Chancellor Moeser: It’s good to be good

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Chancellor Moeser’s main thesis from his September 6th State of the University remarks [via WCHL1360]:

…we can aspire for greatness … move from good to great … and be both great and good…

The speech was replete with references of being good, of moving from good to great both as an University and community member.

  • We have also talked about being good – good in the context of maintaining high ethical and moral values – goodness as critical to achieving greatness.

  • Over the past several years, we have talked about what it means to be a great university – to be the leading public university in America – striving for greatness.

    Jim Collins, author of the best-selling book Good to Great, defines greatness not as a function of circumstance. Greatness, he says, “is largely a matter of conscious choice.”

    Collins describes Carolina’s approach. We have made tough decisions and instilled discipline in our budget. Our priorities mark the way. We are driven to be better.

    Like Collins, we have a conviction that greatness is a journey, not a destination. The moment we think of ourselves as great, he says, we will have begun our slide into mediocrity. 2

    We have also talked about being good – good in the context of maintaining high ethical and moral values – goodness as critical to achieving greatness.

    The single most distinguishing feature of this University is its goodness – its core values of commitment to the people of North Carolina and the betterment of humankind. Charles Kuralt nailed it in his 1993 Bicentennial remarks when he said:

    “… Here we found something in the air. A kind of generosity, a certain tolerance, a disposition toward freedom of action and inquiry that has made of Chapel Hill, for thousands of us, a moral center of the world.”

  • Good enough is never good enough – not for an institution that aspires to be America’s leading public university. Going from good to great.

  • Leading with innovation. Going from good to great.

  • A University with a Strong Moral Center: Great and Good

    I turn now to the second part of my thesis, the noble idea that Carolina can be both great and good – in Kuralt’s words “a moral center of the universe,” a great public university committed to access and affordability, to service and engagement, and to the conviction that our mission includes the development of the heart, as well as the mind.

  • Today, we are the stewards of that great venture at the dawn of a new century and a world as new and daunting as the one Davie faced. We are called upon to make this University even greater – to go from good to great. We are also called on to nurture and nourish what it means to be a public university, to be both great and good. And we must adapt this great and noble institution to the 21st Century.

Why enumerate Chancellor Moeser’s calls for greatness?

Oh, a small attempt to remind UNC’s Carolina North Leadership Advisory Committee that they’re supposed to produce a plan that is more than “good enough” – that, instead, is great and worthy of our world-class research University.



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