T. LaFontine "Fountain" Odom oral history interview, 2013 March 5
T. LaFontine (Fountain) Odom Sr. discusses his association with UNC Charlotte, which began when he was a student at Charlotte College. He specifically recalls how Bonnie Cone helped him finish his degree at Charlotte College in 1957 and how she also helped get him into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his B.A. in 1960 and his J.D. at the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1962. Mr. Odom describes his time as a member of the North Carolina Senate and his association with UNC Charlotte during the tenure of Chancellor James H. Woodward. He recalls a proposal he made to the North Carolina budget in the early 1990's relating to the raising of student fees for the Student Activity Center at UNC Charlotte, noting that this was something the students of the school voted for. He also discusses political differences between the eastern and western parts of North Carolina and between rural and urban constituents. Mr. Odom continues with a discussion of the Southern Piedmont Legislative Caucus and its significance in relation to UNC Charlotte In particular he notes the support from the caucus for the 2000 North Carolina Higher Education Improvement Bonds. He also describes how Chancellor Woodward was able to avoid potential turf battles with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University by focusing UNC Charlotte's first doctoral programs toward the promotion of economic development of the Charlotte region. He concludes the interview discussing the impact of these doctoral programs on UNC Charlotte, and speculating on the negative impacts on the university - and region – had they not begun.