ROSES to Holden Thorp, who was named last week as the new UNC chancellor.Thorp hasn't had a chance to do anything in his new job, of course, except give an excellent acceptance speech -- he doesn't actually start until July 1, when James Moeser steps down. But if past is prelude, Thorp will go great things at Carolina. At the tender age of 43, he's already almost absurdly accomplished, and his thick resume reflects the sort of person who used to be known as a Renaissance Man. He's an academic and an entrepreneur, a scientist and a musician. He jokes that he's had trouble holding down a job, but that's because he keeps getting promoted to a new office before he can get all his boxes unpacked in the last one. Fittingly for the former director of the Morehead Planetarium, he has been so successful that people tend to speak of him in astronomical terms: His rise has been "meteoric," and Moeser last week called him a "supernova."All of that brilliance and talent would go for naught if Thorp were to fail to understand the university's role as an institution designed to serve the people of North Carolina. But it is clear that he not only understands UNC's public service mission but fully supports it. He pledged last week to maintain the university's ties to the people and to keep higher education affordable. In Thorp, UNC has hired a man who has alwas though big, and it was immediately evident that his hopes and plans for the university are big, to say the least. The to-do list, he said, "is nothing less than the greatest problems of our time: Cure diseases, and get those cures to all the people who need them. Find and invent clean energy. Inspire students in our public schools. Feed 7 billion people. Describe the world, and replace conflict with understanding."Better get busy.
ROSES to a local senior care facility that launched a project to make Mother's Day special for some 100 senior moms in Orange County who might not otherwise have gotten much attention.The staff at Home Instead Senior Care created the initiative, dubbed Operation Mama-preciation. They contacted a number of senior residential facilities in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough to identify special moms who might, for any number of reasons, go un-honored on Mother's Day. The staff then surprised those moms last weekend with a visit and flowers. Flowers also were delivered to some Home Instead Senior Care clients who may not otherwise have been recognized on Mother's Day.This was the first year of Operation Mama-preciation. Organizers said they hope the project will prompt others to join in next year to make Mother's Day memorable for senior moms who might not otherwise have much to mark that day.
ROSES to the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group and Squid's restaurant, which once again provided a wonderful breakfast to celebrate local teachers and raise money for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation's fund to support teachers and staff. Parents bought breakfast tickets and roses to honor their children's teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group offered Squid's as the location and donated the breakfast through their generosity and the help of their vendors. The foundation, with the help of Whole Foods Market, organized and delivered the roses. Proceeds from the event will be used in the Teachers' First Fund to support programs for teachers and staff.