University remembers distinguished public servant, educator Gerald ‘Jerry’ Fox

Monday, April 1, 2024

On March 27, the namesake of the UNC Charlotte Master of Public Administration Program, Gerald “Jerry” Fox, died at the age of 91.

Fox was Mecklenburg County manager from 1980 to 2000; after retiring, he joined the MPA program as a part-time faculty member. Later, Fox was a founding member of the UNC Charlotte Practitioner Advisory Board, an organization dedicated to supporting the MPA program and its students.

“Jerry taught in the MPA program over the course of two decades. He was involved in many of our events, including mentoring students, funding scholarships and student travel. We will miss Jerry, he had such a full and wonderful life dedicated to public service, and a valuable member of the UNC Charlotte community,” said Suzanne Leland, professor and MPA program director. 

gerald fox and philip duboisFounded in 1976 as the Master of Urban Administration, the program was renamed to Master of Public Administration in 1987. Since the 2012 naming for Fox and the establishment of the Gerald G. Fox MPA Endowment Fund, the program has flourished in no small part due to his leadership and support. The program is currently ranked No 46 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.  

Fox, whose public service career spanned more than 50 years, was known for his managerial skills, professionalism, respect for the democratic process and personal integrity, which exemplify the values the University’s MPA program works to instill in its students. Fox’s success as a leader in the public sector is an inspiring example to UNC Charlotte’s MPA and certificate students as they pursue careers in public service.

At a 2019 University alumni event, Mecklenburg County Commissioner and Chair George Dunlap ’91, ’03 MPA presented Fox with a county proclamation declaring Aug. 1, 2019, “Jerry Fox Day” in Mecklenburg County. 

Cheryl Brown, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, said, “Jerry Fox was instrumental in making major contributions to Mecklenburg County and to the Master of Public Administration program. He was eager to participate in every MPA event and really committed to supporting the students, faculty and staff in the program. It was deeply helpful for the students to be able to interact with the namesake of the program; he was an active presence and mentor. He will be greatly missed.”

The Charlotte Observer also chronicled Fox’s life and contributions to Mecklenburg County.

Photo, inset, Gerald Fox is presented a tie by then-Chancellor Philip L. Dubois at the 2012 ceremony naming the University’s Master of Public Administration for the retired county manager.