The beginning of fall semester is moving fast toward campus like last night's thunderstorm. And like a storm, the coming semester presents challenges in dealing with the deluge of activities on a campus of 24,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff. But the beginning of an academic year is the lifeblood of a university and the excitement is building in all corners of the campus.
Two events are already capturing the enthusiam of students, even as most of them are off-campus for the summer. First, UNC Charlotte's new 196,000 square foot Student Union is nearing completion. A few tweaks are still in the works on the exterior, which is striking. Inside, the building is even more awesome. Just check out the UNC Charlotte fan page on Facebook or You Tube to see photos and video clips students have posted recently. The union is the new magnet for students -- an Apple computer store; Starbucks; a stunning Barnes & Noble store for books, supplies and branded gear; a hair salon (do they still call it that?); movie theater; an amazing atrium; a massive ballroom; an array of knoshing options and lots more -- this facility rocks. Grand opening officially begins with an Aug. 28 dedication.
Earlier in August, beginning the week of the tenth, UNC Charlotte officially launches its Stake Your Claim brand campaign. It debuts publicly with advertising in The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Business Journal, Charlotte Post and Charlotte Weekly. Underwriting announcements also will appear on WFAE radio beginning that week. The University will communicate the launch internally using Web-based media such as the UNCC.edu Web site, Facebook and Twitter. Visotors to campus can already see the giant SYC pick axe set prominently just inside the Dickson Gate entrance to campus.(In response to the recession and a recent freeze on almost all State of North Carolina spending, no state funds are being spent on this initiative.)
We'll soon complete our imposing Bioinformatics building which embodies what will be one of the leading bioinformatics programs in the nation. We'll also break ground on our Energy Production Infrastructure Center this fall and we will complete the Master Plan that will guide campus development for the next 10 years; wait til see what the future holds -- it is fantastic!
Stay tuned also for a blockbuster academic announcement coming in late August.
The recession has presented many challenges at UNC Charlotte, but it has not stopped our high-velocity blast up the growth curve. The 2009-2010 academic year is going to be one of the best on record. Great things are happening at UNC Charlotte. Come see us.