Election Day isn’t until March 15th, but
UNC-Chapel Hill trustees spent much of their January meeting discussing one of
the key issues voters will see: the two billion dollar Connect NC bond. This
vote will help define just how bright the future of North Carolina can be. It’s every
bit as important as the bold decisions our state leaders made in the fifties and
sixties to create the Research Triangle Park. The bond would fund projects of all
kinds across the state, but its main focus is public higher education. At
Carolina, 68 million dollars in bond funds would be used to build a new state-
of-the-art medical education facility. One of our big missions at Carolina is
the training of health care professionals in all the fields, and we are
really limited by our facilities. Particularly Berryhill Hall, which can no
longer address one of the state’s most critical needs, trustees learned. A third
of today’s practicing physicians will be retirement age in just five years. In
Chapel Hill, we don’t have room to produce the doctors that North Carolina
needs. Current and former medical students also told trustees that Berryhill and
its walled off spaces aren’t designed for today’s collaborative approach to
teaching medicine. All in favor say ‘aye.’ Trustees voted unanimously on a
resolution supporting the passage of the bond. It’s an honor and a privilege to be with you all. Carolina’s Department of Religious
Studies was another topic on the trustees’ agenda. Professor Bart Ehrman
told the board about the department and some of the research he’s doing on the
early spread of Christianity. Whatever your personal religious views, I think
you would agree that Christianity has been the most significant historical,
cultural, social, political economic force in western civilization. But how did that
happen? How did Christianity become such an important force? That’s what my current book
is about. Trustees also got an update from Chancellor Carol Folt on the effort
to make Carolina’s campus more inclusive and welcoming to people from all
backgrounds. We’re taking a lot of very good, exciting actions, and I feel very proud of that, and I
also continue to feel that this is just a first step. This is ongoing. We
will always be working to make this a better part of what we do. Folt also told
trustees that nearly 36,000 students have applied to Carolina this year, an
increase of 12 percent from a year ago. The board will meet again in March.