Margaret Spellings and Davie viewing portrait of William Davie

Five Things You Should Know This Friday


For students, access to higher education requires the step of completing an application. This week, the five HBCUs in the UNC system have waived application fees as part of NC College Application Week. In addition, 25 private colleges and universities in the state are also waiving application fees.

Last year, more than 27,000 high school students statewide submitted more than 70,000 applications during the week. And those numbers are expected to grow again this year.

Seniors can apply to Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and Winston-Salem State University through the College Foundation of North Carolina.


In the Austin-American Statesman, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President and my friend Peter McPherson writes, “Public universities are working hard to vastly increase the number of Americans who reap the benefits of a college degree. They do that by pioneering innovative approaches to boosting graduation rates and providing accessible and affordable education.”

His ideas reflect some of the same big questions I asked in my October 13 inaugural address and are being asked in our UNC system strategic planning process, currently wrapping up a series of open forums on each of our campuses. At UNC, we’re looking at what it would mean to educate all our citizens, at any age, when and where they need instruction, at a price they can afford. We want to deliver on the promise of “All Useful Learning” set in our constitution.

Open for comment through Sunday, take the UNC strategic planning survey.


Recently I spent some time with Kari Travis of the Carolina Journal to discuss a wide range of topics, in particular the opportunities we have in recognizing and building upon the unique qualities of each of the 17 institutions. We also discussed the critical role each of our UNC HBCUs play in welcoming and supporting many first-generation students. Read the online version and look for the full article in the December issue.


Hosted by NC State and NC A&T, I had the pleasure to speak at the NC Cooperative Extension Annual Conference earlier this week. Although these employees work in all North Carolina’s 100 counties and with the Eastern Band of Cherokee, this group doesn’t always get the visibility their important work deserves.  Nationally, the outreach goals of Cooperative Extension provide educational programming in five key areas: sustaining agriculture and forestry; protecting the environment; maintaining viable communities; developing responsible youth; and developing strong, healthy and safe families.

NC Cooperative Extension helps make the work of our land-grant universities approachable and applicable to all North Carolinians, providing multiple points of access. They deliver research-based solutions directly into the hands of citizens. And for many people across our state, extension agents and specialists are their very first introduction our two land-grants: NC State and NC A&T.


Last, but certainly not least, I have a new family member living at the President’s House. To paraphrase Richard Nixon and Harry Truman, as they say, if you want a friend in Chapel Hill, get a dog. First puppy Davie is a sweet, fairly calm Australian Labradoodle weighing in at a hefty 10 pounds at only eight weeks. His name comes from the founder of our University, William Richardson Davie, who has a few more things around town bearing his name, including the beautiful painting in my house. Davie was also a signer of the Constitution. Learn more about him.

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