Changing Faces

When I arrived at Fayetteville’s Alexander Junior High School — named for the father of Frank Porter Graham ’09 — as a ninth-grader, I was attending my fourth junior high school in three years. Army brats get used to moving often, disconnecting with people and places, and then establishing new relationships. Some of Carolina’s familiar faces have changed in the past year and merit some reflection.

Among the most visible recent personnel changes were the departure of veteran Athletic Director Jolm Swofford ’71 — now ACC commissioner — and the appointment of his senior associate Dick Baddour ’66; Dean Smith’s resignation after 37 unparalleled years and the appointment of his longtime assistant Bill Guthridge; and the departure of head football coach Mack Brown and the appointment of his veteran assistant Carl Torbush. Other coaching changes occurred in men’s golf with the departure of Devon Brouse, baseball with the resignation of Mike Roberts ’72 and women’s tennis with the resignation of Kitty Harrison. This year we also have had the early departures of defensive football star Robert Williams and all-star basketball players Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter.

Last summer we welcomed three new deans: Bill Roper at public health, Jeff Houpt at medicine and Risa Palm at the College of Arts and Sciences. Earlier this year, we welcomed new deans at the business school, Bob Sullivan, and at education, Madeleine Grumet, and learned of Judith Wegner’s decision not to seek another term as dean of the law school. A search continues for a new dean of the School of Information and Library Sciences to succeed Barbara Moran.

In South Building, the academic year began with the resignation of Garland Hershey as longtime vice chancellor for health affairs. In May, Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd ’77 was named the new president of Western Michigan University. Jim Ramsey will arrive in August as vice chancellor for administration while Wayne Jones, UNC’s veteran vice chancellor for business and finance and the University’s treasurer, retired June 30 after 26 years.

Fred Schroeder retired after 34 years of loyal service in UNC student affairs while Eleanor Morris ’55 retired after 18 years conscientiously leading our scholarships and student aid office. Jerry Lucido joined Carolina last fall as director of undergraduate admissions.

With these changes Carolina retains our enviable culture that prizes not only excellence but service, a commitment to world-class scholarship and undergraduate teaching, and competitiveness and civility. In a world that seems so often obsessed by rankings, quarterly profit statements and benchmarking, UNC remains faithful to that which distinguishes Carolina from most other public universities.

Those who join us will find that while Carolina seeks to remain competitive, we also know that all that we value will not find its way into the measurements used by news magazines. While we should not ignore such external measurements, neither should we allow magazines to determine our priorities. To do so moves us closer to merely mimicking others rather than continuing to emphasize that which distinguishes us from others. The world admires our nation’s system of higher education because of our great diversity of institution types. We should certainly learn from others but recognize that others envy and seek to model Carolina.

This past academic year sadly ended with the passing of distinguished N.C. governor, U.S. senator, Duke University president and UNC alumnus Terry Sanford ’39, often referred to as North Carolina’s “Education Governor.” The academic year began with the passing last July 4 of beloved alumnus Charles Kuralt ’55. Charles best captured what is so special about Carolina when, in Kenan Stadium at the celebration of Carolina’s Bicentennial, he said the following:

What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls or the crisp October nights. Our loyalty is not to the memories of what William Richardson Davie did 200 years ago. … No, our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People. Two hundred years to the day since the founding of the First State University, we can read again the words on its seal — “light and liberty” — and say that The University of North Carolina has lived by those two short noble words and say that in all of the American story there is no other place like this.

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature




Douglas S. Dibbert ’70

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