Local News

UNC Spending $280,000 to Inaugurate New President

Posted April 28, 1998

— The inauguration of UNC President Molly Broad is costing more than last year's ceremony to swear in Gov. Jim Hunt, a cost pumped up primarily by public television production, says the chairman of the inaugural committee

Mrs. Broad's two-day inaugural, which was to conclude tonight with a ceremony at North Carolina State University's Reynolds Coliseum, will cost an estimated $280,045, said Jack Cecil, a member of the UNC Board of Governors put in charge of planning the event. About $135,000 will be paid through private donations and the rest by the state-supported university system.

The private donations came from 20 to 30 individuals and corporations, Cecil said.

``Let me put it in perspective, this is only the 15th president of the entire university and only the third since the consolidated system was in place,'' Cecil said. ``What we wanted to do was introduce Mrs. Broad to the entire state and use telecommunications available through UNC-TV. When you're using technology, it just costs more money.''

The technology also fits well with Mrs. Broad's goal of reaching more state residents through television and computers for education.

It cost the state $107,258 for Hunt's inauguration in 1997, when he was sworn in on the steps of Broughton High School in Raleigh, and that figure didn't include private donations. Hunt's inaugural cost about $80,000 in 1993, according to the governor's office.

Things are more expensive and the cost includes items like an academic convocation that already was budgeted but was incorporated into the inauguration, Cecil said Tuesday.

Tonight's televised inauguration will appear on the UNC-TV network and be the centerpiece of parties on each of the 16 UNC campuses. It fits nicely with Mrs. Broad's goal of expanding educational opportunity through technology like television and computers, he said.

It also is the most expensive item at $146,200.

The costs didn't strike a happy chord with some state lawmakers.

``I find working with Molly Broad to be refreshing,'' said state Rep. Gene Arnold, chairman of the House subcommittee on education appropriations.

``She's entitled to her day in the sun, but I'm not sure the sun needs to be all that bright. If you can inaugurate a governor for $107,000, it would seem you could inaugurate the president of a university for the same amount of money,'' said Arnold, R-Nash.

State House Speaker Harold Brubaker, R-Randolph, called the costs ``way of out line.''

State Sen. Beverly Perdue, co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said she supported Mrs. Broad's inaugural efforts and didn't know what such events should cost.

At an invitation-only dinner Tuesday, Mrs. Broad's former boss expressed admiration for Mrs. Broad's dedication to make higher education financially accountable - a trait he said more leaders need.

Barry Munitz, the former chancellor of the California State University system, where Broad served as vice chancellor, counseled North Carolina leaders to appreciate the new university president.

``You have the country's strongest, most insightful and courageous pillar of leadership in higher education,'' Munitz said. ``Look after her.'' From staff and wire reports.

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