conceived of bringing the Olympics to Atlanta. He was also instrumental in securing the 2007 NCAA Final Four for Atlanta.

The Atlanta Distinguished Professorship in Southern Culture salutes Carolina’s 200 years of leadership in Southern studies. In departments such as English, political science, history, anthropology, folklore, sociology and religious studies, UNC-CH faculty have excelled in the exploration of Southern life. Originally established as a three-year term professorship designed to rotate among mid-career College of Arts and Sciences faculty members, it was converted to a distinguished professorship in 2008.


Atlanta Distinguished Professors in Southern Culture

2001-2006: Joseph M. Flora

2003-2011: Theda Perdue

2012-Present: Harry Watson