And just like that, another academic year comes to a close.
- Any "Fast Five" update coming out in mid-May has to lead off with Commencement. This past weekend, we celebrated the 4,600 newest UNC Charlotte alumni and their proud families and friends. This year we added to our Commencement activities a separate ceremony honoring the 76 students graduating with doctoral degrees. Our inaugural doctoral hooding ceremony was a great success and provided a meaningful opportunity for this group of graduates to be recognized for their remarkable achievements.
- Last week, I was pleased to present the University's 2018 Distinguished Service Award to Cathy Bessant. Cathy is the chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America. In addition to her many public service contributions, Cathy is a former member of our Board of Trustees and helped us with the development of a more comprehensive approach to ensuring institutional integrity through our audit, legal, risk management, and compliance operations. Her boss, Brian Moynihan, the Chairman and CEO of the Bank, was there as well to sing her praises.
- Coming up in early June, Lisa and I will be traveling with the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band to Normandy, France, where they have been invited to perform in multiple events commemorating the 74th anniversary of the World War II D-Day invasion. This is a tremendous honor for our young marching band, and I am thrilled to be able to witness their first international performance.
- Although I hope to get some personal vacation time this summer, we are also already planning for next year. Both our Board of Trustees and my Cabinet have planning retreats during this time to establish the agenda of work for the 2018-19 academic year. These discussions provide the framework for what I have to say in my fall State of the University address, which will be delivered at the University Convocation at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 16, in McKnight Hall in the Cone University Center. I hope you'll mark your calendar for that kickoff event for the fall semester.
- One of my off-campus obligations is to serve on the Division I Board of Directors for the NCAA. As you have undoubtedly read, the NCAA has now received the report of the Commission on College Basketball chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Although there certainly is no shortage of critics who are not satisfied with the Commission's recommendations, I personally support them and believe that the "collegiate model" of athletics is worth protecting. With only 1.2 percent of men's basketball players making it to the NBA, we should be able to develop a system that works for those elite players and ensures that more student-athletes complete the degrees that will shape their future prospects for employment and productive lives after graduation. As a member of the Board's executive committee, I will be working with my colleague presidents and chancellors to develop an implementation plan by August.
Hope you all have a wonderful summer. Relax, unwind, have a little fun, and enjoy some downtime with the folks who matter most to you. It's been a great year, and I'm looking forward to even better things ahead in the 2018-19 academic year. See you in the fall!
Phil Dubois, Chancellor