When Lou Trosch Sr. started at UNC Charlotte in 1969, things many people take for granted now, like receiving a phone call, were very different.
“There were no office phones. We had a buzzer system,” Trosch recalls. “That meant that if you had a telephone call, you had to walk up to the dean’s office or the department chair’s office.”
Trosch, who taught business law at UNC Charlotte for 46 years, says this is just one example of the infrastructure that had to be built over the years to serve the fast growing University. Having the right leaders in place, including College of Business founding Dean Alan Palmer and his predecessor, Richard Neel, helped to transform the college to what it is today, he says.
Trosch’s memories and those of 10 other Belk College of Business retired and emeritus faculty are now archived permanently through a new series of living history videos, a pilot project created in partnership between the Belk College and the J. Murrey Atkins Library.
The videos, filmed as a digital time capsule over two days last summer to support the college’s 50th anniversary celebration, are now available for future generations through Goldmine, the online repository for the Atkins Library’s Special Collections and University Archives.
Participants represent more than 386 years of combined service to UNC Charlotte, with five Bank of America Teaching Excellence honorees or finalists, one of the University’s most prestigious faculty honors.
The multimedia oral history project was conceived out of planning for the college’s recent 50th anniversary, says Belk College Dean Jennifer Troyer.
“For our golden anniversary, we wanted to have a big celebration where we invited all our retired faculty; however, the pandemic changed those plans quickly,” says Belk College Dean Jennifer Troyer. “In conversations with the library, we learned that the archives held very little recorded history on the Belk College. We saw this need, and were so glad we were able to partner with the library to create this lasting tribute to our faculty and their contributions.”
Filmed in a fireside chat style at the Harris Alumni Center, the project leveraged the resources of the University’s Audiovisual Integration and Support for Learning Environments (AISLE) department. Although the library has completed several video interviews previously, these are the first in the library’s oral history collections that were recorded professionally on video with multiple cameras.
“Through the Living History Project, the Belk College and the Atkins Library have created a unique lens for historical researchers that shows the evolution of the college and the University,” says Dawn Schmitz, associate dean for special collections and university archives. “We are so pleased that the Belk College approached us to help them celebrate their 50th anniversary, and we ended up collaborating on this project. And bringing in AISLE really contributed to its success."”
The Belk College reached out to nearly 50 retired faculty members to launch the project. Many other faculty also contributed photos and other memories.
Richard M. Conboy, Associate Professor Emeritus of Management, who served as associate dean of the Belk College from 1987-2004.
Douglas Cooper, Professor Emeritus of Operations Management. Cooper joined the Belk College faculty in 1985, served as chair of the Department of Business Administration, and was instrumental in the founding of what is now the Department of Business Information Systems and Operations Management.
John Gandar, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Finance. He joined the Belk College in 1982 and has published articles in leading economics and finance journals. He served as chair of the Department of Economics from 2001-04 and as associate dean from 2004-09.
Howard Godfrey, Professor Emeritus of Accounting. He was one of the college’s first tenure-track faculty members and the University’s 2011 Bank of America Teaching Excellence honoree.
Robert Guinn, who joined the Belk College in 1976. He was the 1999 recipient of the Bank of America Excellence in Teaching award.
Edward Jernigan, Associate Professor Emeritus of Management. He served the Belk College from 1989-2018, taking organizational behavior and management principles and organizational behavior in the MBA program.
Stephen A. Jolly, Associate Professor of Accounting (retired). He taught financial accounting 1975-2001 and was a 1980 recipient of what is now the Bank of America Teaching Excellence Award.
Ben Nunnally Jr., Professor Emeritus of Finance, the college’s first African American tenured faculty member and a 1998 Charlotte Teaching Excellence finalist.
Ben Russo, Professor Emeritus of Economics. He joined the Belk College in 1984 and was instrumental in the development of the Master of Science in Economics.
Louis A. Trosch Sr., Professor Emeritus of Business Law. He was a 1983 Teaching Excellence honoree. Trosch joined the UNC Charlotte in 1969.
Richard Zuber, Professor Emeritus of Economics. He joined the college in 1978 and served as chair of the Department of Economics from 2004-10.
The Belk College hopes to continue the project in the future, offering interviews for retired faculty who were unable to attend last summer, Troyer says.
Emeritus faculty Louis A. Trosch Sr. and Richard Conboy look at a group photo of the Belk College's first faculty members from 1970 during a filming of the Living History Project.
Green and Gold Drive Business
Established in 1970, UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business is one of the Carolinas’ largest business schools, with more than 5,100 students, more than 100 full-time faculty, and an alumni network of more than 34,000. Accredited by AACSB International, the college is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as North Carolina's urban research business school. Learn more about how the Belk College is driving business at belkcollege.charlotte.edu, and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.