Skip to main content

Olen B. Smith Jr., 2013 February 11

Identifier: OH-UA-SM0054

Scope and Contents

Olen Smith, former Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte reflects on the tenure of Chancellor James H. Woodward (1989-2005). Mr. Smith briefly discusses some of Chancellor Woodwar's accomplishments, which include improving the university's presence in the Charlotte region, locating the new Student Activity Center on campus, and transforming the campus aesthetic. He briefly talks about the role of Business Affairs in the academic planning process, especially as the university transitioned to a doctoral research institution . The discussion turns toward the political climate in North Carolina (relative to funding for higher education and how it affects UNC Charlotte.) He recalls the 2000 North Carolina Higher Education Improvement Bonds in particular, providing contextual history for the bond referendum, insight into UNC Charlotte and Chancellor Woodward's push to ensure the bonds' passage, and how the bonds helped the University grow. Mr. Smith relates the reasons why it was necessary to have a University presence in the center of Charlotte, and relates the backstories on the first two locations of UNC Charlotte Uptown and the new Center City Building which opened in 2011. He notes that the Blue Line Extension light rail will physically connect Charlotte with the University. Mr. Smith also discusses master planning and why it was needed at UNC Charlotte. He recalls his work on the Master Planning Task force citing the leadership of Charles Hight and the contribution of Professor John Lincourt. He further explains the changes made to the master plan during its 2000 revision and why they were needed. He discusses the way the master plan changed the look of the campus, and he also discusses the first library tower renovation and what factors led to a replacement of the new exterior facade shortly after it was installed. Mr. Smith concludes the interview with anecdotal stories about Chancellor Woodward.


  • Creation: 2013 February 11

Conditions Governing Access

Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Please contact Special Collections to request the creation of use copies for particular items; requests will be accommodated when possible. The remaining materials are open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Olen Smith was a 73-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was born in Rockingham, North Carolina in 1939. He was educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and George Washington University and was employed at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as the Director of Financial Planning (1984-1989), Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Planning (1989-1994), and Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs (1994-2006).


108 Minutes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Oral Histories, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
Schedule an Appointment