BROWSE BY:     Title Number Subject Creator Digital Content

Interview with David C. Girardot, March 25, 2009 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

pdf icon Get PDF Version
Interview with David C. Girardot, March 25, 2009
March 25, 2009
David retired from the Army in 1985, and after an association with Ohio Northern University and Old Dominion University, he moved to Wilmington with wife Donna and joined UNCW in 1994 as Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities. He retired from this position to join a consulting firm doing business with the UNC system, commuting 2 years to Pembroke, and in 2005 again became Vice Chancellor for Facilities. He talks of changes made in technology to accommodate the students and faculty, changes planned for existing and new facilities, concerns saving green spaces, use of multiple spaces for the community, pride in development of the state of the art Education and Nursing buildings, expansion of physical fitness and Business, and Allied Health; a new concept. He is hands on, often working week-ends, and wouldn't have it any other way.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Girardot, David C. Interviewer: Jones, Carroll Date of Interview: 3/25/2009 Series: SENC Notables Length 50 minutes

Jones: Today is Wednesday, March 25, 2009. I'm Carroll Jones with Erin Boyle, and we're with the Randall Library Special Collections, Oral History Project, in the Helen Hagen Room of Special Collections at UNCW. I guess nobody would have a doubt where we are after all of that. Our special guest this morning is David Girardot, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. Is that the correct title?

Girardot: No.

Jones: No, sorry. We'll come to that. Maybe you'd better correct me right now.

Girardot: I am the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities.

Jones: Well, that sounds good too.

Girardot: (laughs)

Jones: (laughs) Okay. For facilities. Just as important. Dave retired from UNCW once, but our chancellor, Ms. DePaolo, a very persuasive lady and a smart businesswoman, and she convinced him that he was badly needed. So we're glad you're back. David, thank you so much for joining us this morning. And before we talk about UNCW, we want to hear about you, where you're from and that sort of thing. What brought you to Wilmington is the N degree here. So go ahead.

Girardot: Well, I was born in the Midwest, in Peoria, Illinois. My folks moved out to San Francisco. I probably lived there the longest, I guess. Had a career in the service, in the Army specifically. Left the Army in 1985. And got into this business actually.

Jones: Back then?

Girardot: Right.

Jones: Wow.

Girardot: Actually, I got a job with a university in the Midwest, Ohio Northern. I was there for about three and a half years. And took a job at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Jones: Mm-hm. Know that.

Girardot: And Donna and I had always wanted to get closer to the water. So when the opportunity came up down here in Wilmington, I applied for the job and got it. And that was in 1994.

Jones: Okay.

Girardot: And I spent six and a half great years here, and then decided to retire. Went into consulting.

Jones: What did you do consulting about?

Girardot: Well, actually, I started out with consulting with small business people, which usually boiled down to getting a loan to solve some of their problems.

Jones: Gee, that's still happening, isn't it?

Girardot: That's right, that's right. And I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but it gradually evolved into consulting on university facility matters. And during that time, I guess my principal customer was Pembroke. I started out with one day there, and they gradually expanded that and finally said, "Well, this is ridiculous, why don't we just create a position for you over here?"

Jones: Well now, were you commuting there? Or how did you work this out?

Girardot: I got an apartment over there. And I would drive up early Monday morning, stay there through Thursday, drive back to Wilmington Thursday night. So that was when the--I guess I was there for about two years. And the university here called and asked if I'd be interested in coming back. So thinking about the commute and everything, I thought "Well, why not?" So I came back here in 2005, actually, and I've been here ever since.

Jones: Oh really? Okay. All right. Well, you've been back here, at UNCW, in 2000. Okay. When you were here, let's say you were in the same position or close position when you first came here in 1994?

Girardot: Yeah. It was basically the same position.

Jones: All right.

Girardot: I think my title was Assistant Vice Chancellor then.

Jones: Can you tell us more about what this whole university plant was like? What the town was like? What were you trying to accomplish at that point, and what was the university's goal at that point?

Girardot: Yeah. The university at that time was really in the throes of evolving from basically a typical small college or university into a medium-sized institution. And they had just established this job that I came into for the purpose of getting all of the various functions of the facility group together. In other words, getting the maintenance and the planning and the capital projects groups all together. So that was supposed to be my role. And what that really amounted to was to build up the construction division. At that time, there had been some talk in the legislature about coming up with a large bond issue for the university system. Facilities throughout the system were badly in need of renovation, expansion, and so forth.

Jones: What year was this?

Girardot: That was 1994 I think.

Jones: '94?

Girardot: When I got here. And I worked a little bit on coming up with a proposed program, but the politics of the situation didn't bear fruit at the time. And so there really wasn't that much effort put towards coming up with a plan. About 1995 was when we really started working on the proposed plan for expansion here, and worked on it basically until the bond issue was passed in 2000. When it came right down to it, we did most of the work on that basically just the year before the bond referendum was passed. And that, of course, that bond issue really changed the whole complexion of the university and allowed us to grow into what we are now. Our portion of the appropriation, of which in total was, I believe $3.1 billion.

Jones: Ooh, that was the total of the whole amount?

Girardot: That was the total for the university system, right?

Jones: System. Wow.

Girardot: Our portion of that was about 110 million. And with that, we had of course a number of projects where we established completely new facilities, and a number of projects that entailed the renovation of existing facilities.

Jones: Now this plan, if I remember correctly, I would see artist's renderings of a map or where certain things were going to go. And that lasted for a long time, with not a shovel being turned over.

Girardot: Right. We had an original master plan for the university, and it was revised considerably in 1995. And basically, the next revision wasn't until two years ago. So all of the bond projects were based on the master plan of 1995.

Jones: Let me ask you a couple of questions that I don't know the answer to. I doubt anybody else does either that would be watching this. How are these projections made? To come up with a dollar figure and to determine what buildings from the ground up are going to be used and which buildings would have a priority in being upgraded. Can you talk a little bit about that without getting terribly, terribly technical? It's just, we've had a lot of building going on. They're beautiful buildings, and they're needed. So many other things are too. But how is the priority arranged?

Girardot: Well, basically, construction supports the academic mission of the university. And our facilities plan comes from the academic strategic plan. And that's what we try to provide the support for that. That's basically where that comes from. Mixed into that of course is student support type facilities. And as our student population grows, we have to expand those facilities also. So that's how the, for instance, the new student union complex came into existence. That's how the recreation center came into being, and the reason why we're tripling the size of it now.

Jones: That's amazing, but that is needed.

Girardot: Mm-hmm. Very much so. Actually, I'm sure you've heard this alot of times before, but we actually have less academic space per student than any of the other schools in the system.

Jones: I didn't know that.

Girardot: Except I think Charlotte is tied with us.

Jones: Really? Charlotte has a lot of space to grow though.

Girardot: Well, they do, but it's not keeping up with their growth in the student population. So in any event, I guess the answer to the question is, the whole facilities plan evolves from the stated academic need. And that's how we prioritized what we did as far as both establishment of new facilities and renovation of existing facilities so that we could better accommodate that need.

Jones: Where do you come into the picture? You get a general overview or plan of what is projected? Are you part of that projection? Or how is it determined what comes first? I know that in adding higher degrees, master's programs and so forth, and they're aiming toward a goal which is probably going to go on for a long, long time. But at the same time, I can remember when this place was known as UNC by the Sea.

Girardot: Right.

Jones: And they had the marine people all off in-which was their shining light really. And now it has become I think more academic. I'm blown away.

Girardot: The catalog for the school when I first came here.

Jones: Yeah.

Girardot: The cover of it had a convertible Mustang with three students in it and three surfboards sticking out of the back.

Jones: I'm sure.

Girardot: The back of it, it was great.

Jones: I'm sure. We had a couple of neighbors in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. When their kids were in high school they would babysit for us. And all three of them came down here to UNC by the Sea. I said, "But what are you studying? What are you studying, besides surfboarding?" And I thought, "That's disgusting. You know, really disgusting." They're out of state, and of course, it didn't cost a whole lot. And they loved it. They absolutely loved the lifestyle down here. And I remember the parents of one said that she wished she could do something about it, but it was their period. So that's how everybody thought about it.

Girardot: Well, I can certainly sympathize with that. I know if I'd have known this place was in existence when I was going to school, I never would have been an engineer.

Jones: Well see, this is just it. Well anyway, we're getting beyond it. But it's come a long way.

Girardot: It has.

Jones: So back to your particular part in the renovations and the expansion.

Girardot: Well, I guess one thing is that the way we handled the bond program is pretty different from how we are able to handle subsequent projects. And of course, the reason was that we were given all this money at one time. And we used-there had been an original study, which I participated in, actually was the principal from the university here, which was the Eva Klein study. I don't know whether you've heard of that or not.

Jones: No.

Girardot: But the legislature had hired Eva Klein Associates to do a study to determine what the real needs of the university system were. And so Eva worked with each one of the universities. And of course, I worked with her directly in establishing what our needs were. And the original plan was for an appropriation of $6.9 billion. And we finally determined that that was a little bit much for the state to swallow at that time. And so that's why the thing was divided up into phase one and phase two. Phase one, as I mentioned, was about 3.1 billion. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten to phase two yet. So we still have a lot of needs that are enumerated in our plan for phase two.

Jones: What's in the future, do you think? I mean what part of this phase two?

Girardot: Well, basically the principal thing is that our infrastructure badly needs an upgrade. We've been able to pick and choose some projects and get them done as funding became available. But there's still an awful lot to do in the area of primary electrical distribution, storm water distribution, sewage. All of the basics need to be expanded. As I say, the way we've been handling it so far is it was just doing enough to support whatever facility we were constructing at the time.

Jones: Dave, when you had everything, plans on paper, you could look at various buildings, both those that needed upgrading and those to be built. Was it a case when money became tight, and of course it's always tight, was it a case of picking and choosing the best at the time, rather than starting from point A and going B, C, D all the way down to Z?

Girardot: Well yeah, there were a lot of adjustments that had to be made. For instance, the timing of the estimates that the state used was kind of unfortunate. Because there was a two-year time lag basically between when the estimates were made and when the appropriation finally came about. And so unfortunately, a lot of these things were badly out of whack based on the escalating cost of construction at the time. So what we had to do was basically just flat eliminate some of the projects, transfer the money that was to be used for that particular project to one that was deemed to be more expedient at the time.

Jones: Mm-hm. Yeah. Does this have any effect on-people are always yelling about green space.

Girardot: Mm-hmm.

Jones: And yet it seems to my uneducated mind thinking that if you're going to build, you're going to have students, you've got to give up something. And there's still a lot of green space here. What there isn't is parking.

Girardot: That's right.

Jones: And has there been some kind of antithesis toward building a parking deck and perhaps charging to cover the cost of a building where everybody could go? Where a lot of people could park their cars?

Girardot: Well, of course the big bugaboo-

Jones: Or is that just an ugly thing on campus?

Girardot: Not at all. The big bugaboo about parking is that it's a self-funded operation, has to be basically, according to state law. So we've always been rather hesitant in expanding the parking fee enough so that it would cover something like this. We finally got to the point where we had to bite the bullet, and that's why we're constructing the parking deck out there now.

Jones: Where is that?

Girardot: That is-

Jones: You can tell I don't get around too much.

Girardot: --basically right next to where we're constructing the new nursing building.

Jones: Okay.

Girardot: And right across the street from the education building.

Jones: Okay.

Girardot: So basically, it's to support that area plus phase three of the housing projects that we're completing now. So it's about 1,000-

Jones: What percentage of students do you have living on campus, or off campus, whichever?

Girardot: The chancellor's directive was that our goal was to house 40 percent of our undergraduate students on campus. And basically, with the completion of phase three, we'll be at about 38 or 39 percent, I think. So we're getting awfully close to that.

Jones: Mm-hmm. What projects are there on campus where the university can realize a profit, or are there? I'm talking about some of the symphonies, plays. We've got two places now where this can happen, the auditorium down here, the theatre, and then the new arts building, which is small but still can accommodate receptions and so forth from the outside. And I guess also, the Madeline Suite welcomes organizations. I've been to so many breakfasts down there, I feel like I've got a chair that has my name on it. But are those money making or break even?

Girardot: Well, generally everything that we operate out of Madeline Suite, Burney Center, Warwick, they're at least self-supporting and in most cases they do make a profit from those things.

Jones: I would hope.

Girardot: Although of course, that's not the purpose of them. But that helps us to keep up the facilities. Because again, a lot of those things are self-funded.

Jones: And they're used, are they not?

Girardot: Absolutely, absolutely. The cultural arts building was a grand addition to campus. And it's too bad that it isn't a little bit bigger, but we still have basically two 300-seat venues in the place. So we can put on a fairly good program out here.

Jones: You know, one thing that's appealing about that building as well is there's parking right out the door.

Girardot: Right.

Jones: It's right there.

Girardot: Mm-hmm.

Jones: And for some of the old ladies who are afraid to go out at night and can't walk far, that's a wonderful, wonderful way to put it. Because I've been to a couple of things there where I looked around and I thought, "This has got to be a nursing home," you know.

Girardot: Well, of course, the master plan called for another building right next to the new cultural arts building. I think we were going to label it the performing arts building. And then right next to that was to be another parking deck.

Jones: Oh, okay.

Girardot: Those things have not come about yet, obviously. But they're still on the plan.

Jones: A performing arts building.

Girardot: Mm-hmm. That was one that was to be a joint effort between the community and the university.

Jones: I was going to ask, because it seems to me I've heard about this through some of the people at the Thalian associates. And the concert hall that Dr. Funk is very involved with.

Girardot: Right.

Jones: That may or may not come about, who knows? And the Globe Theatre type venue where the audience and the actors interact. All this sounds wonderful, but how many dollars can you vie for?

Girardot: That's the problem. And that's why we worked pretty hard on that project, I guess it was a couple of years ago. And finally came to the point where everybody realized that the funds just weren't there to do the project. And I know that Dr. Funk has worked really hard on this. And I think that she is-the project is not dead. It may be dead as far as integration of that with the university. But as I say, it's still on the master plan.

Jones: That life springs eternal, you know?

Girardot: That's right.

Jones: What can we look for? What changes do you think have been the most important? We talk about obviously the education building and the nursing programs. There have been additions made to improve marine biology and research which I guess they're one of the leaders in the country in that respect.

Girardot: Right, mm-hmm.

Jones: So that's a necessity. But what changes-I kind of hesitate to ask how you personally feel, because the whole world will be able to access this. But why not? You work here, you're knee-deep involved in it. And then you pick up the local newspaper and there people are screaming about cutting down trees, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. What's the happy medium there that you feel?

Girardot: Well, that's always a controversial subject.

Jones: Yeah, but no one's ever going to win their side.

Girardot: No. That's exactly right. And when this land was basically deeded to the university, the purpose was to establish a university. And whatever land that we needed for expansion, that's what the dictate was. That's been reinforced by our last two boards of trustees, who basically have taken the line that if we need the land for expansion, that's what's going to happen.

Jones: Mm-hmm. Well, I agree.

Girardot: Absolutely.

Jones: I agree.

Girardot: We weren't given the land to simply maintain pine forests here. So there, I've said it.

Jones: Well, but you're absolutely right. I think if some of these people would wander around other universities anywhere in the country, with a few exceptions, maybe New England, what you've got are parks and walkways and statuary and monuments and brick buildings. And some of them are in the middle of a big city.

Girardot: Well, we've certainly got more green space around most of our facilities than most other campuses.

Jones: Well, you mentioned Charlotte. I happen to have gone there when I took our last one to look at colleges. And it seemed to be the coldest place on earth. And although it's growing, what they're known for is wonderful. I guess they're an engineering place, architectural engineering. And so let it be. But it certainly didn't have the . . .

Girardot: Well, they were saddled with a couple of things. First of all, they've got a lot less land area than we do. And so that's why you kind of get the impression that buildings are almost on top of each other there. They had to work with what they had.

Jones: And they're ugly.

Girardot: Well, that's one that I'm certainly very proud of, that's that we have been able to maintain the architectural integrity of this place. And every board that we have had since I've been around here anyway, has strongly supported that. And so it's been great to work with that.

Jones: I think this university has a welcoming feeling, just when you see it. It looks like it's established. It looks like it's cared for. And I think first impressions like that kind of set off something in your head. So that's just the first step forward, and that's good too. But any rate. You are vice chancellor for facilities. Does that mean all the technical, the heating, the cooling, the parking?

Girardot: Unplugging toilets? Yes.

Jones: Yeah. (laughs)

Girardot: Everything. (laughs)

Jones: I imagine you've developed a few nicknames over the years because of this. At home at least, not somewhere else. I don't know. It's probably a thankless job, is it?

Girardot: Well, usually, you don't hear from people until--

Jones: Until there's a problem.

Girardot: -something goes wrong. Right.

Jones: Right.

Girardot: So very seldom do we hear "You guys did a great job in unplugging that toilet." That just doesn't happen.

Jones: Gosh. Are you the one, or your department, when a new building is either renovated or built from scratch, have to check and approve all the wiring and so forth? Tell me what you do besides sit at a desk and look at papers and go "Oh my God."

Girardot: We've got a great engineering staff down there that really monitors each one of the projects, goes over the things in minute detail, makes sure that, as you say, the wiring, the plumbing, everything in the building is up to code. And so yeah, that's one of my departments.

Jones: I don't think I would like that.

Girardot: Oh, I love it.

Jones: Do you really?

Girardot: I love it. There's a challenge every day. And we not only get to work with the $50 million projects, but we also get to work with-

Jones: You get to do that. What happens in case of hurricanes, or you lose electricity or have any flooding? I guess you're supposed to be there with your hat and gloves?

Girardot: Right.

Jones: That is a thankless type job.

Girardot: Well, generally we've been able to-

Jones: You like it.

Girardot: Generally, we've been able to take care of the place pretty well.

Jones: Yeah.

Girardot: I'm really excited about where we're going right now.

Jones: Well, tell us about that.

Girardot: And I think the state's going to get out of these fiscal difficulties in a couple of years, and we can proceed with some of our plans. But one of the main things we're doing now of course is we're finishing up on all of the additional student housing that we had programmed. We'll have the parking garage open, as well as phase three housing, by August 1 of this year. Those will be useable. We're in the process of constructing the new nursing building, which is a 95,000 square foot facility. It'll be right sort of catty-cornered from the education building. We're in the process now of developing that whole quad, which if you remember used to be a massive parking lot, S and T I think it was called. So we'll have the nursing building in one corner of the quad. We've got a teaching laboratory that will be a sister building to that, and it'll be right next to it in the other portion of the quad. And then the entire remainder of the parking lot will be taken up by the Allied Health Building.

Jones: Now what is Allied Health as opposed to the nursing building?

Girardot: Well, Allied Health takes into account all of the other health-related things that we do here at the university. The HOS will move in there, as well as some sociology folks. And the whole area will be interconnected with bridges. So in foul weather, you won't even have to walk outside.

Jones: For heaven sakes.

Girardot: To get from one to the other building. So that's a plan that's in operation right now. The nursing building site work has begun. And this next week, we'll be laying the foundation for the facility. So that's coming along almost on schedule.

Jones: Really.

Girardot: In order to support that, we're establishing another regional energy plant behind Wagner Dining Hall which will support that whole area, as well as the dining hall. And we're just now starting planning on a project which will expand the dining hall up there, which is badly needed with our increase in the number of students that we have here.

Jones: Oh, geez.

Girardot: And then of course adjacent to that whole thing is the expansion of the student recreation center, which will be almost a tripling of the space that's available now.

Jones: Now, faculty and staff are able to use that facility, are they not?

Girardot: Yes they are.

Jones: Do they pay a fee?

Girardot: In a way, they do.

Jones: They should.

Girardot: They should I think yeah. I think the university right now puts money into the rec center pot to cover the faculty.

Jones: Even a small.

Girardot: I think with the expansion of the facility, what we will undoubtedly do is charge a fee for faculty and staff to use it. Because it is a student-funded enterprise. And we need to pay for it.

Jones: Can you give us an idea of how many people you have that are working on this campus that are not students and not professors, who are your technical staff or your facilities staff?

Girardot: Well, I can really only speak to what we have in the facilities area.

Jones: Okay.

Girardot: So that's about 250 people.

Jones: Okay.

Girardot: And that's divided up between the different departments down there. There's physical plant. We have architectural and construction services, which deals with all of the major projects. And then we have a project management department, which takes care of everything up to $500,000. And then we have our administrative division down there.

Jones: Well, that's 250 people who've got jobs.

Girardot: That's right. That's right.

Jones: That's amazing. Absolutely amazing. Is there anything that you can tell us about today's existence, today's world, that is a little bit unique about this place? Aside from the fact that there are monetary constraints and building constraints at this time, and I guess staffing restraints as well. What do you feel are the strong points that we've come to from the time you first knew it here until right now, let's say? The future is the future and hasn't come yet. You've already given us some projections, so that's good. But what do you find that are plusses for right now? Like that "we've come a long way, baby?"

Girardot: I see the whole marine sciences program has really started to get the attention it deserves. It's just a fabulous program. And we are definitely nationally known. And that whole program has just blossomed since I first got here and now returned. So that's certainly one of the major, major things here. Some other things are really the expansion and I guess I can use the word upgrading of the business school.

Jones: Oh yeah.

Girardot: That's been just a fantastic success story.

Jones: You know what? I have to stop here. What amazes me about that is this is Larry Clark's domain. He's the only person I think on campus who has such an important job and does it so well who doesn't have a doctorate.

Girardot: Hmm.

Jones: You didn't know that?

Girardot: I didn't know that.

Jones: Oh, I thought you would.

Girardot: No.

Jones: I find that just amazing. And I love him to death. And he is so gifted. Makes you wonder.

Girardot: He's a great businessperson.

Jones: Yes he is.

Girardot: I think that's why they got him in there.

Jones: Yes he is. I didn't mean to interrupt you.

Girardot: No, that's fine.

Jones: He's been out talking around the community and giving little talks and so forth about his Bailiwick over there. And he's got a lot of other interests too, he's a sports nut.

Girardot: Yeah. Well some of the other notable things that have occurred here really, is probably I should say the impending mass of expansion of the nursing program.

Jones: Which is needed.

Girardot: Which is badly, badly needed. In this state, especially.

Jones: Yeah.

Girardot: And then of course, there's our whole creative arts, communication theatre departments. Those things have just blossomed in the last few years or so.

Jones: Yeah.

Girardot: I just think that this is a great place to work. Some really exciting things are going on. I just hope that our nation's financial difficulties don't extend too far in the future.

Jones: How much support do you get from the community? Good bit?

Girardot: Well, in my particular little Bailiwick-

Jones: You don't see it?

Girardot: We really don't see that too much. We're pretty well self-sufficient. We've had a lot of support from the community. For instance, when we go into a major landscaping program, getting the viewpoint of the public from some of these things.

Jones: Well, that's a big thing. Were Boney Architects the original firm that drew the designs, the initial designs for these buildings?

Girardot: Boney and what is now BMS. And I'm trying to think of the other firm that was heavily involved in the early phase of the campus. Of course, since then we've had a number of really good architects in here to help us.

Jones: Yeah. But I think some of them, I mean, it's beautiful architecture, but some of the buildings do need to become a little more modernized and have that flavor without going far out.

Girardot: Well, my goal is to do something with Alderman before I leave. That really needs upgrading badly.

Jones: Yeah.

Girardot: And it's got a totally inadequate HVAC system.

Jones: Oh gosh.

Girardot: In that you're either too hot or too cold in there.

Jones: Oh my gosh.

Girardot: And I think the chancellor feels pretty strongly that we should address some of our other needs before we attack that building.

Jones: Oh really? I was just going to ask you. Do you put your chits in when you find a problem and ask for permission?

Girardot: Absolutely.

Jones: And then a board convenes? Or does she-how does that work? She's the last say so after hearing several opinions?

Girardot: Well, the cabinet pretty well puts its stamp on that kind of stuff. We basically make the recommendations, as I say, based on academic needs, and then the cabinet sorts the thing out.

Jones: When you say cabinet, you're talking about?

Girardot: That's the chancellor's principal group of vice chancellors and provost and those folks.

Jones: Okay. How much sway-the friends of UNCW, it's not the board of governors. Well, they're over all of them.

Girardot: Board of trustees.

Jones: Board of trustees.

Girardot: Mm-hmm.

Jones: They have any sway at all?

Girardot: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. For instance, with every new facility, I keep them updated on what's going on, get their approval of the elevations of the building as it's being designed. And so yes, they're definitely heavily involved in-

Jones: How many hours a day do you put into this job? It seems like about 110 people want you every five minutes, from what you've just described.

Girardot: I usually spend about-I'm usually down there about quarter to seven in the morning. And I try to make it a point to leave at five. But there's a lot of weekends and so forth.

Jones: And you like it?

Girardot: Oh, absolutely.

Jones: You love it.

Girardot: It's a very fulfilling deal. And I usually have my dog with me, so she's-

Jones: Really?

Girardot: At least when I come in on weekends. (laughs)

Jones: What kind of dog you have?

Girardot: I have a golden retriever that's really my pal. So we spend a lot of time together.

Jones: See, this is what happens when you have a busy wife.

Girardot: That's right.

Jones: My husband has Smarty Jones, that has become his son, his buddy. He calls him buddy. That or the age, I don't know. Well Dave, is there anything else that you would like to share with us that we haven't covered? I'm sure there are a few things, but maybe they're not.

Girardot: Well, it's just that I'm certainly proud of this university and the way we've been able to expand it facilities-wise successfully over the last few years. And I'm certainly proud in the small part that I've had to play in the whole thing. It's been-

Jones: But it's keeping the glue in there.

Girardot: Really fulfilling and been a very enjoyable experience.

Jones: I imagine seeing it come along since 1994, when it was Surf City extended, to this point where it gets-what were we? The second year in a row in Newsweek's list of top smaller universities?

Girardot: Right. Well, we're certainly-I still like the UNC by the Sea notion. But I mean, our whole academic program has just blossomed as (inaudible).

Jones: Do you give a lot of credit to Chancellor De Paolo and the people that she has around her?

Girardot: Sure. The chancellors, both Jim Leutze and Chancellor De Paolo have done a great job in bringing this university up to where it is now.

Jones: Well, I thank you for this. I've learned a great deal. And I think that we're lucky to have a university of this quality here.

Girardot: We are, we are.

Jones: Really and truly.

Girardot: We were established as a university to support this region of the state. And I think we've done that very well.

Jones: Well one thing I think that we didn't touch on and I would like to. When you say to support the region, since we have so many retirees here, and all of them are not decrepit old people ready for the nursing home. There are still a lot of them who retired early. Earlier than maybe you would think of, or my husband. And because of that, they have the OLLI program and a few others that are marvelous. So they're kind of, the university itself is taking notice, of not just the 18 to 25 year olds, but all the way up. So that's great too, there's something for everybody.

Girardot: Now that you bring that up, that's sort of the coming thing as far as a lot of universities are concerned. And I mean, the possibility of establishing sort of little sub-elements of the university around it. Housing areas, specifically for people that are interested in interacting with university programs. And I think that's a real possibility in coming years.

Jones: Well, that sounds good. Also, I was told by somebody who should know that they're looking into, if not already begun, learning by using the computer, online type of classroom work, because space is so limited. Particularly in some of the older universities on the system.

Girardot: Yeah.

Jones: And to me, that just doesn't sound like-when you have a kid who graduates, you want them out of the house and go somewhere else.

Girardot: That's right. That's right.

Jones: I don't want you home again for a while. I'll be glad to see you when you get here, but. Well Dave, thanks so much for sharing your time.

Girardot: It's been my pleasure, Carroll.

Jones: This has been very, very interesting. And I've grown to appreciate this place all over again because of you. So you do some good.

Girardot: Good. I appreciate that.

UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database
Found in:
Randall Library | UNCW Archives and Special Collections | Online Database | Contact Us | Admin Login
Powered by Archon Version 3.21 rev-1
Copyright ©2012 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign