“It is a great honor to be elected the 11th chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro,” Dr. Franklin Gilliam said in addressing the roomful of well-wishers in Alumni House May 22. He was accompanied by his wife Jacquelean Gilliam, executive director of Scholarships & Student Support Initiatives and Campus-wide Initiatives at UCLA. He acknowledged Susan Safran and the hard work of the search committee; the ongoing work of Acting Chancellor Dana Dunn; and the work and initiatives of former chancellor Linda Brady.
Some excerpts from his remarks:
- Greensboro is a wonderful city. The region’s vibrant, and we are thrilled about that. We intend to become fully active active members of the community. It’s a community you can throw your arms around.
- There’s no doubt in my mind that UNCG is well-positioned for continued success …. Enrollment is on the rise, academic excellence is fostered by a very accomplished faculty; the university is consistently recognized for being among the top universities at the intersection of excellence and value ….
- This is a critical time for American higher education and, in particular, for public higher education. How will we continue to deliver a high-quality education experience for our students while the business model is changing beneath our feet? As you know, across the country, states are dis-investing, if you will, in public higher education. This troubles me of course because, as probably most of you in this room know, the prosperity of states like North Carolina or California or Wisconsin are directly attributable to the institutions of higher learning in those states and the human capital that is producing the highest quality and the skills which (drowned out by applause).
- We have to continue to find even more innovative ways to prepare students of all ages and backgrounds for meaningful lives. This is a really interesting tension between how do we prepare the students to enter the workforce and have the right kinds of skills, on the one hand – and how do we also prepare them with a true liberal arts education?
- Being able to draw on a pool of a skilled labor force is critical to the future success of the companies, and we have to meet that challenge – but we also have to create thinking, intellectual beings. We have to produce young people who are engaged in a discussion of the critical issues of the time – who understand what it means to be a citizen, both here in Greensboro but also in the world.
- As many of you know, UNCG contributes over a billion dollars annually to the region – and as such it must be a robust and engaged civic stakeholder.
- (He spoke about the Woman’s College history and the campus’ longstanding values.) I think we always have to honor that legacy. On the other hand, I think also have to look forward. We have to look to the future and see how we can collectively – all of us – work towards a better tomorrow.
- I am proud to be the newest Spartan …. Together, only together – none of us can do this alone. It’s the students, it’s the faculty, it’s the staff, it’s the alumni, it’s the donors, it’s the volunteers, it’s the other stakeholders in the community – this is the only way this thing works …
- We’re thrilled to be joining this community. We’re excited – we’ve been sneaking around Greensboro the last couple of months. We had to change into civilian clothes for a chance to meet prospective parents and ask students how they enjoyed it here. So now I can actually walk around … (drowned out by laughter and applause). It’s together, and only together, that we will redefine and forge UNCG as a leader in 21st century public higher education.