A group of community leaders in the Wilmington area has placed a full page ad in local newspapers for this weekend in support of embattled UNC Wilmington Chancellor Gary Miller.
WECT recently investigated tensions at the university over the last couple years stemming from the suspension of a fraternity on campus that has ties to Governor Pat McCrory's office. It is believed to be one of the reasons Miller is currently seeking other employment at institutions in New York and Wisconsin. You can read that past coverage here: http://bit.ly/1lF5hEW
The ad, set to run this weekend, is an open letter to UNC System President Thomas Ross, the North Carolina Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees at UNCW, imploring them to focus on the achievements of the university under Chancellor Miller.
Pete Hexter, a partner in Brax Fundraising and the founder of the Landfall Tradition, which annually benefits the golf programs at UNCW, is leading the ad campaign in support of Miller.
"There are many people in this community that have rallied around the issue of Gary Miller's departure. And I think that all of us who have gotten involved are heavily invested in this university both financially and emotionally," Pete Hexter said Wednesday. "And we think that his departure is not a step in the right direction for UNCW."
Hexter said the co-signers of the letter are hoping for a new start for the board and Miller to lead UNCW from this point. He says he doesn't believe Miller wants to leave the Wilmington area. If the chancellor does leave, he would have the shortest tenure since the first leader of what was then called Wilmington College.
"I think that if anybody looks at the situation that has evolved and where some of the places the Chancellor has made applications for new opportunities, it would be pretty easy to surmise that his preference would be to stay at UNCW," Hexter said.
Local marketing executive Toyne Gray, who has a child getting ready to attend the university and another who graduated from UNCW, signed the letter. She says Miller's departure would be a loss.
"I think within the community and the outreach to the community, that's very significant. To my knowledge it hasn't happened before from the university to the community, specifically to the black community at this level," Toyne Gray said. "And that I assure you is going to be a huge loss."
With the publication of the ad, Hexter says the group of leaders plans to be more vocal in it support of Miller. He says this situation makes it difficult to support the university.
"I can't speak for anybody else outside of myself, but it would definitely make me look and think twice about where I was going to go as far as supporting UNCW over the next few years," Hexter said.
The text of the ad follows (Source: Greater Wilmington Business Journal) :
An Open Letter to President Ross (UNC System);
the North Carolina Board of Governors;
and the UNCW Board of Trustees:
In recent days, there has been much attention paid to possible reasons for UNCW Chancellor Gary Miller's interest in leaving UNCW for other leadership opportunities. We would like to respectfully request that you FOCUS your attention to the reasons this community needs him to stay. Under Chancellor Miller's leadership and drive, UNCW has soared to new heights. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and The Marine Biotechnology Center
(MARBIONC) have opened and are flourishing, putting Wilmington on the map as a rising hub of regional innovation and economic development. With a unique public-private partnership, Chancellor Miller initiated UNCW's online education model for nursing students - the first of its kind in the state. He has ushered in a new era for UNCW Athletics, including a tremendous rise in community support for our student-athletes and the development of an impressive facilities plan. In December the university, under Chancellor Miller, attained a rare "positive" outlook from Moody's Investor Service - despite its "negative" outlook for higher education as a whole. Chancellor Miller's vision inspired the university's strategic action plan and will ensure continued progress and growth during this critical time for the university and the UNC system. His dedication to "the journey of learning" led to his support for ETEAL, an applied learning model created and sustained by UNCW's world-class faculty. Chancellor Miller has dedicated his time
here to elevating UNCW's academics, athletics, student services, and fiscal efficiency. He has dared us all to soar, and UNCW's faculty, staff, students and our community have embraced this challenge. We believe in Chancellor Miller and his leadership and vision. We ask you to stand behind him, as this community does, as he leads UNCW to even greater achievement — and the long-term success that our current and future students deserve.
Dr. Robert E. Tyndall - Patricia D. Tyndall - Hugh MacRae, III - Fred Meyers - Celia Rivenbark - Judy & Mort Neblett - Vance &
Porter Young - Eric & Jean Rosenberg - Fred Davenport - Anne Harrison Murchison - Karen & Lee Crouch - Reggie Honbarrier -
John Starling - Shaun Olsen - Becky O'Daniell - Eugene Davis - Senator Franklin L. Block - Dick Jones - Alley Hart - Rocco
Quaranto - Peter & Jane Hexter - Lynn and Tim Meeker - Dorothy S. DeShields - Sheila Boles - Lisa Cunningham - Deloris &
Nick Rhodes - Melissa Gallison - Marilyn & Howard Bollinger - Lynda and John Turpin - Tom Baker - Jim Wallace - Peter Starr -
Alan Toll - Toyne Gray - Nancy & James E. Moore - Donald Hayes - Roger Johnson - Tish & Tom Looney - Linda U. Smith -
Michelle and Al Parker - Frank Tokes - Wendy Guillou - Larry Nelson - Rob Zapple - Nan Graham - Ed Alexander - Tony
Harrington - Gaye and Tom Rowland - Dr. Nathaniel Creighton - Robert Sharp - Michael McWhorter - Don Bullard - Michael
Satrazemis - Ken Weeden - Dr. Richard Nasca - Lorie Sprately - Ann & Jim Hively - Gregory A. Uhl - Nancy Rodilosso - Lucian
C. Jones - Kevin Hay - Lanna Ford Winneberger - Norman Mustafa - Hanna Holt - Margaret Smith - Larry Boyd - Diane Avery -
Maggie Warner - Dixie Andrews Smith - Susan Habas - Estell & Bobby Lee Harrison - Karen & Bruce Gibson - Peter Grear -
Adam Shay - Janice & Alvah Bohannon - Eileen McConville - Myra & Owen Wexler - George Sagen - Wendy Rhodes - Peter
Dallow - Julienne B. Orr - Jim Smith - Dallas Romanowski - Jack Mills - Jody Carmichael - Chiquita Prestwood - Howell S.
Graham - Bertha Boykin Todd - William C. Mattocks III - Steven A. Fontana, J.D. - Tony Rivenback - Mary Branch - Dr. Marvin
Hage - Marie Pierre Field - Kathy Murchison - Dr. Jason Field - Wallace Lambert - Rodney Perry - Michael Haas - Louise F.
McColl - Avery & Dixie Wilmeth - William F. King - Kay Besanson - Patrick Boykin - Laura & Patrick Stoy - Amanda K Miars -
Dr. Andre R. Billaud - Lawrence Smith - Marion Mayes - Joseph Hou - Phil and Bea Stewart - Dr. John Stikes - Betty Holden
Stikes - Andrew & Hathia Sikes - Terry Reilly - Tom Naylon - Harvey Wright - Mary M. Gornto - G. Deanes Gornto - Rich Novak
- Carole M. Bohrer - Geneva Reid - Anne S. York - Aggie Chamberlin - Paula Rice - Stephanie Haley - Cedric Dickerson
Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.
322 Shipyard Boulevard