Welcome to the first PHIL’S FAST FIVE installment of 2018. I hope you had a great winter break. Lisa and I spent the holidays out of town enjoying some blissfully warm weather. I must say, it was nice to unplug and unwind for a while, but notwithstanding the arctic blast that met us outside of Charlotte Douglas International Airport upon our return, it's great to be back home.
- My last official act before heading out for winter break was presiding over two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, December 16, during which we conferred degrees on nearly 3,700 graduates. It was a great day and a great way to wrap up 2017!
- We're hitting the ground running with a few exciting events scheduled for this week. On Tuesday (January 9) we will celebrate our Belk Scholars with a reception honoring them and the generous donors--including members of the Belk family--who have made that scholarship program possible. That same afternoon we will also celebrate the grand opening of the Niblock Student Center in the Belk College of Business. Robert Niblock, UNC Charlotte alumnus and CEO of Lowe's Companies, Inc., made the charitable gift that created this Center, so we are thrilled to be able to celebrate with him and with some of the students who will benefit from his generosity.
- Also coming up soon is the annual celebration of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. which will be held at 3:30pm on Tuesday, January 16, in McKnight Hall. The theme of this year's event is "From #Hashtag to Action," and the keynote speaker is Bakari Sellers.
- It is awesome to be able to say that Light Rail is coming to campus THIS SEMESTER. Plans are underway for Grand Opening activities, so be on the lookout for details about what's in store.
- And finally, I’m sure by now you have all seen the announcement of Judy Rose’s retirement, which will be effective on June 30. Judy has been an integral part of the UNC Charlotte family for 43(!!) years, and she has done a lot to contribute to the growth and success that our University has enjoyed. Personally and professionally, her departure will hurt. Judy is not someone who can be easily replaced…but we are already working through a plan for a national search to find a successor who can step in and continue the tradition of athletic excellence and integrity that she and her staff have built. Judy has touched countless lives, and she leaves the University with a strong legacy and with the profound respect of many here in Charlotte and across the country. She is a dear friend to me and to UNC Charlotte and I wish her and Ken nothing but the very best as she prepares to enter this new (and well deserved!) adventure called retirement.
Here's to a great new year full of possibilities and opportunities!
Phil Dubois, Chancellor