Day two started with a visit to Chancellor Anne Ponder at UNC-Asheville. UNC-A is an unusual place: a small liberal arts school that graduates 700 students per year. Chancellor Ponder got into university leadership early as well – she started her first presidency when she was my age. So we had a lot to talk about
We dreamed widely about how our two schools can work together. We have a lot in common: UNC-A is a liberal arts school, and Carolina has a strong liberal arts tradition in our College of Arts and Sciences, a unit with which I’m quite familiar.
The chancellor and I left with a number of things to try to work on together to create efficiencies and enhance programs on both campuses. A great reminder of how important it is to get to know the people involved with your critical partners.
Next stop was Asheville High School, the only high school in the city schools system and another critical partner for Carolina. Last year, 17 of the top 25 students at Asheville High went to Carolina. Steve Farmer, our admissions director, was with me, and we started off in Jenny Thomas’ honors chemistry class.
It was fun getting to talk about chemistry with these bright students. I was so excited when they all took a Carolina pen and almost all of them said they would apply to Carolina.
Finally, we met with 200 seniors in the school auditorium. We asked trivia questions and handed out Carolina T-shirts to the right answers. I gave my pitch about a great research university and why it was the best place to come to college – and why Carolina was the choice. There were lots of great questions and then plenty of inquiries to Steve Farmer.
When we left, Steve was mobbed by all the students who want to come to UNC. When I go with him to a high school, I’m the second-most-famous person. He’s the first.
And that’s how it should be. I’m so glad all of these bright students love our university.