Gaber event

The University held an event on campus to celebrate Sharon L. Gaber becoming our fifth chancellor.

Initially supposed to be held in fall 2020 after Chancellor Gaber joined the University in July 2020, the event had over 600 people in attendance on Tuesday, April 19.

"A lot of people said it represented our university's personality in a better way because it wasn't the formal sort of stuffy cap and gown installation," said Gaber. "It was more celebratory and inclusive, and we had legislators there. Everybody was proud to be a part of it."

Members from the Board of Trustees, the Alumni association, the Student Government Association and other school figures spoke on behalf of Gaber and the University at the event. Peter Hans, UNC system president, also gave Gaber the Chancellor's Medallion.

"Peter Hans came and gave me the chancellor's medallion, put it over my head and spoke about how he views the important role of UNC Charlotte as the Urban Research University," said Gaber. "I have the good fortune of meeting with him monthly and making sure that our goals align with the system's goals, vision and things like accessibility for students to get a higher education degree, affordability and reducing student debt. So we're very aligned, and I'm glad he could make it."

The Alumni Board of Directors gave Gaber a 49er ring. In addition, the staff donated a bench to her outside of Atkins Library and donated a collection of Urban Planning books to the library.

Since Gaber has been the university's Chancellor for two years, she and her communications team wanted the event to be more of a celebration of the school and its accomplishments.

"We decided because I've been here nearly two years that it was an installation, but it was really a celebration of the university and [moving] forward with our strategic plan," said Gaber.

During the event, Truist bank announced that they would invest 5.3 million dollars in the University. In addition, Gaber announced that with the help of her fundraising and the money they saved on the event, she raised over $100,000 for a university scholarship.

Since Gaber started amid the pandemic, she had only met most people in attendance virtually.

"I started here in July 2020," said Gaber. "I did a bunch of Zoom, and I met people that way. Now I'm meeting them in person at the event. A couple of people came up to me, and they said, 'Well, I met you via Zoom, but I haven't seen you in person.' People gave me hugs and said, 'It's great to meet you in person, and the people here are wonderful.'"

After the speeches, all the attendees went to the Barnhardt Student Activity Center to help volunteer to put together care packages for local nonprofits, including Niner University Elementary.

"We were putting together bags of needed items for different nonprofits, including our own Niner University Elementary, to be able to help those students who have needs," Gaber said. "So we're pleased to not only have a great day at an installation but also be able to help others, not on campus. Along the way, our students, faculty and staff showed up to put together those bags, which was really nice."

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