|Water Institute director delivers University Day speech|
|Sunday, October 14, 2012|
Jamie Bartram came to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 219th birthday to talk about water.
“It may seem an odd focus for a University Day speech. It’s not really the stuff to provoke wild academic excitement,” said Bartram, director of The Water Institute at UNC. “And as long as it flows from the showerhead, pours from the faucet, flushes the toilet and maybe waters the yard, we barely register its presence.”
The keynote speaker for University Day, Oct. 12, 2012, Bartram is the Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. He has more than 20 years of experience in international policy, research and advisory work for public health and disease prevention, especially in relation to environment and health and water supply and sanitation.
Bartram said that before he left the World Health Organization for UNC two years ago, he had heard Carolina was a place where people supported one another and worked together.
“I would like to make the case that the importance of water, combined with this defining characteristic of our University community, offers an exceptional opportunity for a world-leading, or world-changing, academic endeavor,” he said
Earlier this year Bartram attended the U.S. State Department's announcement of the U.S. Water Partnership, a public-private partnership focused on finding solutions to global water accessibility challenges. The Water Institute is a founding member.
He said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had recognized water as an opportunity to save millions of lives, feed the hungry, empower women, advance national security interests and protect the environment.
“The secretary of state sees water as a critical opportunity; and Holden [Thorp], you set the bar for us when you described ‘our to-do list as nothing less than the greatest challenges of our time.’ You set the bar, and we jumped.”
UNC has set a two-year academic theme calling for the campus to mobilize around issues of water. In accordance with the “Water in Our World” theme, UNC will develop new courses, expand interdisciplinary research initiatives, celebrate water through creative works and join the forces of the humanities and sciences to confront today’s water challenges.
“In a university that can both celebrate water and study water, that benefits from faculty, staff and students that pull together, and thanks to the giants on whose shoulders we stand, we have the opportunity to be the academic leader for a defining challenge of the 21st century,” Bartram said.
University Day celebrates the laying of the cornerstone of Old East, the nation’s first state university building, in 1793, and the beginning of public higher education in the United States.
The day that honors higher education and everything it stands for was a fitting setting for the University community to gather as one of the fiercest advocates of public higher education, UNC President Emeritus William Friday, had died earlier that morning at 92.
Friday served with passion, integrity and an abiding commitment to justice, said Chancellor Holden Thorp. “He was tireless in his efforts to make higher education available to people of all walks of life, for their own benefit and the state’s commitment to prosperity,” he said.
As members of the platform party each dedicated part of their greetings to the memory of Friday, many also shared their support for Thorp, who will return to the faculty at the end of this academic year.
For the full text of Bartram’s speech, visit http://uncnews.unc.edu/content/view/5637/68/
CAROLINA IN THE NEWSUNC Loses a B-School Dean, Gains a Provost
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is losing its dean, Jim Dean, who has been appointed executive vice chancellor and provost for the university effective July 1. The appointment was announced to the campus community on May 23 in an email from Chancellor Holden Thorp and Chancellor-Elect Carol Folt, following a vote by the University’s Board of Trustees earlier in the day.