Thursday, August 14, 2008

A tribute to Chancellor Christopher C. Fordam III

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Fordham when I first began working at the Governors Club in Chapel Hill. Every time he came in he always wore a Carolina blue blazer with a gold UNC logo lapel pin attached at all times. Upon learning who he was, I made it a point to say hello each time I saw him, and each him he would thank me for stopping by to say hello. His wife, Barbara was always with him and the two were the most pleasant pair I've ever met.

We all wore name tags and used to joke about how Dr. Fordham, who was getting up there in age, needed a less than inconspicuous look at our names before he could remember what they were. And the first question was always the same: "Are you a Carolina student?" The answer was always the same, "Yes," which always prompted the same response for Fordham: "That sure is a fiiiiiiine institution."

I once heard a story about a time when he and his wife came to the club for dinner on their 58th anniversary. He tapped a fork to the side of his glass, quieting the entire dining room. Then he stood and told everyone how his wife was crazy enough to have been married to him for 58 years. If there were one story that I would pick to describe Dr. Fordham, that'd be it. A man married for 60 years.

Another thing that I'll always remember about Dr. Fordham is one day, when I was pretty busy, I had to say hello in passing. "Hello, Brandon," he said, no name tag needed. It made me stop and think for a minute. Here's a guy who had seen and done it all, and done it the right way who took the time to know me by name, when it obviously wasn't as easy for him as it would be for you or I.

Dr. Christopher C. Fordham III treated everyone he met the way he would treat his own wife. The University of North Carolina and society as a whole was better to have had him and now has something missing now that he is gone. If you've never met Dr. Fordham, or if you've never even heard ot him, do yourself a favor and do a little research. I guarantee that you'll be impressed with what you'll find.


1 comment:

Sarah said...

that was beautiful, brandon. i hope his wife stumbles upon your blog and reads this.