Uptown Legacy: The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City

UNC Charlotte, whose presence in uptown Charlotte is marked by its distinctive, 11-story glass structure at the corner of 9th and Brevard Streets, is recognizing the legacy of retiring Chancellor Philip L. Dubois and First Lady Lisa Lewis Dubois by renaming the University’s Center City Building in their honor. With this update, the building, regarded as a centerpiece to Dubois’ 15-year term as chancellor, is to be known as The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City (The Dubois Center).

The $50.4 million facility, which opened in fall 2011, is the only University of North Carolina classroom building conceived and designed specifically to serve the business, organizations and people of an urban center. Its 25 state-of-the-art classrooms and design studios accommodate more than 1,300 students annually who earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees in business, architecture, urban design, education, public administration or health administration, plus about 2,600 more who participate in certificate and other continuing education options. In addition, The Projective Eye Gallery, located near the lobby, regularly exhibits the work of artists known locally, nationally and internationally.

“Phil came to me with this audacious idea of starting a new campus right in the middle of uptown Charlotte,” said Erskine Bowles, who was the UNC System’s president when the concept was first proposed. “Over time we were able to convince the legislature this building could make an enormous difference, that it could drive business and opportunities for Charlotte and the region for decades to come.”

Proximity to the University’s highly ranked part-time MBA evening program, Master of Public Administration Program and continuing education programs for those who live and work uptown, as well as to more than 1,800 University, corporate and community events every year fulfill Dubois’ original vision to elevate the University’s profile in the Charlotte region and beyond.

“We knew we needed to have a more substantial and visible presence,” Dubois said. “That led to the decision to make our No. 1 campus construction priority a new building in Center City.”

Dubois’ foresight has been confirmed by the subsequent development of the surrounding neighborhood, which includes installation of popular First Ward Park, positioned between The Dubois Center and the city’s thriving business district, and a new light rail station, which provides a direct connection to the University’s main campus in University City. (Trains make 100 stops daily at the two UNC Charlotte stations.)

Throughout the city, including on the main campus, are evidence of the civic contributions of Lisa Lewis Dubois, efforts that extend far beyond the traditional role of a university first lady. A passion for providing a platform for women led to serving as co-chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Women’s Summit, whose outcomes guided the implementation of the Women+Girls Research Alliance, which collaborates as a University entity with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. Her imprint is evident on numerous education and cultural efforts that have made a difference in the lives of countless Charlotteans.

“The legacy of Chancellor Phil Dubois and First Lady Lisa Lewis Dubois is not limited to their leadership within the walls of the UNC Charlotte campus,” said Michael L. Wilson ‘93, chair of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. “They have worked diligently to connect UNC Charlotte to the greater Charlotte community; as the city grew, UNC Charlotte grew with it.”

For the chancellor, The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City is more than just a building; it’s an embodiment of the reputation earned as North Carolina’s urban research university.

“The change in the University’s visibility has paid real dividends,” Dubois said. “I feel good about leaving UNC Charlotte in a strong position as an integral partner in this great city.”

To read more about the Dubois’ leadership at UNC Charlotte, visit inside.charlotte.edu/the-dubois-legacy.