Most of my time since my last update was spent in Israel and Jordan with a group of colleagues, donors, and friends of the University. Among other things, we visited our archaeological dig at Mt. Zion in Jerusalem with Professors James Tabor (Religious Studies) and Shimon Gibson (History). James and Shimon make the world’s best tour guides, with knowledge and insights that bring the physical artifacts to life.
Meanwhile back on the home front...
- Light rail is officially up and running and our students are already enjoying the access and convenience that it offers. The opening day festivities on March 16 were a huge success with about 1,000 students, faculty, and staff coming out for a ride on the train's maiden voyage from campus to uptown.
- We're moving forward on the design work for the Hotel/Conference Center to be built on our Charlotte Research Institute campus. Once completed, this full-service UNC Charlotte-branded Marriott hotel will provide 226 rooms and a 15,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art conference center. This will be a wonderful resource for the University and visitors to our campus.
- My last update shared that we had hired our new Director of Athletics, Mike Hill, in a national search that I'm pretty sure broke some land speed records. Since then we have completed an equally expeditious search to fill the position of head men's basketball coach. Ron Sanchez, former associate head coach at the University of Virginia, has been named the University's 11th head men's basketball coach. Ron has enjoyed great success in his career at Washington State and UVA, and I am excited to see what he accomplishes here in Charlotte.
- Next week (Wednesday, April 11) we will celebrate one of UNC Charlotte's true rock stars, Dr. Pinku Mukherjee, as the recipient of the 2018 First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal. Dr. Mukherjee's groundbreaking research in the early detection of pancreatic and breast cancer has earned her numerous accolades in recent years, including the UNC system’s O. Max Gardner Award, the system’s highest recognition for research.
- Coming up later this month is Alumniner Weekend. In addition to several activities for returning alumni, we'll also get a sneak preview of the 2018-19 football season as we watch our team's annual Green-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 21, beginning at 6:00pm. I hope you'll come out to support the team for what promises to be a fun evening.
To our students, faculty, and staff...as we head into the last month of the academic year, work hard, take good care of yourself, and finish strong.
Phil Dubois, Chancellor