University Day celebrations

The game

What can one say about beating Notre Dame! Wow, it was fabulous and just wonderful to see the enormous sea of blue on a Carolina blue day.

Awards luncheon  

It was a wonderful honor and great fun to accompany Dr. Leah Devlin, State Health Director and Director, NC Department of Health, to the awards luncheon where she was recognized as one of this year’s Distinguished Alumni. Leah is a wonderful person and a great role model. She has continued North Carolina’s tradition of being one of the most innovative departments of health in the U.S. I am proud that she is an MPH graduate of the School. Leah also is on the School’s Foundation Board and has been a generous donor to our School.

A previous award winner, also there today, Jane Smith Patterson, is on our Advisory Council.

Listening to the accomplishments of the award winners made me even prouder to be at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Installation of Chancellor Thorp 

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I am told it is always Carolina blue on University Day. And it was! The day sparkled. For those of you who were not there, President Bowles and others praised the staff, students and faculty at UNC. Hear my applause! A large crowd attended, including a number of leaders from other universities, and chancellors within the UNC system.  I enjoyed meeting Chancellor Ponder from UNC-Asheville.

I was very impressed by Chancellor Thorp’s address. He talked about some of the important milestones in UNC history, including its integration and first admission of women. I especially appreciated that he echoed some of our themes, including water and global health. He drew the image of an even more interdisciplinary university, in which a student studying Mandarin might be working on a global health project. He stressed the importance of a global vision and local service. He mentioned public health several times. There is no question that our School is in synch with the future of UNC-Chapel Hill.

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In an interview reported Sunday in the Durham Herald-Sun, Chancellor Thorp said, Mr. Davie had a pretty extraordinary idea when he devised public higher education and that was to create an institution which would try to do two things at once.

One was to aspire to the highest academic standards globally and the other was to serve a single state. It’s hard to do either one of those two things. We have the mandate to do both.”

No School at UNC has a greater responsibility than we do to serve the state. As Dennis Gillings, CBE, put it a couple weeks ago, we must think globally and serve locally. I believe this School needs to engage in real dialogue, not just among ourselves but with the State, about how best to do this.

As we celebrate the new Chancellor, we should honor and thank James and Susan Moeser for their leadership and support of our School.

The budget

We are about to implement a 2% cut in University budgets. We have one week to indicate how we will apply them. There’s no good way to do this, especially since our School already operates on a lean margin, but we’ll do our best.

Passings

Over the weekend, former HPM faculty member and Sheps research fellow Michelle Mayer, PhD died of scleroderma. She waged a long, painful battle with this formidable disease. In the process, she taught even those of us who did not know her something about courage and looking death in the eye, through her blog and the recent articles she wrote about being a patient. We all can learn from the example she set.

Allan Rosenfield, dean for 20 years at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health,  died peacefully Saturday morning after an illness of several years. Dr. Rosenfield was an amazingly influential global leader in reproductive health. A couple years ago I went to New York city for a Doctors Without Borders celebration of Dr. Rosenfield. In true New York style, even Alicia Keys was there to sing his praises. His death is a loss to the world.

Another Monday. Have a good week! Barbara

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