4 The Compass Friday, November 3, 1995
Interim Chancellor Mickey Burnim
is committed to working for ECSU
^ ' -r
Dr. Mickey Burnim address ECSU during the University Meeting held
September 20 In Moore Hall Auditorium. Chancellor Burnim promised to
provide "strong leadership” and expressed his willingness “to work with
everyone, no matter how long I’m here."
Photo courtesy of University Relations
Students are here to get an education, and the
primary way to do that is in the classroom.
Our business is the business of education/'
— Dr. Mickey L. Burnim
by Latisha Edwards
ECSU's Interim Chancellor, Dr.
Mickey L. Burnim, believes in the
power of education to make the world
a better place to live.
"I have chosen to make my contribu
tion to the world through education,"
said Burnim, a soft-spoken man with a
quiet, dignified manner.
Burnim was appointed Interim
Chancellor by UNC-System President
C. D. Spangler following the August
resignation of Dr. Jimmy Jenkins.
At ECSU Burnim quickly demon
strated his priorities regarding educa
tion by refusing to cancel afternoon
classes for Jamfest/Chill-out Day.
Activities such as Jamfest should be
attended "between classes," said
Burnim, who says he is determined to
take a "non-nonsense, caring, and com
mitted approach" to running this Uni
"I don't want anyone to be confused
about our mission and what our pri
orities are," he adds. "Students need to
go to class and teachers need to teach.
Students are here to get an education,
and the primary way to do that is in
the classroom. Our business is the busi
ness of education."
A native of Teague, Texas, Burnim
earned imdergraduate and master's
degrees in economics from North Texas
State University. He received his doc
torate in economics from the Univer
sity of Wisconsin in 1977.
After teaching economics at Florida
State University for five years, Burnim
worked as assistant vice president for
academic affairs at the University of
North Carolina system. In 1986, he be
came North Carolina Central
University's chief academic officer. He
was appointed Provost of N.C. Central
in 1990, and remained in both posi
tions until coming to ECSU.
President Spangler offered Burnim
the position of interim chancellor
around two p.m. on Aug. 28, recalls
Bumim. Two days later, he reported
for work at ECSU's administration
building— before 8 a.m.
Bumim says he doesn't know why
he was chosen as interim chancellor
but feels his academic achievements,
integrity and experience played a ma
jor role in the selection.
"I take advantage of opportunities I
feel are worthwhile," he says, adding
that he accepted the position only after
consulting with his family.
Bumim praised his wife. La Vera, a
feUow Teague Texan, with helping in
the transition to his new position. "Her
support and encouragement meant a
The Burnims' daughter, Cinnamon,
25, is a staff writer for The Catholic
Standard in Washington, DC. Their son
Adrian, 19, is a sophomore at the Uni
versity of Virginia and a defensive back
for the university football team.
La Vera Burnim works as the budget
director for Durham County.
"Family is important," said Burnim,
who tries to attend as many of his son's
football games as possible at UVA.
"My daughter coaches volleyball
part-time," he adds. "I want to see her
team play, too."
Bumim is not certain how long he
will serve as interim chancellor of
ECSU, but he is determined to work
hard on behalf of the University while
he is here. His number one priority is
too boost enrollment.
"We need to work together on this,"
he says. "The success or failure of this
enterprise rests on all our shoulders.
All of us have a stake in meeting our
Bumim is equally determined to en
sure the quality of the University's aca
demic programs. "We need to work
toward the qualitative improvement of
academic programs and ensure faculty
members have appropriate creden
Although he is not planning to ap
ply for the position of Chancellor of
ECSU, Bumim added that he would
be "inclined to seriously consider ac
cepting the position" if he is nominated.
At this point he is not concerning
himself with the permanent position,
however. "I am mainly concerned
about doing a good job as interim
chancellor," he said.
The position of chancellor will be
advertised nationally and potential
candidates will be evaluated by a
search committee appointed by the
ECSU's Board of Trustees, according
to Joni Worthington, public relations
director for the UNC system. The com-
iruttee will submit the names of at least
two finalists to UNC Systems Presi
dent C. D. Spangler. The UNC Board of
Governors will make the final decision.
Burnim said he is grateful for the
warm acceptance he has received from
the ECSU campus and local commu
nity. He has also been impressed with
ECSU students whom he describes as
being "better behaved and more man
nerly than those of many institutions.
Obviously there are some very good
students here who will do well and
make their mark on the world."
Bumim encourages students "to go
beyond what's required in class" and
to set high goals.
"Work hard to graduate in four years
with the highest GPA you can," he ad
vises. "This will open doors for you
later on. Rather than being passive, ask
yourself, 'What do I need to know?
What do I need to be exposed to?' "
ECSU's new interim chancellor also
had words of praise for faculty and
alumni, and he looks forward to work
ing with alunrmi, whom he feels have
"a great deal of concem for this Uni
For leisure. Chancellor Bumim en
joys reading espionage and science fic
tion novels. He also plays golf and has
a serious program of exercise, includ-
ing jogging, racquet ball and other car
diovascular exercises. "I take my health
seriously," he says.
A relaxing day for Mickey Bumim
would include exercising, playing golf,
working a couple of hours, driving to
the Outer Banks with his wife, and
watching a football game.
Burnim, who describes himself as
"goal-oriented, time conscious, sys-
tems-oriented and straightforward,"
believes he has much to offer ECSU.
"I share the concems of the people,"
he said. "I'll make decisions based on
what I feel is best for the Urviversity."
In announcing Burnim's appoint
ment President Spangler praised him
for his "impressive academic qualifi
cations, extensive administrative expe
rience, and the qualities of character
required to shepherd this important
northeastem constituent of the Univer
sity of North Carolina."