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Sky’s the Limit for Higher Education in the Center City
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Sky’s the Limit for Higher Education in the Center City

Sky’s the Limit for Higher Education in the Center City

Who you missed: A panel discussion led by Moira Quinn, Senior Vice President of Communications and Chief Operating Officer for Charlotte Center City Partners. The Panel was Dr. Cheryl Richards, CEO and Dean of Northeastern University Charlotte, Jerry Coughter Executive Director of UNC Charlotte Center City and Joanne Beam, Director of Wake Forest University Charlotte.

Dr. Cheryl Richards began her career in higher education 25 years ago at Colorado State University and has since held leadership posts with the University of Denver, Regis University, EDUCAUSE and Central Piedmont Community College. Dr. Richards has twice been recognized by the Mecklenburg Times as one of Charlotte’s “50 Most Influential Women” and was honored in 2014 as “Woman of the Year.” The Charlotte Business Journal recognized her as a “40 Under Forty” leader as well as one of the “Top 25 Women in Business.” A frequent presenter and speaker, she has also served as guest host for Carolina Business Review.

Dr. Richards holds a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication, master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education and Ph.D. in Leadership for Higher Education. She and her husband of 20 years are proud parents of two children.

Jerry Coughter climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2013, helping raise $60,000 through the Rotary Club for Polio victims. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of Hope Haven and is an alumnus of Leadership Charlotte (Class 33). In that capacity Jerry serves as a member of the Alumni Group’s Education Committee, helping to bring informative programing to the community on topics including healthcare and civil discourse. Jerry holds a BS in Molecular Biology from Clemson University, an MS in Microbiology & Immunology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an MBA from the Byrd School of Business at Shenandoah University. He is a doctoral candidate in Science & Technology Policy at the George Mason School of Public Policy. Jerry is a Grade 8 level referee with the United States Soccer Federation and officiates youth soccer matches in North and South Carolina and Virginia. He is the father of two teenage daughters.

Joanne Beam is an active volunteer who currently serves on the board of Good Friends (in Charlotte) Board of Trustees of the Charlotte Latin School, and the Executive Committee of the Association of Philanthropic Council. Beam is well connected within civic and University circles. Recently The Mecklenburg Times named Beam one of “The 50 Most Influential Women.” In 2013, she was named one of the Charlotte Business Journals “25 Women in Business.” In 1998 she was named one of the “Forty Leaders Under Forty” in the Piedmont Triad. Beam grew up in Lancaster, Pa., and moved to North Carolina to earn a degree in business from Wake Forest University.

Moira Quinn’s background revolves primarily around media and management. Moira started at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, as a college intern. She became a studio cameraman and was the first woman in Charlotte to work as a full-time TV news photographer. During the ‘80’s Moira co-hosted, produced stories for and served as interim producer on the TV show PM Magazine. She is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte where she is Trustee Emeritus and on the Board of Advisors for the Knight School of Communication. Moira has also served on the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association where she was President during the University’s Sesquicentennial. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

What you missed: The Growth of Higher Education in Center City and why UNC Charlotte, Wake Forest and Northeastern chose Uptown Charlotte. The discussion centered around 1) how and why these institutions chose Charlotte, 2) how and/or why they chose new or existing facilities, 3) the type of student that is attracted in an urban setting, and 4) how these students impact Charlotte’s growing population post graduation.

Why: Having campuses in Uptown Charlotte has created a dynamic educational outlet for today’s working professional. Being in the middle of the Charlotte metro area enables institutions of Higher Learning to offer advanced degrees with a high level of convenience for these professionals. They can work and provide the wage to their families and further advance their careers by attaining these advanced degrees. Uptown Charlotte, while initially skeptical of their new neighbors, has embraced the Universities and the students by getting involved in community service programs and working together to keep uptown vibrant and desirable. Jerry Coughter remarked, “we would not be successful if only the school was getting into Charlotte, we also needed Charlotte to get into UNCC.”