CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — It's the end of an era for UNC-Chapel Hill student Daniel Wood.
Set to graduate from UNC with a degree in sport administration on Sunday, Wood will also be saying goodbye to his role as Rameses, the lauded school mascot.
A Huntersville, NC native, Wood stepped into the role of Rameses went he first arrived at UNC. He explained how he knew it was something he wanted for himself from the very beginning.
"I knew I wanted to be part of putting the character of Rameses together," he explained. "Since before college, I knew I wanted to be involved with that. And so my senior year of high school, I drove up to Chapel Hill and tried out as soon as I decided I was going to Carolina and since then it's been a great involvement. For me, it's been probably the thing that's kept me the busiest through college for certain."
During his time at UNC, Wood has seen it all. His departure as a student comes just after the Tar Heels went all the way to the 2022 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament
His impact is felt throughout the university and in the community. One of his aims is to take the culture of UNC outside of the Dean E. Smith Center for fans across North Carolina and beyond.
"We're more than just the athletic department, even though that is a huge part of what Rameses because we do things with the university as a whole North Carolina organizations because the Tar Heels mean something to people all over the state," he explained. "When this culture of North Carolina sports really takes off, when we're going on a crazy run in March Madness, it brings out the attention and we get to do cool things like this, but you got to be able to do it for those other moments. And that's what really drives you."
While Wood is stepping away from UNC as a student, his time with the Tar Heels is far from over. He's set to become the first-ever Mascot coach with UNC in the upcoming year.
Wood said he's excited to continue working and developing with the upcoming mascots in the future.
"The thing I want the standout the most is that you don't have to do this job for the recognition," he expressed. "When we recruit freshman mascots or young mascots, we have to make sure that you are in it for the right reasons that you want to be there just to make experiences happen at events that may have to people and so you have to do it for those big things."
While's he proud of the recognition, Wood said he's honored to have served and looks forward to what's in store for him as a graduate of UNC.
"It's a great day to be a Tar Heel, every single day and I've been extremely fortunate to be a huge part of that," he said. "And I'm always going to be grateful to Rameses because he's given me so many unique opportunities that I don't think you could ever match that."
UNC's Spring Commencement will be held Sunday, May 8 at 9 a.m. in Kenan Stadium. Watch the ceremony here.
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