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February 2006
Opportunities to celebrate, engage abound
By Chancellor James Moeser The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for The Chapel Hill Herald

 

The volume and variety of activities on the Carolina campus never fails to impress me. On one recent evening, for example, a visiting opera company took the stage at Memorial Hall as the baseball team hosted Seton Hall at Boshamer Stadium and a local theatre troupe performed at Hanes Hall. In the coming week, public events include talks by author Joan Didion, New York Times columnist Frank Rich and noted children’s author Avi. Such events are the lifeblood of a great university and one of the advantages of living in a college town. I invite you to take full advantage of these opportunities.

Here are some recent milestones of note and suggestions about upcoming opportunities for you and your family to come to Carolina.

  • Dr. Bernadette Gray-Little, a 35-year veteran of our faculty, North Carolina native and a Chapel Hillian, will become our executive vice chancellor and provost July 1. She succeeds Dr. Robert Shelton, who will become president of the University of Arizona. Bernadette’s appointment had the unanimous approval of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, the vice chancellors, deans and the Board of Trustees. I have never known such unanimity or enthusiasm for an appointment, especially one as important as that of the chief academic officer. Bernadette is now dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

  • Two students gained the attention of USA Today earlier this month. December graduate and Rhodes Scholar Kate Harris of Georgetown in Ontario, Canada, earned All-USA College Academic First Team honors. Kate aspires to one day be an astronaut and begins her studies at Oxford in October. Chapel Hill’s own Janaka Lagoo, a senior economics and anthropology double major, was selected as an honorable mention. After her May graduation, Janaka plans to participate in Teach for America before pursuing a dual degree in medicine and public health.

  • Town and university staff members rallied in short order a week ago after engineers determined that roadway safety and a utility tunnel supplying much of the campus were threatened if Pittsboro Street remained open to traffic. Immediate closure was determined to be the safest action and that closure, between Cameron Avenue and McCauley Street, was executed even as fans began arriving for a basketball game. This block is expected to be closed for six to eight weeks as repairs are made. Many in our community have been inconvenienced by the closure and related detours – neighbors who live near Pittsboro Street and the Carolina Inn chief among them. We appreciate everyone’s continued patience and cooperation.
  • A new campaign to increase pedestrian safety and awareness on the campus is in effect, following a phased-in warning stage. Mid-month, campus police and public safety officers began issuing citations to people observed to be violating pedestrian safety laws. The $135 fine reflects a $25 penalty and $110 in state-mandated court costs. The possibility of saving lives and averting accidents on campus makes this effort more than worthy, especially with the fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents that stunned the campus and greater community in recent weeks.
  • Those of you with an affinity for the university may be interested to know that a new book – “Carolina: Photographs from the First State University” – will be available for purchase in mid-March at Student Stores, area booksellers and other locations. Published by the University of North Carolina Press, this book features campus moments and scenes captured by the lenses of University photographer Dan Sears and an assortment of aspiring student photographers. Beloved creative writing professor and novelist Doris Betts wrote the foreward.
  • The 2006 Carolina Jazz Festival comes to town this Wednesday through Saturday with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra and more. More than 300 high school students in 13 bands and seven combos will compete in the regional “Essentially Ellington” High School Jazz Festival component.
  • On Thursday, the university will host the first meeting of the new Carolina North Advisory Committee at 5 p.m. at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education. Interested residents are welcome to listen in as this new body begins its work. Meetings with opportunities for public comment are expected later.
  • Later that day, also at the Friday Center, the “What’s the Big Idea?” speakers series on Energy and the Environment kicks off with a talk on technology challenges for our energy future by Thomas J. Meyer, Arey Professor of Chemistry at Carolina and former associate director of strategic research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This event runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

  • More than 400 students from Orange County made the Dean’s List for fall semester and almost 150 county residents earned UNC degrees in December.

  • The Carolina Performing Arts Series 2006-07 season will be announced in early spring. After a phenomenal debut year, replete with sell-outs and strong community participation, we look forward to a stellar sophomore run.

To learn more about the news and events I’ve referenced here or to find out about other campus activities, visit www.unc.edu. See you on campus.

James Moeser is chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He welcomes readers’ messages at jmoeser@unc.edu





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