Chancellor-Elect Franklin Gilliam Jr. delivered remarks at the 124th State of the Campus Address Aug. 12, with UNCG faculty, staff and board members assembled in Aycock Auditorium. His first day at UNCG will be Sept. 8.
He spoke of UNCG’s impact on and engagement in the greater community – and what it means for its students and the region and state.
“I will be an advocate for this university and for public higher education in this state,” he said. He noted that most states are now spending less on public higher education per capita than they did in 2008.
The biggest UNCG fundraising challenge is fellowships for students, to ease the burden of debt. He explained that debt burden impacts the career choices for students, and that our state needs many of those careers that are not necessarily the most lucrative, but are essential for our society.
He talked of his first impression of UNCG on his initial visit. “This is a beautiful campus,” he told his wife, Jacquelean Gilliam, as a student showed them the university.
Gilliam shared his thoughts about UNCG’s culture and its future. “Culture refers to a clearly articulated and broadly shared set of values that define the very nature of an organization,” he explained. He stepped from behind the podium to the front of the stage, closer to the audience, and laid out a set of values that builds that culture:
- Shared fate. “We have a shared fate,” he said. “We have to collaborate.”
- Excellence. “There has to be a common standard of excellence in everything we do,” he told the faculty and staff gathered.
- Accountability. “People have to be held accountable. We all do.”.
- Innovation. “We have to have an entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. “We have to act like we’re a start-up.”
- Transparency. “That means clarity – about how decisions are made.”
- Inclusion. “We all have a stake in UNCG,” he explained. Ideas can come from anyone and anywhere, he added. UNCG needs inclusive decision-making and communications.
- Fun. We’re at college, he said. “We should get joy out of that – the joy in what we accomplish together.”
He alluded to the title of the occasion: the 124th State of the Campus Address, and the permanence of UNCG’s enduring, vital role in the community and state. “We’re not going anywhere. We are here.”
Acting Chancellor and Provost Dana Dunn gave an address on the accomplishments of the past year. She received an extended, rousing ovation, as did Dr. Gilliam.
Trustees Chair Susan Safran offered remarks as well. “I do believe we are on the edge of a new era,” she said.
The traditional luncheon for faculty/staff followed the address, giving many staff and faculty an opportunity to meet their new chancellor.
View video of Chancellor-elect Gilliam’s remarks here.
By Mike Harris
Photo by Martin Kane