ROSES to Betsy Taylor, who retired last week after 30 years as graduation coordinator at UNC. Her rather mundane title doesn't begin to cover the complexity and importance of the job, or the compassionate patience with which she did it. She was the person who shepherded students in the College of Arts & Sciences through the process of making sure they had all their requirements in place in order to graduate. Over the course of 30 years and some 50,000 students, she helped young people negotiate problems ranging from missing credits to poverty and domestic violence. She helped them get over the hurdles and made sure they had everything in order so they could receive their degrees and move on the next phase of their lives. Her colleagues honored her on Wednesday with a "graduation" party herself. They praised the way her calming presence helped students ease their jitters, and presented her with a "Worker of Wonders" degree signed by Chancellor Holden Thorp and UNC System President Erskine Bowles.
ROSES to the Ackland Art Museum, which last week received $1.25 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand the museum's role in educating university students.The New York foundation's gift is a $1 million challenge grant to establish an endowment to strengthen the curricular role of the museum's collections and programs, and $250,000 for use over three years to support the endeavor while matching funds are raised.It's a wonderful gift for a treasure in the community, and it will help the Ackland continue to build its role as both an educational resource and a cultural repository.
ROSES to Mount Carmel Baptist Church, which recently celebrated its 205th anniversary.Any institution that survives more than two centuries in a nation that is barely that old itself is remarkable. Generations have worshipped there, which is a testament to the wisdom, solace and community that the church offers its congregation.Happy birthday, Mount Carmel, and we wish you well in your next 205 years.
ROSES to the town of Carrboro and Mayor Mark Chilton, who recently struck a blow for transparency in government.Chilton recently set up an e-mail account and a Google group where anyone can read official correspondence. Official correspondence is anything sent to and from public officials in connection with their jobs of running the government. It includes e-mails, notes, letters, complaints and questions. With a few exceptions, such as personnel matters, if it has to do with the public's business, then it has to be made available for the public to see. This is fundamental to open and honest government. If anybody can come in off the street and look through the government's correspondence, the government had better keep its hand clean.Few governments make it easy, though. Often they make you jump through hoops.Chilton gets it, though, and now Carrboro's affairs are there for anyone to see.