Published: March 28, 2013
There has been a lot of discussion about downsizing the University of North Carolina system. Rethinking the direction of the system makes a lot of sense. I say this as a graduate of two of the largest universities of the system, and I understand what an education means.
The best example of why North Carolina invests in its universities is the impetus behind the establishment of NCSU. After more than 100 years of poor farming practices, N.C., once the fourth largest state in the union, experienced a mass exodus because the land was used up. NCSU was established to help solve that and other vexing problems facing the state.
Bill Friday often reminded attendees of the system’s universities that millions of people living in poverty in N.C. were subsidizing their education. He felt that attendees should be honor-bound to pay back their benefactors.
Somewhere along the way, with the big athletic programs and huge administrative and faculty salaries, we have lost our way. We need to balance the needs of all the people in the state with the legitimate need for affordable advanced education, cutting edge research to attract industry and tackling specific problems unique to North Carolina.