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James H. Woodward oral history interview 3, 2013 November 19

 Digital Record
Identifier: UA-WO0094


  • 2013-11-19


In this interview, Dr. James Woodward, chancellor emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, reflects on Bonnie Cone and the history of UNC Charlotte. Describing Ms. Cone as a giant in a small body, Dr. Woodward recollects his first knowledge about and impressions of her, discusses his relationship with her and the other previous chancellors, Dean Colvard and E. K. Fretwell, and describes Ms. Cone’s role at the university during his tenure. He comments on the unusual circumstance of all of UNC Charlotte’s previous chancellors remaining in Charlotte after their retirement and on the mythical aspects of the university community’s perception of Bonnie Cone. He explains Ms. Cone’s role in defining the culture of UNC Charlotte, in engaging the community, and in overcoming political challenges facing the university. He also discusses her talent and motivation as well as the role her gender played in her accomplishments. Other topics include gender-related pay inequity in higher education during the 1970s and 1980s particularly at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the context surrounding the decision to choose someone other than Bonnie Cone to be the first chancellor of UNC Charlotte, and the process of having her buried on UNC Charlotte’s campus.

Biographical Note

Dr. Woodward was a 74-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place in his office at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was born in Sanford, Florida in 1939. He was educated at the Georgia Institute of Technology, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1962, a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1963, and a PhD in Engineering Mechanics in 1967. He was a professor at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, North Carolina State University, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. From 1969-1989 Dr. Woodward held ever-increasingly significant roles at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, serving as Dean of the School of Engineering and ultimately as Senior Vice President. In July of 1989, Dr. Woodward became the third chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte until his retirement in July 2005.


52 Minutes

Language of Materials


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