The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

May 14, 2014

UNCC’s ties to Stanly County strong

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 — UNC Charlotte has experienced rapid growth in recent years, with our footprint in the region expanding in parallel. Our reach extends beyond Charlotte into Stanly County, where we have built a number of meaningful connections. This week, I’m meeting with Stanly County leaders to talk about how we can continue to work together to facilitate economic prosperity and a stronger community.

Students provide the most powerful example of the connections between Stanly County and UNC Charlotte. One third of all Stanly County students in the UNC System attend UNC Charlotte. The 270 local students on our campus are undergraduate scholars, athletes, master’s and doctoral students and Stanly Community College transfers. They are receiving a quality academic experience and will become the educators, entrepreneurs and public servants that strengthen the economy and quality of life in the region.

Many of our 1,300 alumni work in these essential roles in Stanly County. As students at UNC Charlotte, Brent Barbee and Andrew Hough founded United Protective Technologies based on our faculty’s research. It is now a thriving company making advanced coatings for military, aviation, and NASCAR products; I’m excited to pay them a visit. County Manager Andy Lucas, County Commissioner Gene McIntyre, Albemarle City Council Members Chris Whitley and Martha Hughes, Locust Mayor Steve Huber, and Uwharrie Capital CEO Roger Dick are just some of the enterprising alumni making an impact in Stanly County.

UNC Charlotte has helped shape public education in Stanly County as well. Stanly County Schools Superintendent Terry Griffin (also an alumna) has been a pivotal partner with our College of Education’s First 3 Beginning Teacher Support Program. This initiative helps 25 new teachers a year succeed in Stanly County classrooms through professional development, networking and mentoring. More than 200 UNC Charlotte alumni currently work as educators in Stanly County Schools.

To alumni I haven’t named here, we want to hear from you. Connect with our Alumni Association. Come visit us. Many returning alumni marvel at our campus’ growth and our increasingly renowned academics, research, and industry partnerships. Send your children and grandchildren our way. Hire our students. You play a critical role in UNC Charlotte’s and Stanly County’s future.

Partnerships with the Stanly Economic Development Commission, the Stanly Chamber of Commerce and UNC Charlotte are developing to create energy, data analytics, and advanced manufacturing jobs in the area, indicators of the power of collaboration.

Staying connected to individuals, institutions and industry in the region drives our success and provides for a better future. With my visit to Stanly County, I aim to highlight these mutually beneficial partnerships and ignite the dialogue for forging new ones.

Philip L. Dubois is chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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