Despite his institution’s name, Chancellor Phillip Dubois wants Iredell County residents to know that UNC Charlotte isn’t just interested in serving the needs of the Queen City – its mission is to serve the entire region.
“In terms of our research and the kinds of academic programs we offer, we’ve tried to think about serving the larger community by trying to align our academic program offerings, particularly those at the graduate level, with what’s going on with the economy locally,” he said.
“We try to produce people you can hire, and we’ve had recent success in placing our graduates in employment in this community.”
In illustrating the strong link between Iredell and UNC Charlotte, Dubois used a combination of history, statistics and charts in a lunch presentation to the Committee of 100, which Statesville Regional Development organized Wednesday at the Statesville Civic Center.
A total of 840 students from Iredell currently attend UNC Charlotte – including 102 first-time freshmen and 100 graduate and PhD students – and Dubois said that more Iredell students attend UNC Charlotte than any of the 15 other schools in the University of North Carolina system.
“We think both the proximity of UNC Charlotte to here, as well as the quality of the institution, are continuing to make us the campus of choice,” Dubois said.
“And we have lots of connections with this county beyond the students. We have about 3,000 folks in this community who have graduated from UNC Charlotte, we have 75 folks who currently work at the university and commute (from Iredell), and about 250 teachers in your school districts are products of the UNC Charlotte teacher-education program.”
Dubois began his visit to Iredell County in the morning and took the opportunity to consult with Mitchell Community College President Dr. Tim Brewer and take a tour of the college, which recently sent 142 transfer students to UNC Charlotte. Dubois also sat down to discuss issues with elected officials from Iredell County, Statesville and Troutman government, as well as local representatives to the N.C. General Assembly.
Following his presentation to the Committee of 100, Dubois traveled to Doosan Portable Power to take a tour and learn more about the company, which has an ongoing partnership with UNC Charlotte whereby students get real-world experience working with the company on their senior design projects.
“We’ve had a really good relationship with UNC Charlotte and we’d like to expand on it going forward. We’ve been doing a lot with bringing in their interns, and we’ve hired a lot of their engineers into our company,” President Mike Ballweber said.
“It’s important to have a strong local research university because we like to stay local and recruit locally as much as possible. People who are from the area tend to stay in the area, and there’s a pride in working for a hometown company, so we definitely see an advantage with that.”
Dubois concluded his visit to Iredell with a reception for alumni held at Twisted Oak American Bar & Grill that featured the presence of Brad Lambert, head coach of the Charlotte 49ers football team, which played its first season last year and finished 5-6 as an independent member of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.