Spending Time with a 'Walking, Talking Encyclopedia' of Charlotte History
As Mike Marsicano, president and CEO of Foundation For The Carolinas
, so aptly put it during Tuesday afternoon's "Evolution of a 'New South City'"
site session, "Every drop of our blood has McColl DNA." He was referring, of course, to Hugh McColl—former Bank of America chairman, Charlotte institution, and the subject of a lively Q&A session at the Levine Museum of the New South
In 1981, according to McColl, downtown Charlotte was "drying up and blowing away." Two years later, McColl was president, chairman and CEO of Bank of America and decided to get heavily involved in the development of Center City.
It took some time, but in October 1992 the 60-story Bank of America Corporate Center officially opened its doors. And after the bank started "lending at 6 percent in a 13 percent world," McColl said the city really took off.
Today Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the United States, with what McColl called a "multicultural population" of about 700,000. Although McColl admits that "when you're trying to grow you always have to fight people who like things the way they are," he believes that great people and great city management will help Charlotte continue to shine.
"The bus tour of Charlotte was great, but it was Hugh McColl who really elevated this session to the next level," one attendee said. "It was like having a walking, talking encyclopedia at our disposal for an hour."
Three other site sessions gave conference attendees the opportunity to experience the work of foundations at a number of exciting venues in Charlotte:
- The Levine Center for the Arts is a cultural campus incorporating four distinct, nationally acclaimed arts and history organizations: the John S. and James L. Knight Theater, the Mint Museum of Art, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture. Following a walking tour of the campus, attendees enjoyed a panel discussion about the evolution of this innovative public-private partnership.
- The Children & Family Services Center is a partnership of 10 agencies serving children and youth in Charlotte in one convenient location for their clients. One of the highlights of the tour was a discussion about shared services, the challenges and successes presenting by creating this type of model, and other innovative collaborations and mergers in the area.
- ImaginOn is an award-winning LEED-certified facility housing the Children's Theatre of Charlotte and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library youth branch. Attendees took a walking tour of ImaginOn and heard from leaders of both organizations and a funding partner, Microsoft, about how this national model helps students reach their creative and academic potential.