dis the head of the Bicen- tennial Observance, Dick Richardson directed someone to shake down seeds from the Davie Poplar and grow them into three-year-old saplings. One hundred school children were each given an offshoot to plant in every county in North Carolina. Richardson bows low to the symbolism in youngsters canying Carolina's seeds forth throughout the state it represents. Mter all, he is the provost, with the whole academic side ofUNe's organization chart running strajght to his office. But can you imagine, for instance, the provost thinbng qfan icon such as the Davie Poplar ... "We should come out here and shake the tree every year. We could make a fortune." .. . cOITUllercially? The quick wit that governs the practical side of one of UNC's most respected teachers in Carobna's modem rustory seems to be not even his to control: He says rus political science department chair at Western Michigan in the 1960s called theil"S "the best third-rate program in the countly. I trunk he was probably right." He left a raging snowstorm with nine- foot drifts in Kalam.azoo to see about a job at Carolina and arrived at the airport
ONE OF THE UNIVERSITY'S BEST TEACHERS,
DICK RICHARDSON HAS LENT HIS
COMPASSION, HIS MISCHIEVOUS WIT AND
HIS COMMON SENSE TO SOUTH BUILDING.
by David E. Brown J 75 and Karen C. Blanifteld
to ca m elli as in bl o om . " I d o n' t eve n car e
if you have a campus. I'll sign here on
the tarmac," he said.
He implores his students to bring their
problems to rum, and almost notrung fazes
rum. "The only trung I have a real problem
with is carulibalism. You have a rooITU11ate
who's a cannibal, you come see me."
A down in a gown Hardly. The faculty
is ecstatic to have Dick Richardson rep-
resenting them in South Building. The
chancellor calls him "a saint," and they
most definitely stand often at odds-
Michael Hooker ' 69 the fleet-footed
executive, Richardson the deliberative,
more traditional academic.
Irreverent R efi·esrungly. Plain-spoken?
He recently said we "can't build a bird
house" with the money collected from
pledges for construction of the Black
Cultural Center. Given the BCe's con-
troversial history, not many administrators
could have gotten away with that.
"He's a consununate diplomat," said
BCC Director Gerald Home. "His wit
and his way with words oftentimes take
the sting out of potentially charged situa-
tions. If he hadn't been provost, I'm sure
he could have been a stand-up comedian."
Ri c hardson is so fa m o u s for llis in ability
to say "NO" that his wife once wrote
the word on a piece of paper for him to
keep in his pocket. When he was asked
to be interim provost a year and a half
ago, he wanted to continue teadling, but
he pulled out the piece of paper and it
A couple of months later they asked
rum to stay through 2000, when he will
be 65. "ON" again.
Wit and wisdom: Dick Richardson may be irreverent.
He's also "a consummate diplomat." Gastoll Ward Clllum
J a II II ar y / Feb, II a'y I 99 7