Letter from the Chancellor

Interim Chancellor Doug Orr Details a Season of Transitions

Doug OrrAutumn is a season of beauty, especially in our picturesque mountains, as well as a transition from the green days of summer to winter’s altered landscape and then the promise of spring. So it is with UNC Asheville, as we segue from the superb nine-year tenure of Anne Ponder to the great promise of Chancellor-elect Mary Grant. Other transitions are at work as well: the leadership of Academic Affairs by our experienced interim provost Joe Urgo, faculty and staff retirements and new hires, and upcoming transitions on the Board of Trustees. It also is a time of unprecedented change in higher education: new educational delivery systems, a changing student demographic, the twin forces of technology and globalism, new budget challenges, and so it goes.

As your interim chancellor, I am privileged to partner with so many connected to this fine university. While UNC Asheville, like our many sister institutions, must be resourceful and creative in facing the changing landscape of higher education, there is so much for which we are blessed, starting with a distinctive and respected mission as the state’s pre-eminent public liberal arts university. We have students who seek out this university on their journey to making a difference in the world; a highly talented faculty committed to student-centered learning; staff who make a significant impact on the campus learning environment; loyal alumni who contribute to the betterment of society; thoughtful university friends; and a setting that is the envy of every visitor who ventures into our beautiful mountain region.

This fall issue of UNC Asheville Magazine highlights a number of impressive accomplishments reflecting the spectrum of the university’s continued growth and impact, such as the renovated dining hall in Brown Hall, profiles of international student-athletes, interdisciplinary research and teaching that extends the boundaries of our knowledge, and alumni who are making their homes after graduation in innovative ways.

And finally, we welcome and introduce our chancellor-elect, Mary Grant, who will join this university in January after 12 highly productive years at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, a fellow member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). As co-chair of the chancellor search committee, I know that I express the sentiment of the committee members that we are pleased Mary and her spouse, Jim Canavan, will soon be heading from the Berkshires to the Blue Ridge!

—Interim Chancellor Doug Orr