Ken Smith ‘92, chief budget officer and proud alumnus, loves working at UNC Charlotte and pouring himself into a job that helps those around him. Learn about Smith’s role, who he spends his free time with and his love for Charlotte athletics.
Describe your job and what you do at UNC Charlotte.
In a book from which one of my professors taught, there is a phrase that states “money follows mission.” When I reflect on this statement, I feel that it represents my role fairly well. A primary function of my job is to work with and listen to the leaders of the University as they define the priorities for our campus. I then try to find the resources to fund those priorities. I have the pleasure to work with a group of wonderful people in the University Budget Office, and it’s our job to ensure that every dollar allocated by the chancellor aligns with our strategic plan and goals.
What’s your favorite part about being at UNC Charlotte? What about your favorite part of the job?
I love the feeling of being connected to my alma mater. When I worked in the financial industry, I felt like just another cog in the machine. Working on campus makes it feel like I’m contributing to the greater good. Things that I do matter. Committees that I’m on matter. People that I help matter. Also, just walking across campus and seeing how beautiful our campus is makes me smile. What can I say? I love being a Niner!
What’s something about your job that most people don’t know?
The reporting structure for the University Budget Office recently changed and is now reporting directly to the vice chancellor for business affairs, which makes us a separate department within Business Affairs independent from Financial Services. I am very excited about this opportunity as we will be working with all areas of campus like never before.
What is something you’re most excited about for the fall semester?
Besides seeing the campus spring back to life after feeling so sheltered for such a long time? I would have to say that I’m excited about fall athletics. I love watching our football team! And I take pride in following our men’s and women’s soccer teams, reading about our volleyball and golf teams, and all the other sports programs.
When you’re not on campus, what are some things you do in your free time?
My life revolves around the four women in my life: my mother, my wife and my two daughters. When I’m not visiting one, I’m trying to entertain one. When I’m not assisting one, I’m trying to teach one (yes, I have made my daughters change a tire and the oil in their cars). I love reading, getting to the beach as often as I can and every now and then I try to hit a golf ball with a stick, even though I’m not very good at it.
What’s a place on campus you think every student should visit?
Everyone should make an effort to go to the Botanical Gardens on campus and visit Bonnie Cone’s gravesite. She was such an amazing woman. I met her a few times when I was a student here and those are some of my most treasured memories.
What piece of advice would you give to a new student?
I would say two things come to mind. First, don’t be afraid of getting involved. There’s so much to do on campus that there’s basically something for everybody. And secondly, don’t be afraid to seek help at any time. As I tell my own daughters, college life can be stressful and scary at times. Students need to know that a lot of people are having similar concerns and worries and they do not need to solve every problem on their own. There’s a whole University here to support you.
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