Richardson and Steve Tepper '09, then associate director of the Bicentennial Observance, examine a twig from the Davie Poplar II after helping N.C. Botanical Garden staff collect seed pods from that tree in the fall of 1991. The seeds were grown into saplings and presented to schoolchildren from each county of North Carolina on Oct. 12, 1993, as part of the Bicentennial Observance. David Mi",o"
were living in. These maids were out with
their young charges on the playground, and
they came over and said, 'What is that?' I
said, 'W ell, it's a sculpture. It's called Three
Women.' And one ofthe maids said,
'They sure are healthy!' Because they're
sort of wide-hipped, these women are."
He chuckles at the recollection.
"It became a velY important part of
my life," said Richardson, noting that his
children often used it as a hanger for
mittens and hats. "I've carried it from
every building I've ever been in, every
office I've ever been in. And the woman
who did it, I don't know where she is
now; I've often wondered."
If Richardson is a reluctant administrato r,
he also seems an unlikely one. A modest,
unassuming Ulan with twinkling eyes and
a cherubic face, he is old-fashioned friendly,
wam1, and folksy- the type of person you
want to ask about his grandchildren. It's
far easier to picture him ensconced by the
fireplace of his home on the Haw River
in Pittsboro, feet in slippers and one of
his beloved Southern novels in his lap,
than cutting scholarly business deals.
But these deals involve matters close to
A voice for the faculty
One of the more contentious issues to
reach Richardson's desk has been faculty
salaries. Although the 1996 Legislature
granted only a 4. 5 percent increase rather
than the 7 percent Richardson had cited
as "a splendid figure," he feels optimistic.
"We've made enonnous strides this year,"
he said, looking back on 1996 and noting
that supplementary funds provided by a
tuition increase nudged raises close to the
desired level. "It's not going to be, by
any means, perfect, but it's going to be a
In addition, his office addressed - "for
the first time ever," he said- the problem
of compression, or disproportionate pay
among faculty members of comparable
rank and accomplishment.
"I asked all chairn1en to make a case for
anybody in their department they thought
had a compressed salal Y," said Richardson.
"I defined compression velY narrowly:
You had to be in the same department,
you had to be in the same rank, you had
to have been in that rank within a two-
year period [with] the person you are
being compared with, and you had to be
a comparable professional achiever. So
what I was hying to address really was not
compression as much as what's probably
more appropriately called equity."
While not everybody was happy with
this refined description- some faculty
found the plan downright intrusive-the
. overall consensus was positive, if guarded.
"He came with an understanding that
he had to get input from the grassroots,"
said Tom Clegg, chair of physics and
astronomy and an outspoken critic of his
department's nationally low-ranked salaries.
"So I think he did the right thing in get-
ting a committee established. The process
certainly allowed individual chairs a lot of
latitude in making their recommendations,
and I feel the comuuttee listened to my
opinions and took heed. There needs to
be more of the same, but we have made
some headway tillSyear, for the first time
in a long, long time."
Sociology chair Arne Kalleberg, on the
other hand, was disappointed over the
"There are lots of other kinds of salary
compression that are not taken into
Jallllary / February 199 7