Russell M. Robinson oral history interview, 2013 February 22
Russell M. Robinson discusses his association with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which began when he played a minor role in the land acquisition for the current campus in the early 1960s. Mr. Robinson served as a member of the University's Board of Trustees beginning in 1987 when he filled an unexpired two-year term. He became chair of the board in 1989, coinciding with the arrival of James H. Woodward as the third chancellor of UNC Charlotte. Mr. Robinson briefly recalls the tenures of Chancellors’ D.W. Colvard and E.K. Fretwell before discussing the accomplishments of Chancellor Woodward, and in particular the physical expansion of the campus and the academic expansion of the curriculum to include doctoral programs. Mr. Robinson describes how Chancellor Woodward worked closely with the board during the process of creating a master plan for the expansion of the UNC Charlotte campus. He also discusses campus-wide academic planning under the leadership of Chancellor Woodward's Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Philip L. Dubois. He notes that the interdisciplinary aspect of the planning process was the first of its kind in the University of North Carolina System, and he describes how the Board of Trustees changed the mission statement of UNC Charlotte to prepare the way for introducing PhD programs. Mr. Robinson reflects on the changing image of the university, contrasting the historical perception of UNC Charlotte as a "commuter school" with the current view at the time of the interview. He laments the fact that some people in Charlotte still do not know what UNC Charlotte has to offer, even though the school is acquiring recognition from across the globe. Other topics covered by Mr. Robinson include Chancellor Woodward’s former residence in the Morrocroft neighborhood near Southpark Mall, efforts to establish a center city presence for the university starting with CityFair and the former Montaldo's building on N Tryon, and culminating in the successful new UNC Charlotte Center City building at E. 9th Street and Brevard, and anecdotal stories about UNC Charlotte’s Director of Athletics, Judy Rose and Dr. Woodward's wife, Martha Woodward.