Action-packed. Whirlwind. Roller coaster. These are just a few words that come to mind when I reflect over the past few weeks since my last "Fast Five" update. So let me jump right in...
- My last update said we would be "moving forward at an accelerated pace" with our search for a new Athletic Director. That turned out to be quite an understatement. Within a period of three weeks, we held initial meetings with our search consultant, vetted a large number of candidates, brought several to Charlotte for interviews, brought two finalists to campus to meet with approximately 45 internal and external stakeholders, made an offer to our top choice, Mike Hill, finalized a contract, and introduced him to the media. Mike officially assumes his new duties this week! Thanks to everyone who worked to make a successful search possible in a very short time, and to those who carved time out of their schedules to meet with the candidates. Judy Rose will spend the final months of her 43-year Charlotte 49ers career in a new role of Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics, where she will be able to continue with her NCAA work and help make introductions and connections for Mike with many of our key constituents.
- Over the last couple of weeks, we have said a final farewell to some giants in UNC Charlotte's history. Emeritus faculty member Tom Turner, whose generosity toward the Exponential Campaign led to the naming of the School of Accountancy in his honor, passed away on Feb. 21 at the age of 88. A few short days later, longtime UNC Charlotte friend and supporter, Irwin "Ike" Belk, passed away at the age of 95. Ike was instrumental in introducing the legislation that resulted in UNC Charlotte becoming the fourth campus of the UNC system in 1965. Over the years, he generously transformed our campus with his philanthropy that included a large number of professorships and chairs, scholarship funds for students, and more than 25 sculptures.
- It’s official -- Light Rail is here! We celebrated with a rainy-day ribbon cutting last week, and the train rolls in for the first day of service to the public on Friday, March 16. Be a part of the festivities at 9:30 that morning at the UNC Charlotte Main Station, where you'll find snacks, free T-shirts, and all sorts of goodies ... and catch the very first train at 10:00. When you arrive at the 9th Street Station, more fun, food, DJ, and prizes await. Register here. And be sure to visit the Light Rail website for helpful information about using this awesome new resource.
- Lisa and I are excited to be heading to Israel in just a few days with a group of donors and friends led by Professors James Tabor and Shimon Gibson for a tour of the Holy Land and a firsthand view of the University's Mount Zion archaeological dig. UNC Charlotte is the only American university currently allowed to perform such excavation projects in the city of Jerusalem.
- Students returning from a well-deserved Spring Break should be pleased to learn that the brand new "Niner Central" Student Services Center is open for business. This one-stop shop, located at the front entrance of the Cone Center, provides a single location for students to go for services related to registration, transcripts, financial aid, student accounts, billing and tuition, academic calendars, and more. I hope you will find this resource to be extremely helpful and convenient in taking care of your school-related business.
Phil Dubois, Chancellor