Anita Brown-Graham

Download PDF

Carolina celebrated University Day on Saturday, which commemorates the laying of the cornerstone of Old East on October 12, 1793.  The theme of yesterday’s celebration was service to North Carolina.

Many of the speakers mentioned President Edward Kidder Graham, who was responsible for describing and implementing Carolina’s public service mission over 100 years ago.  They quoted his intention “to make the campus coextensive with the boundaries of the state.”  Graham believed that the problems of North Carolina should be the subjects of faculty research and service.  He directly influenced Albert Coates.  Coates worked for him following graduation and before heading to law school, and Graham’s commitment to public service planted a seed that inspired Coates to later create the Institute of Government.

President Edward Kidder Graham

Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz did a wonderful job of describing Carolina’s commitment to the people of North Carolina.  I’ve had several conversations with Kevin about public service, and his commitment is heartfelt and strong.  The Tar Heel Bus Tour is hitting the road this coming week as a part of his vision for reconnecting the University with the state.  Kevin is working hard to strengthen Carolina’s partnership with North Carolina.

Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz

The University Day program this year was different from past programs.  Kevin made remarks, but he didn’t offer a formal address.  Instead, he introduced three Carolina faculty members and their partners to illustrate how we are serving North Carolina.

Our own Anita Brown-Graham was one of the featured speakers.  In addition to providing an overview of the School’s work, she described how ncIMPACT is making a difference through the Opioid Response Project.  The audience also heard from one of our community partners on the project, Duane Holder, Assistant County Manager in Cumberland County.  Duane described how our project has brought local stakeholders together with a renewed energy and commitment to tackling the opioid problem.  He also shared the good news that they have leveraged the School’s assistance to land a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that will make the county’s opioid-related work more sustainable.

Anita talked about how ncIMPACT is bringing people together across disciplines to work on complex policy problems.  In addition to our own faculty at the School, she mentioned involving faculty from other units at Carolina, including the School of Pharmacy.  Anita’s presentation prompted the new Dean at Pharmacy (on the job for only 12 days), Angela Kashuba, to reach out and say that she “was inspired by [Anita’s] bbwords and the mission of ncIMPACT.”  She had looked at the website after the ceremony and contacted Anita about the possibility of working together to serve the state of North Carolina.

Anita also talked about her partnership with UNC-TV and Civic Federal Credit Union to launch ncIMPACT, the television program that shares how we are helping public officials and their communities.  It reaches 99% of the homes in North Carolina and the second season launches in February.

In addition to distinguished alumni awards, the other award given at University Day is a public service award named for Edward Kidder Graham.  The first recipient was our own David Owens.  This year it was given to Giselle Corbie-Smith, a faculty member in the Department of Social Medicine who has done remarkable engaged scholarship around poverty and rural health.

Professor Giselle Corbie Smith

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Carolina Center for Public Service.  There was a celebration on Saturday evening that included comments from Interim Chancellor Guskiewicz, as well as Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity.  It was inspiring to hear Reckford talk about the importance of the Center in helping students and faculty carry out our service mission.  The event also honored Lynn Blanchard, the Center’s long-time Director.  Lynn exemplifies and promotes the culture of service at Carolina, and this University’s reputation for public service owes much to her hard work and commitment over the years.

Lynn Blanchard

Special thanks to the incomparable Alecia Matthews, Su Dong (Accountant in the Business and Finance Division), and Kristin Pawlowski (Associate Director of Alumni and Employee Relations for the MPA Program) for attending University Day and marching with me behind the School of Government banner.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.