Macy Building honors legacy of French professor

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Macy Building was one of the first two facilities constructed on the UNC Charlotte campus. It was named for Pierre Macy, professor of French and chair of the-then Foreign Language Department. The 18,000-square-foot research and instructional facility was constructed concurrently with the Kennedy Building by Odell Associates in 1961 at a cost of $418,000.

Macy was born in France in 1899 and received degrees from the University of Nancy, the University of Dijon and the University of Paris before making the United States his adopted home.

The noted author and translator arrived at Charlotte College in 1949 and almost single-handedly established and maintained the fledgling college’s Foreign Language Department (now the Department of Languages and Culture Studies). Before joining the faculty of Charlotte College, Macy was chair of the Romance Language departments at Kentucky Wesleyan College, the University of Tulsa and the College of William and Mary. He returned to his alma mater, the University of Nancy, for one year as a visiting professor.

An integral faculty member of the college, Macy served on the curriculum committee, chaired the concerts and lectures committee, advised the French Club and later served on the University’s executive committee.

Students held Macy in such high regard that the 10th edition of the yearbook was dedicated to him in 1960 “for his deep understanding, patient guidance and personal interest in the students of Charlotte College. He has inspired us to greater achievements through his teaching and counseling, and he will be fondly remembered in our memories of Charlotte College.”

Macy served as the first commencement marshal for the newly established University. His dedication to UNC Charlotte went well beyond any specific position he held. He taught French three years after relinquishing the department chairmanship and stayed on the faculty two years after he reached retirement age.

At his 1969 retirement, he received the rare honor of being named a faculty emeritus from his colleagues. “The Foreign Language Department, carefully constructed by Dr. Macy over the years was clearly one of the solid blocks of the foundation of the new institution,” read the tribute. He is further remembered today with the Pierre Macy Award for Excellence in French.