Opere thanked the board, Chancellor Carol Folt, the student body and his student government team — among others — for their support and acceptance.
“In many ways it is because of that acceptance that I believe and knew I was a Tar Heel born, even though I wasn’t a Tar Heel bred, I sure as hell will be a Tar Heel dead,” Opere said.
The meeting opened with remarks from Dwight Stone, the board’s chairperson, about legislation that will affect UNC.
Stone said a new law signed by Gov. Roy Cooper will decrease the membership of the UNC-system Board of Governors from 32 voting members to 24 by 2019, and the trustees need to prepare for these changes.
“My hope is that each of us as trustees will continue to place a high priority on maintaining the existing relationships and starting new ones as needed,” Stone said.
Stone praised UNC’s faculty for attracting funding, such as money provided in the
“We need to help everyone understand what is at stake here,” he said.
Trustees also approved the fee for parking on campus at night.
“The biggest issue for discussion and presentation was the parking permits and fees, which included a one percent increase for the first three years, the years 2017 to 2020, in addition to the night parking permit fee in 2019,” said Haywood Cochrane, vice chairperson of the board.
The board unanimously approved motions to add 5,000 square feet to Rams Head Dining Hall and new stands for the soccer and lacrosse teams.
A presentation by faculty, including Hans Paerl and Mike Piehler from the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, highlighted the coastal research the institute has conducted into topics including denitrification by oysters.
Folt said North Carolina plays home to some of the most important coastal research in the United States.
“I think many people don’t understand it’s about fisheries, it’s about building new industries, it’s about getting rid of toxins in the environment, and most of these programs are very deeply embedded in local community,” she said.
While no pledges of research contributions have been made at the moment, Folt said she believes people understand the value of research conducted at UNC.
“We want to give them the information that may be powerful for them ...” Folt said. “We’ve had several visits from both senators who’ve come to campus, gone to visit the research areas, talked with our faculty.”
Louise Toppin, chairperson of the Department of Music, spoke in front of the board about the recently completed renovations to Hill Hall and the Kenan Music Scholars Program. Toppin’s presentation included performances from current music scholars.
The board went into closed session at 11:30 a.m. for an hour and 39 minutes.