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UNC chancellor getting to know NC mountains

Chancellor Carol Folt, at a breakfast with state Sen. Tom Apodaca, on Thursday at Mean Mr. Mustard's in Hendersonville. Chancellor Carol Folt, at a breakfast with state Sen. Tom Apodaca, on Thursday at Mean Mr. Mustard's in Hendersonville.

Carol Folt, the new chancellor of UNC at Chapel Hill, visited UNC Asheville, spoke to UNC alumni at a meet-and-greet event and met with community leaders during a visit to Asheville and Hendersonville Wednesday and Thursday.


During a breakfast Thursday morning with state Sen. Tom Apodaca at Mean Mr. Mustard's Cafe, the chancellor and Senate leader talked about the UNC system and programs at Western Carolina University and UNC Asheville. As Rules Committee chairman, Apodaca is second-in-command of the Senate and a key leader who helps guide decisions on the university's budget. A graduate of Western Carolina University, Apodaca is a former member of the WCU Board of Trustees.
Folt also visited the Mountain Area Health Education Center, a joint health care program of Mission hospital and UNC Health Care.
She said she was impressed with an Internet-based class she visited at UNCA.
"The quality is so good and the interaction is so strong that they feel seamless," she said.
An environmental scientist and award-winning teacher, Folt served as interim president of Dartmouth College during 2012-2013 before becoming UNC's first woman chancellor on July 1 of this year.
She said Western North Carolina was one area of the state she knew because her son, Noah, had attended a semester in high school at the Outdoor Academy of the Southern Appalachians.
During the breakfast downtown, Apodaca said Hendersonville and the western part of the state had received more attention and a higher profile in recent years. A native of Akron, Ohio, Folt worked her way through the University of California at Santa Barbara as a waitress, according to a bio sketch on UNC's website. She earned a bachelor's degree in aquatic biology in 1976 and a master's degree in biology two years later. She received her doctorate in ecology in 1982 from the University of California at Davis and completed postdoctoral work at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University. She joined the faculty at Dartmouth in 1983.