It has been an eventful few weeks since my last update, so allow me to hit a few highlights:
- A brush with Hurricane Florence caused some minor disruptions on campus, and our faculty, staff, and students were off for a few days longer than expected as a result of the storm’s shifting path. Fortunately, damage to our campus was very minor, and our thoughts are with our sister universities to the east that weren't as lucky. Thanks to all of you who have provided financial or hands-on assistance to those hard-hit areas. I'm pleased that the UNC System Office has authorized an additional 16 hours of community service leave that will allow our employees extra time to support ongoing storm relief and recovery efforts.
- A good portion of my time has been spent representing UNC Charlotte and the UNC System in two major initiatives. First, I am serving as the chancellor representative on a North Carolina Legislative Commission tasked with a deep dive study of intercollegiate athletics in North Carolina. I testified before the commission last week and will have similar opportunities in the coming weeks and months to share information with them about how the UNC System - and UNC Charlotte in particular - ensures that we are in compliance with NCAA rules and that our student-athletes are well cared for.
- The second extra project that occupies much of my time these days is heading up a UNC System Office task force studying student financial aid. This is another topic that is close to my heart, especially since a large majority of our student population receives some sort of financial aid. I'm not sure how I got so lucky to be tapped for these assignments, but I'll keep you posted as we progress through both of these important initiatives.
- We're coming up on Homecoming Weekend and looking forward to the festivities, including the football game against Western Kentucky University at 3:30 p.m., Saturday afternoon (Oct. 13). I hope to see many of you there to support the 49ers.
- Looking ahead a bit further, the Chancellor's Speaker Series is coming up on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Our keynote speaker, internationally renowned futurist, theoretical physicist, and author Michio Kaku, will share his predictions of how science will revolutionize the economy, jobs, medicine, and space travel over the next two decades. It promises to be a profoundly interesting discussion. Dr. Kaku will speak to students, faculty, and staff in the Popp Martin Student Union Multipurpose Room at 2 p.m. I encourage you to attend and prepare to have your mind boggled.