NCCU Memorial for Chancellor Deborah Saunders-White

Stay in School

Fixed Tuition Program

Thanks to bold legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly, in-state undergraduates at all of the state’s public universities will have a stable tuition rate locked in for four years — eight consecutive semesters without a tuition increase, once a student enrolls, as long as they stay enrolled.

It’s a major step in giving students and families predictability as they plan and manage college costs. Tuition may rise for new students, but it’s locked in for those currently enrolled, and will be locked in at the entering rate for new students.

So the main message for current student is simple: stay in school! Fixed tuition applies to those who remain enrolled.

We’re still working on details for implementing the program. But we expect that eight semesters of stable tuition will help encourage on-time graduation. Giving families the ability to plan could make a difference in student retention, too.

Campus Safety

The security of students has been on everyone’s mind following last week’s attack at Ohio State University. There’s nothing we take more seriously than the protection of our students, faculty, and staff.

The quick actions of a campus police officer saved lives in Ohio, and I hope it reminds us all to be grateful for the men and women who work on the front lines of public safety at each of our universities.

College campuses are some of the safest places anywhere in the world, but our campus police and emergency personnel train constantly to stay prepared. In fact, they provide a lot of training for students as well, starting at orientation. It’s not an easy job, and I’m glad we have such dedicated people in these roles across the system.

Walter Magazine

You’re all invited in to see the historical house I’m grateful to call home. Walter Magazine hit the newsstands with their December edition featuring the UNC President’s House, which has been home to 11 Presidents of the University since 1907.

It’s meant to be a welcoming place for the University community, and I’ve been making use of it to host student groups, faculty gatherings, and musical performances during the fall semester. It’s a great space to bring people together and celebrate the best of what our public universities have to offers, and it’s always a joy to host visitors.

Walter ventured to Chapel Hill just in time to see how Davie and I decorated for the holidays. My daughters are looking forward to being home for Christmas, gathered around a tree fresh cut from the North Carolina mountains.

Memorial Service

Last week, thousands of us mourned the premature loss of Chancellor Debra Saunders-White, the beloved leader of North Carolina Central University. Deb was a deeply accomplished woman and advocate for higher education, respected all across the country.  But she never lost sight of the fact that education always happens — has to happen — on a human scale. That personal connection matters. She treated her students that way, and she treated me that way.

Deb was one of the very first people to reach out when I arrived in North Carolina. She didn’t call to lobby me or take the temperature of her new boss — she called to make sure I had someplace to get my nails done, that I knew where to go for a good meal or a weekend away. She wanted to make sure I felt at home and that I had a friend in a new place. And that mattered to me. She’ll be remembered for gestures like that.

She’ll be remembered for the way those acts of individual care added up to a philosophy of achievement, a way of encouraging the best in all of us. Deb Saunders-White did not coin the phrase Eagle Adequacy, or Eagle Expediency. She promoted Eagle Excellence. She had high expectations of her faculty, staff, and students.

In my book, there is no higher honor than having someone like Deb expect great things of you. We’ll miss her deeply, but we’ll remember that gift, and we’ll hold fast to those higher expectations. We love you, Deb.

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