Acknowledgments of Folt’s accomplishments and thanks for her service were the themes for Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting at the Carolina Inn, which coincided with Folt’s last day as Carolina’s chancellor.
The trustees unanimously passed a resolution of appreciation for Folt, which Vice Chair Charles G. Duckett read aloud.
“Chancellor Folt brought a scientist’s eye and an artist’s imagination to her role, balancing the views of many constituents — including alumni, students, faculty and staff — using her exceptional communication skills to reflect back to us our many dreams for Carolina, reminding us of the unique commitment to scholarship, service and excellence that defines this University,” part of the resolution said.
In a meeting interspersed with applause and standing ovations, Folt was proclaimed a member of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award for state service granted by the Office of the Governor. In presenting the honor from Gov. Roy Cooper, faculty chair Leslie Parise had her own praise for Folt.
“She’s simply the best,” Parise said. “Chancellor Folt has given it her all to inspire us and lead us forward with incredible brilliance, energy, warmth, courage and grace under pressure. And I’m so glad to hear her say that she’ll always be a Tar Heel.”
Student Body President Savannah Putnam also praised Folt.
“While faced with some of the greatest trials this University has ever encountered, Chancellor Folt has remained resolute,” she said in her report to the trustees. “Through scandals and crises and historic changes, she has led the University with passion for her core mission: the betterment of the Carolina student body.”
Folt thanked the trustees, faculty, staff, and students in her meeting remarks and shared how she felt about leaving her post, saying she was “completely at peace” with her decision to resign.
“You know, I feel a little bit like a senior,” she said. Like seniors, Folt added, she keeps getting asked what she’s going to do after she leaves Carolina. “I’m also feeling, like a senior, a bit bittersweet. I love the place … but I’m also excited about what will be my own new and next.”
In other action:
- Trustees passed resolutions of appreciation for departing staff members Chris Kielt, vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer who accepted a position with the same title at Washington University in St. Louis, and Mark Merritt, vice chancellor and general counsel who returned to Charlotte as a shareholder at Robinson Bradshaw, where he was a litigator for 33 years.
- Trustees heard a presentation about the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program, which in January announced an expansion to Guilford Technical Community College and Central Piedmont Community College and a new program to support students entering the STEM workforce. The expansion is made possible by a $1.13 million grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.
- The University Affairs committee received an update on how Carolina is meeting or exceeding expectations goals set in the UNC System Strategic Plan, which focuses on access, student success, affordability and efficiency, economic impact and community engagement, and excellent and diverse institutions.