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May 2009

Pomp and promise

The day may have been rainy, but spirits were bright.

On May 5, Chancellor Linda P. Brady took her place as the university's 10th chancellor. While a number of cost-cutting measures were used for the installation, the essential traditions reigned. A processional line for the installation formed on College Avenue. Trumpets sounded, bagpipes bellowed and the color guard moved forward amid the drizzle. The spectacle of academics in colorful regalia marching down Spring Garden was no less stirring with a sea of umbrellas.

Chancellor Brady in the middle of an umbrella forest.

Chancellor Brady in the middle of an umbrella forest.

Once onstage in Aycock Auditorium, Brady was given enthusiastic greetings from UNC President Erskine Bowles and members of different groups representing the state, faculty, staff, students and alumni.

“I am here today to assure you, the UNCG community, the larger community in which we exist, and Chancellor Brady, in particular, that we stand ready to continue our best efforts in helping lead UNCG to heights never before achieved and, in some cases, never before imagined,” said Jeff Colbert '84, '86 MPA, Alumni Association president. “It's nice to be where we are. It's nice to know where we've been. It will be fun to see where we go.”

In Brady's installation response, titled “We Are One Great Unbroken Band: Honor the Past, Seize the Moment, Shape the Future,” she said the state and nation are at a critical moment in history — and that higher education must play a major role in solving society's problems.

“This is a significant moment in the history of the United States, in the history of higher education and in the life of UNCG,” Brady said. “How will we respond? We must approach the circumstances before us with a sense of urgency, but without panic; with a sense of confidence, but with the courage to embrace uncertainty. We must let the moment inspire us and we must commit to transformational change.

“There are decisive moments in our lives — both in the lives of people and in the lives of institutions — in which circumstances and often individuals have the opportunity to reinvent themselves, to build on history, culture and core values, and reshape one's relationship to the larger environment. I believe this is one of those times.”

During her speech, she also reflected on her first year at UNCG. “Over the last 10 months, people have said to me, ‘What a terrible time for you to take on this position with the economic challenges, budget cuts and tough decisions,’” Brady said. “I thought about that. And here is my response: This is the time for UNCG to be a leader. This is the moment. And higher education is the place to be in order to affect change.”

Want more? Read Brady's full remarks. See a slideshow of the day's memorable moments.





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