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