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For Immediate Release
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310 Owen Hall, Campus PO 1820
Asheville, NC 28804-8507
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Asheville Native Anne Ponder Installed as UNC Asheville's Sixth Chancellor
Following centuries-old academic traditions, Asheville native Anne Ponder was sworn in as the sixth chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville today. More than 1,200 guests joined students, faculty and staff on the University Quadrangle for the formal ceremony.
During her Installation Address, Chancellor Ponder focused on the themes of UNC Asheville’s mountain beginnings, its national academic caliber, and the power of the liberal arts to shape the future of the state and nation. She began by praising UNC Asheville’s visionary founders.
“What was begun in the years before the Great Depression as essential education for local folk became a premier educational opportunity for students throughout the region. Now UNC Asheville students come from all across the state, to North Carolina’s public liberal arts university known nationally for academic quality, especially in the liberal arts and sciences,” she said.
Quoting a poetry collection called “The Long Approach” by Maxine Kumin, Chancellor Ponder noted that “Nowhere in higher education is there a better example of how to best make the long approach -- find the long term solutions -- than in the liberal arts. . . .”
“. . . The liberal arts, and the interdisciplinary habit of mind, are more than what we do; it is who we are, and it is what we teach. It is our conviction that a liberal arts education, UNC-Asheville-style, is our greatest tool in uncovering the long-terms solutions to the most significant threats to the wellbeing of our state and our nation.”
She also spoke of Thomas Friedman, author of “The World is Flat,” and his three key requirements for those who will fill the jobs of the future: knowing how to learn, high emotional intelligence, and a facility for creativity and analysis in equal measure.
“We are hearing the urgent call from the most progressive economists, business leaders, and the thinkers of the next century for educated individuals who can collaborate, leverage, negotiate, synthesize, explain, reason and adapt,” Chancellor Ponder said. “These are all by-products, all demonstrable outcomes, of a liberal arts education. The excellence and appropriateness and power of a liberal arts education are not short term goals. The economy and the leverage provided by a liberal arts education is so crucial, it deserves the weight and force that is only available by taking ‘the long approach’.”
“Together we, the members of this vital community, will build a vision for UNC Asheville, a clarity of purpose that will sustain us. Together, we will refine our ideas, deepen our purpose, and hone our resolve. We, at UNC Asheville, will do what we do best, partnering with our university system and with our schools and community colleges to meet the needs of the great state of North Carolina.”
University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles, who presided over the Installation Ceremony, praised Chancellor Ponder’s ability to serve a region and a state that she calls home.
“In Anne Ponder you have gained a strong leader who has a deep understanding and love of this place, and who fully appreciates its vast potential for even greater service to the region and the state. . . . We are so blessed to have her back home in North Carolina. In the years ahead, she will both need and deserve your full support. I assure you she will have mine.”
Bowles also affirmed UNC Asheville’s unique role in state higher education.
“We have come together to celebrate this campus’ rich heritage and to affirm its unique mission as North Carolina’s only public liberal arts university,” President Bowles said. “All students here – no matter what their fields of study – share in a rigorous curriculum spanning the humanities, the natural sciences, and the arts. This shared experience challenges them to think critically. It guides them to express their ideas with clarity, and it encourages them to develop their own values with respect for all individuals. What better foundation for learning throughout life and for success in this knowledge-based global economy.
“All of us
take tremendous pride in the national recognition that this special
institution has earned in recent years. But, as Chancellor Ponder
well knows, I have very high expectations for even greater things to
come under the leadership of Anne Ponder.
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