Tom Ross’ March 16 column “The real value of higher education” deserved an illustration of how North Carolina’s higher education investment yields the long-term benefits now threatened by down-funding.
In 1964 my father moved to North Carolina. Because my father was an IBM employee, advancement meant obligatory moves every four years. He chose Raleigh over San Diego; Boulder, Colo.; Rochester, Mich.; and Boca Raton, Fla. With two college-age children and two on deck, he saw value in the UNC system. When next expected to move, he said no.
His choice meant his children could attend N.C. schools. North Carolina’s constitutionally mandated affordable tuition provision was a strong motivator. He made a value-driven decision based on a long-term metric: Successive generations build new opportunity.
His choice paid off. He lived to see four children – three daughters and a son, all North Carolina residents – earn six UNC system degrees. His nine grandchildren earned 12, eight from UNC system schools: Appalachian State, N.C. State, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-CH, UNC-Charlotte and Wake Tech. Business, law, engineering, education, medicine are represented; so are English, French, psychology and culinary arts.
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I love my father for his decision. It enriched our state even as it enriched his family. He knew the real value of higher education: Esse quam videri.
Vincent J. Kopp