A message from the interim chancellor: Celebrating our students

In a campus email, Lee H. Roberts wrote it's a privilege to interact with students and inspiring to learn about the diverse range of interests they're working on.

A student in a cap and gown taking an iPhone camera of two other students in caps and gowns posing by the Old Well on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill
(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

Some of the best conversations I’ve had this semester have been with students. Hearing what brought them to Carolina, what projects are exciting them or stressing them out (or both), and what they’re hoping to do after graduation.

When it comes to future ambitions, I hear a mix of detailed career plans and deep uncertainty — and that’s exactly as it should be. A good education is supposed to change your mind, open up new possibilities and give you the confidence to pursue goals you hadn’t considered before. That’s certainly been true for my own college-age kids as they neared graduation, and I’m glad to hear that spirit of exploration alive and well among this generation of Tar Heels.

In just the last couple weeks, I’ve listened to:

  • Student journalists thinking hard about how to be fair and open-minded on a campus with lots of competing viewpoints.
  • A senior waiting to take graduation photos at the Old Well, preparing to ship out to Pensacola, Florida, after graduation to begin flight school for the U.S. Navy.
  • Student scientists, engineers and environmental advocates sharing their work with young children at the recent UNC Science Expo as part of the more than 700 volunteers showing kids how exciting it is to discover new things.
  • Incoming student government officers expressing their excitement to represent their peers and support a welcoming campus for students and scholars of all backgrounds.

Most people don’t get the privilege of spending much time with college students. I often think that if they could see what I see daily, they would be inspired and encouraged for our future. It’s incredible to hear the diverse range of things our students are working on and involved in at any given moment, and I’m grateful they bring so many different perspectives and ideas to our University.

Whether you’re wrapping up this semester with a clear sense of what’s next or a wide-open question mark about the future, I hope Carolina is giving you plenty of encouragement and a whole lot to think about.

Lee H. Roberts
Interim Chancellor