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New BOT chair calls for ‘courage to change’

“It is not the strongest university that survives and thrives. It is not the most intelligent university that survives. It is the university that is the most adaptable to change that will survive and thrive.”

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees welcomed five new members at the July 23 meeting and re-emphasized its focus on internal improvement and external communication.

“I think everyone will agree that this is a very hard-working board,” Chancellor Carol L. Folt said, pointing to the group’s commitment to spending time on important issues.

In his opening remarks, new Chair Dwight Stone of Greensboro set the tone for the future with four goals for the board:

  • Support Folt and her evolving strategic plan;
  • Tell the story of how Carolina improves lives across the state, nation and world;
  • Accelerate, measure and communicate the growth and economic impact of the University’s innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives; and
  • Help Carolina become more efficient and effective in key operational areas, particularly finance, administration, teaching and research.

The trustees also agreed they would all take the University’s Title IX training as soon as possible.

“In today’s environment, the challenges facing universities and academic institutions across the country are huge. We must face those challenges head on and have the courage to change,” Stone said.

Paraphrasing evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, he added, “It is not the strongest university that survives and thrives. It is not the most intelligent university that survives. It is the university that is the most adaptable to change that will survive and thrive.”

Stone replaces previous Chair Lowry Caudill, who keeps his seat on the board and received kudos and a board resolution thanking him for his calm and steady leadership the past two years.

Stone is president and chair of D. Stone Builders Inc. and board chair of the Educational Foundation. He also served on the search committees for a new chancellor and a new athletic director.

The new vice chair is Haywood D. Cochrane of Elon, chair of the board of directors of DARA Biosciences Inc.

Five new members were sworn in at the meeting:

  • Julia Sprunt Grumbles of Chapel Hill, a former corporate vice president for Turner Broadcasting System Inc. who previously served as Carolina’s interim vice chancellor for development;
  • William A. (Bill) Keyes IV of McLean, Virginia, founder and director of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, a summer enrichment program for African American male students;
  • Allie R. McCullen of Keener, owner of The McCullen Group Inc., a real estate sales and appraisal firm in Clinton;
  • William E. (Ed) McMahan of Charlotte, former chairman and CEO of Little-McMahan Corp who served six terms in the North Carolina House and just finished a term on the UNC Board of Governors; and
  • Hari H. Nath of Cary, retired founder and CEO of the management consulting firm Technology Planning and Management Corp. who recently completed a term on the UNC Board of Governors.

Keyes, whose late uncle Louis Taylor Randolph was a founding member of the UNC Board of Governors, asked his aunt, Betty Randolph, to hold the Bible while he took his oath.

The Board of Governors appointed Grumbles, Keyes and McCullen to their seats, and Gov. Pat McCrory selected McMahan and Nath.

Student Body President Houston Summers was sworn in for his term on the board at May’s meeting.

Folt recapped recent Carolina honors for the new members, including record years for student applications and philanthropy, the creation of the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence and the highest possible rating of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.

She shared her enthusiasm about introducing theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking at a Carolina-sponsored conference in Stockholm next month before introducing the day’s presenters who discussed how their organizations deal with big data.

“We can collect and track reams of information, but it doesn’t really matter unless you have a way of using it,” Folt said.

These two big-data success stories were told by John Buse, co-principal investigator and director of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute, and Javed Mostafa, director of the Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP).

“Faster, cheaper and better” is the goal of NC TraCS, one of 63 Clinical and Translational Science Award institutions in the nation, Buse said. These institutes were created to speed research into application. One of the researchers, a surgeon specializing in bladder cancer, used a grant to study the recovery of these patients and how to prevent their readmission to the hospital.

The surgeon, Angela Smith, urged the board to do what they could to recruit physicians to do research at the beginning of their careers—before they establish medical practices.

NC TraCS was an early source of support for CHIP, Mostafa said during his presentation. The professor of information science at the School of Information and Library Science has a joint appointment to the Biomedical Research Imaging Center. Some of the problems CHIP tackles are health care costs, disparities in access and quality of care.

Mostafa said that the demand for health informatics is up and that interpreting that data has to be interdisciplinary.

To prove that point, he introduced three CHIP faculty members from three different schools (medicine, pharmacy and public health). The students who shared their stories with trustees come from different disciplines, too.

One student, Vincent Carrasco, is a longtime faculty member who gave up surgery to concentrate on research. Now he is starting a second career studying how to diagnose aging brain problems early.

Fei Yu, an information and library science graduate student, was frustrated by how hard it was to get a copy of her own medical records. To find out more about the problem, she searched online for “information and library science” and “healthcare.” The first result of her search, she said, was CHIP.

After each presentation, board members expressed enthusiasm at the accomplishments described.

“This is just fantastic,” Folt said.

New Board of Trustees members

Julia Sprunt Grumbles (Julia)

Elected 2015; term ends 2019

Julia Sprunt Grumbles retired as corporate vice president of human resources, public relations and corporate marketing resources for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.). In this capacity, she oversaw all human resources, corporate philanthropy, community affairs, internal and external communications, advertising planning and placement, photo services, print production and presentation services. She was also responsible for entertainment, sports and news public relations, as well as overseeing the CNN Studio Tour and the Turner Store. She previously served on boards of UNC’s Lineberger Cancer Center and UNC Health Care System. She was also a member of the national steering committee for the Carolina First campaign. She was co-founder of UNC’s Carolina Women’s Leadership Council; taught in UNC’s Entrepreneurship Minor for several years; and served as Carolina’s interim vice chancellor for development. She is the recipient of UNC’s Davie Award and General Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Medal and is a member of the Golden Fleece. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Carolina and is married to Bill Grumbles.

William A. Keyes, IV (Bill)

Elected 2015; term ends 2019

William A. Keyes, a native of Washington, North Carolina, worked in Washington, D.C. for nearly four decades. He worked on Capitol Hill and as a White House senior policy advisor. He established and directed the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, which selects some of America’s best and brightest African-American male college students for an intensive two-summer enrichment program. Among the institute’s 140 alumni are two Rhodes Scholars. At UNC, he has served on the Board of Visitors, the Graduate Education Advancement Board, the Board of Advisors of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Board of Directors of the Journalism and Mass Communication Foundation. He created a summer internship program in Washington, D.C. for Carolina’s journalism students and assisted in the creation of UNC’s Leadership Institute. He is the recipient of the Order of the Golden Fleece and in 2014 the Washington, D.C. Black Alumni Carolina Club named Keyes its first “Local Legend.” A lifelong learner, he is currently completing requirements for a PhD in Communication Studies at Carolina. He and his wife, Lola, live in McLean, Virginia.

Allie R. McCullen (Allie)

Elected 2015; term ends 2019

A lifelong resident of rural Sampson County, Allie Ray McCullen lives on the family farm in Keener. He attended North Carolina State University and was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma Fraternity. He transferred to Carolina where he graduated in 1968 with a bachelor’s of arts degree in history. He is the owner of The McCullen Group, Inc., a real estate sales and appraisal firm located in Clinton. Over the years, he has served on various state and federal boards and commissions, including the State Banking Commission and the USDA-A.S.C.S. Committee. Locally, he has been a member and Chairman of the Board of Sampson Community College. He served for nearly 19 years as a member of the Sampson Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees, including nine years as chair.

William E. McMahan (Ed)

Elected 2015; term ends 2019

Ed McMahan, a native of Asheville, is the former chair and chief executive officer of Little-McMahan Group, an architectural-engineering, development and construction firm headquartered in Charlotte. He earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial relations from Carolina and has served on the UNC Alumni Board and the Board of Visitors. He just completed a four-year term on the UNC Board of Governors. Starting in 1994, McMahan served six terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives, where he chaired numerous committees and study commissions. McMahan is the recipient of Legislator of the Year awards from the North Carolina Public Transportation Commission, American Society of Landscape Architects and the North Carolina Chapter of American Planning Association. He also received the Pinnacle Award of Excellence from the North Carolina Association of General Contractors. McMahan, who lives in Charlotte, is married to Suzy Sweeny McMahan. Three of their five children received a degree from the University.

Hari H. Nath (Hari)

Elected 2015; term ends 2019

Hari Nath of Cary, a retired entrepreneur, was founder and chief executive officer of Technology Planning and Management Corp., a consulting firm with headquarters in Research Triangle Park and offices on the East Coast. Nath has served in several nonprofit organizations. Currently, he is co-chair of the board of advisers for the Carying Place Inc., a Cary-based nonprofit organization that provides transitional housing for low-income citizens. For the past four years, he served on the UNC System Board of Governors. He was also on the board of the Center for International Understanding, a UNC organization created to promote business, educational and cultural collaboration with emerging market countries and North Carolina. Nath received a degree in mining engineering from the University of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India, and his master’s of science degree in industrial engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He is married to Kalpana Nath and has two married children.