UNC Charlotte’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni never cease to amaze us. With nearly 30,000 current students, more than 3,000 faculty and staff, and 170,000 alumni who are endlessly curious, passionately engaged, and achieving great things, there is never a shortage of stories to be told.

The biannual Chancellor's newsletter is one tool we use to keep the campus community, as well as our friends and alumni, informed of the many achievements and happenings that continually transform our University.

Notwithstanding a disappointing “final lap” during the Spring 2020 semester, my tenure as Chancellor has been incredibly rich and rewarding. Lisa and I are proud to have represented this exceptional institution, with many exciting things to look back upon that have happened during our time here.

When I think of summing up 2019, it’s hard to know where to start. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most challenging years of my professional life. At the same time, in the midst of unimaginable tragedy and chaos, we’ve also experienced some pretty amazing and reaffirming events, and I’ve been reminded once again of how special Niner Nation really is. So here’s a snapshot of some of the highlights of the year and what we’re looking forward to in the months to come.

As I reflect on the semester that has just drawn to a close, one word comes to mind: Whew! Life on campus has been hopping, with lots of great things happening, some growing pains, some hard goodbyes and some new faces, and more than our fair share of interruptions from Mother Nature. On December 14-15 we celebrated the graduation of our newest crop of Forty-Niner alumni. This was our first time having three ceremonies as part of our December commencement. And wouldn’t you know we’d have a very unusual snow and ice event right during the middle of final exams!

The 2017-18 academic year has been an eventful one. As we close the books on another semester, I wanted to provide my customary update on the status of Niner Nation. Spring is definitely in the air…along with the lingering aroma of the rare and very beautiful “Rotney the Magnifiscent.” Rotney is one of two Titan Arums in the University’s botanical garden, and it bloomed just last week; Odie, which first bloomed in 2015, also bloomed again this week. Native to Sumatra, Indonesia, the Titan Arum, also known as the “corpse flower,” is the largest flowering plant in the world, standing nearly 10 feet tall. Titan Arums bloom for one day every 3-5 years, so it’s a pretty spectacular (but stinky) event.

Another semester is in the books, another crop of Niner alumni have crossed the stage, and we prepare to toss our 2017 calendars and turn to a clean page with the arrival of 2018. The cycle of endings and beginnings seems to come faster and faster every year. It has become my custom to take a little time during the lull of the holiday break to reflect on the year just ending and to calibrate myself for the new year and all that it will bring. In the following pages, I will share some updates on milestones and highlights of the last several months, and we’ll also look ahead to what’s coming in 2018.

Well, the 2016-17 academic year is a wrap, and I would call it a rousing success. Now that the dust is settling, it feels like a good time to check in with you all once again with a recap of the last several months and a look ahead at what’s coming down the pike. Forgive the length of this update – there’s just so much to share. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to scan the following pages, where I trust you’ll find something that interests you, or that you’ll learn something you didn’t know about our favorite University. As always, if you would like more information on any item covered in these pages, please contact my senior executive assistant, Shari Dunn, or check the Chancellor's Outbox.

With the spring semester of the 2016-17 academic year in full swing, I wanted to reach out to you with a handful of highlights, challenges, and opportunities that are currently on our radar. The fall semester was definitely an interesting one. While we celebrated several great and exciting events, including the 70th anniversary of our University’s founding and the launch of our most ambitious fundraising campaign to date, we also weathered one of the most challenging times we’ve experienced during my tenure here as Chancellor. In the days and weeks following the officer-involved shooting in the University area, our city and campus community grappled with the same difficult issues and tensions that have enveloped the nation. I was proud of how our students, staff, and faculty came together to express their fears, anger, and frustrations peacefully and respectfully.

The end of the academic year is always a great occasion for celebration. Our three spring commencements on May 13-14 saw more than 4,300 students earn undergraduate and graduate degrees​, further adding to the ranks of UNC Charlotte alumni. We also celebrated the amazing career achievements of two honorary degree recipients: Emily Zimmern, recently retired president of the Museum of the New South, and Fannie Flono, former columnist and editorial writer with the Charlotte Observer. And finally, we celebrate the opportunity to take on a new set of challenges over the summer months, but also to work in a little time for rest and reflection.

We finished off 2015 in fine fashion by congratulating nearly 3,600 brand new graduates at our 70th commencement ceremonies in Halton Arena on December 19. Each of our new graduates has a unique story to share. Perhaps the most amazing was that of Shella Hollowell, age 76, who completed her undergraduate degree. in history after having attended various colleges over a period of 56 years, fulfilling a promise that she had made to her late father.

The close of the academic year offers another occasion to update you on our University’s accomplishments during the past semester and to look ahead to a few exciting opportunities on the horizon. Over this past weekend we celebrated three commencement ceremonies and welcomed more than 3,700 graduates into the ranks of UNC Charlotte alumni. One highlight of the weekend was conferring an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree upon Mr. Jerry Richardson in recognition of his transformational impact on UNC Charlotte and our entire region through his generosity and commitment to the communities where our faculty, staff, and alumni live and work.

The curtain is closing on 2014, providing another reminder that time marches on…as if we needed another reminder of that fact. Here at UNC Charlotte, we marked the end of a semester and the midpoint of our academic year with December 13 commencement ceremonies in which we sent forth 3,320 newly minted 49er graduates armed with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. One of the most inspiring commencement stories this year involved a nontraditional student…a very nontraditional student. When Barbara Coberly crossed the stage to accept a bachelor’s degree in sociology, everyone present was impressed with the fact that she graduated with honors – a 3.9 GPA – and we were just as impressed knowing that she was inducted into Sigma Alpha Lambda, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Golden Key International Honor Society. But I think we were even more impressed that she did it all at the age of 81. What a wonderful reminder to the rest of us that we’re never too old to learn. There’s no expiration date on an education, and what a privilege it is to be in the business of helping people – young and not-so-young – reach their personal goals.

As we close out another academic year, I want to take a few moments to update you on some of the issues, challenges, and accomplishments of the past semester and look ahead with you to some of the exciting things coming down the pike. We have just celebrated commencement with three ceremonies for the first time ever, and were pleased with how well the Friday service was received. During the three ceremonies we awarded more than 3,600 degrees, and a grand time was had by all.

Welcome to 2013 and Happy New Year to all. I’m pleased to help you get caught up to date on all of the doings at UNC Charlotte as our students return from the holiday break. As always, if you want additional information on any specific item mentioned in this newsletter, please contact my executive assistant, Shari Dunn.

Happy Holidays! As the calendar year nears its end, another semester at UNC Charlotte has concluded. In addition to the celebratory holidays that come at this time of year, we at the University are celebrating the latest group of graduates who will go forth to fulfill their futures. At our December 14 Commencement we awarded nearly 3,400 degrees, including 940 Master’s and 73 doctoral degrees.

Greetings! As another successful academic year comes to an end, this is an extraordinary and invigorating time to be a 49er. In May, we held the Spring Commencement, an event that is a great source of pride for the University community and our more than 3,500 spring graduates. Notably, the number of degrees awarded for the entire academic year climbed to 6,700! Our two ceremonies on commencement Saturday in May also gave us an opportunity to bestow doctoral hoods upon 64 new recipients of doctoral degrees, and thereby achieve an all-time record high of 134 doctoral degrees awarded for the year. We also had the opportunity to bestow an honorary degree upon the former Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Ruth Shaw, and to make a special medal presentation to Professor Joanne Robinson of the Department of Religious Studies as the UNC Charlotte recipient of the 2013 Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence.

As I complete my seventh year as UNC Charlotte’s fourth chancellor (on July 15), I am pleased to provide you with another update on activities at the University. For those of you who have regularly received and read these periodic missives, you’ll note that this one is a tad bit late in arriving. Normally, I like to issue my updates shortly after the commencement ceremonies but, this year, one thing after the next seemed to get in the way. I can promise you that I haven’t been goofing off. In fact, I missed commencement this year as my daughter, Ali, was celebrating her graduation from West Virginia University. With three college graduates now out in the working world, I can see the Promised Land!