Statements on June 30 Board of Trustees Action

Statement by Susan King
Dean, John Thomas Kerr Distinguished Professor
June 30, 2021

It has taken longer than I imagined, but I am deeply appreciative that the board has voted in favor of our school’s recommendation to tenure Nikole Hannah-Jones as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.

I knew that when the board reviewed her tenure dossier and realized the strength of her teaching, service and professional vision they would be moved to grant tenure.

She is a journalist’s journalist, a teacher’s teacher and a woman of substance with a voice of consequence. Hannah-Jones will make our school better with her presence. She will deepen the University’s commitment to intellectual integrity and to access for all.

A thank you to the greater Carolina community of students, faculty, staff and alumni who have stood by our school, the centrality of journalism to democracy, the ideals of the University — and to Hannah-Jones herself. This outpouring of support has reinforced the very principles of the nation’s first public university and will carry us forward.

Today, UNC’s motto — Lux Libertas — is not simply two Latin words. Light and liberty define the ideas that have guided the University through turbulence since 1789 and will continue to define us going forward.

Susan King
John Thomas Kerr Distinguished Professor


Statement by Joyce Fitzpatrick
President, Board of Advisers
June 30, 2021

We are delighted that distinguished alumna Nikole Hannah-Jones was tenured today as Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. It is a position she richly deserves, and the University will no doubt benefit greatly from her presence. I want to express my deep appreciation to the UNC-CH Board of Trustees for doing the right thing in granting her tenure. The history of the University of North Carolina is filled with debate, change and growth. At the end of the day, it almost always earns its reputation as “the light on the hill.” We welcome Hannah-Jones with open arms and look forward to her contributions to our students and faculty as we strive to be the best school of media and journalism in America.

Joyce Fitzpatrick
Chair, Board of Advisers


Statement by Ford Worthy
President, Foundation Board

June 30, 2021

I welcome the Board of Trustees’ decision, and I look forward to welcoming Nikole Hannah-Jones as the school’s tenured Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. As a new member of the school’s faculty, her presence — her background, her experiences, her expertise, her perspectives — will add meaningfully to the diversity of thought through which our students can best learn and grow into tomorrow’s leaders. Her presence among us will make UNC a better place.

Ford Worthy
President, Foundation Board


Statement by JulieAnn McKellogg
Co-chair, Alumni Board
June 30, 2021

I could not be more excited today to learn that Nikole Hannah-Jones has received tenure at UNC as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. While I believe this Board of Trustees vote took far too long, the journey we’ve taken to get here proves now more than ever that the University desperately needs the thought leadership and teachings of Nikole Hannah-Jones. I’m deeply grateful to Nikole for persevering despite the obstacles she’s been presented with in getting here.

JulieAnn McKellogg
Co-chair, Alumni Board