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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Trustees acknowledge contributions, service of eight people

The Board of Trustees’ May 23 meeting was bittersweet.

Trustees welcomed new Student Body President Christy Lambden, who took the oath of office as an ex-officio member of the board.

The meeting also marked the last time four trustees and four University leaders, including Chancellor Holden Thorp, would meet as a group.

Trustees Wade Hargrove, Barbara Hyde, Felicia Washington and Kel Landis completed their terms of service, and both Thorp and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney will step down from their posts at the end of June.

Two other longtime University leaders also are making changes at the end of June: Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Services Carolyn Elfland will retire after more than four decades of service, and Employee Forum Chair Jackie Overton is completing her third, and final, term as chair of the forum.

Amid the farewells was an atmosphere of celebration and recognition of the extraordinary service these eight people have given Carolina, as the board approved resolutions of appreciation for them.

Hargrove, a trustee for four years and chair of the board the past two years, was commended for his steady leadership and guidance of both the board and the University through significant challenges. Among his many responsibilities, he chaired the search committee that recommended Carol Folt as the University’s 11th chancellor.

“I can honestly say that this has been one of the most enjoyable personal and professional experiences I’ve ever had,” Hargrove said.

Hyde has been a trustee for eight years, four as vice chair of the board. During her tenure, she has been a strong advocate for the students’ perspective in discussions and a mentor for many student body presidents. In the numerous committees on which she has served, Hyde has brought to deliberations “a quiet competence and broad understanding of the University,” the resolution said.

For the past four years, Washington has used her legal expertise and interest in diversity to serve as a voice for minority alumni, advising staff in the offices of Development and Diversity and Multicultural Affairs on outreach and promotion, the resolution said. She also has been an advocate for Carolina’s commitment to access and affordability.

Landis, who stepped in to replace Eddie Smith, has served for the past year. As a member of the University Affairs and External Relations and University Advancement committees and the UNC Foundation Board, he was commended for bringing his considerable financial expertise to the management of the University’s investments.

During the trustees’ July meeting, they will elect new officers. The slate includes Lowry Caudill as chair, Alston Gardner as vice chair and Sallie Shuping-Russell as secretary.

The four people within the campus community who were honored represent more than a century of combined service to the University.

Thorp received the trustees’ highest praise and commendation for his exemplary leadership of, and deep love for, the University. The resolution cited Carolina’s enhanced standing as one of the most influential research universities in the world under Thorp’s leadership, as well as a rise to the top 10 research universities in federal research funds.

In addition, Thorp has instituted a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship campus-wide, created an improved working climate and a stronger town-gown relationship, and implemented the Carolina Counts initiative, which has yielded more than $55 million in reduced recurring annual state costs.

He has presided over an unprecedented 43 percent increase in admissions applications and assumed a leadership position in national discussions about college costs and the role of research universities in economic growth.

Hargrove added his personal appreciation for Thorp’s service in a time of enormous challenge. “I admire Holden for his conviction and commitment to principle and the long-term interests of the University,” he said. “You are a great loss for Carolina, and I hope it is not a permanent departure.”

Thorp said it had been an honor to work with the trustees and told the four departing members that he was indebted to them for their passion, vision and generosity. He told Hargrove that no one had given as much time, sacrifice and psychic energy as he had as chair.

Among the things he was proud of during his tenure, Thorp said, were the results of the recent employee survey and the extent to which people believe in Carolina and its mission – and the way they support one another in this important work (see go.unc.edu/y5P4D).

Carney was applauded for launching the development and implementation of the 2012 Academic Plan, for his leadership in administering a series of severe budget cuts in ways that preserved the classroom experience and for leading the implementation of new promotion and tenure guidelines.

He was “a steady, kind and fair hand during turbulent times, welcoming faculty and students who had ideas and concerns,” the resolution said. He has “performed his job with uncommon grace, never-failing courtesy and dogged determination, and now returns to the relative serenity of classroom and lab.”

Thorp added his deep gratitude to Carney: “You have given so much to Carolina.”

He then thanked Elfland for her efforts in transforming the University’s approach to sustainability and her overall work ethic. “You have been the last one to leave South Building every night for decades,” he said.

In addition to Elfland’s far-reaching sustainability efforts, which have reduced the University’s environmental impact, the trustees praised her for overseeing a critical decade of University growth and expansion, for managing numerous campus service and auxiliary units and for identifying significant cost savings aligned with Carolina Counts.

Overton, a longtime staff member in the Department of Public Safety, was recognized for revitalizing the Employee Forum and bringing a new era of civility and professionalism to its operations in her thee years as chair.

She has worked “tirelessly on behalf of all of the University’s employees, emphasizing openness, respect, community and true Tar Heel spirit,” the resolution said.