Honoring four decades of service


Photo of Keith Wassum greeting UNC Charlotte founder, Bonnie E. ConeKeith Wassum started working at UNC Charlotte in 1979. June 17 was his last day in the office. A lot happened in between.

Wassum began his career in the Office of Residence Life, then as director for the Bonnie E. Cone University Center, associate vice chancellor of student life and facilities management, and since 2002, served as associate vice chancellor for business services.

“In four decades of service to the University, he has dedicated himself to building a better, more efficient campus that offers an outstanding experience for our students,” said Beth Hardin, vice chancellor for business affairs. In the June edition of the division’s newsletter, Minding Business, Hardin highlighted some of Wassum’s contributions while he served in Business Services:

  • Led the capital expansion of the University’s food service program, including broad support of the Student Union, creation of a community gathering place and dining venue in South Village, repurposing and renovation of Prospector, and support for concessions at many athletic venues, including Richardson Stadium.
  • Collaborated with Student Affairs to fund and fill the Popp Martin Student Union. Funding for the capital and operating budgets required careful planning, integration with service contracts, and attentive monitoring.
  • Leadership that resulted in the significant expansion of the parking and transportation system, including deck construction, establishment of our first bus system in less than three months, creation and continued improvement of a paratransit system, creation and continued evolution of a safety transport system, and notable improvements in technology.
  • Direct and indirect leadership of the introduction of football to campus, including the national award-winning Zero Waste Initiative.
  • Displayed significant leadership in the introduction of light rail to the University, including development of a complex set of data to support effective negotiation for student and employee access, resulting in high-value deals with CATS; conceptualization and operationalization of a vast expansion of bus service, nearly tripling hours of service.

Keith N. Wassum Multipurpose Room

Photo: Instead of cutting a ribbon, Wassum opened SoVi dining hall by slicing a meat cleaver through a poster of the architectural illustration. “South Villiage Crossing replaced the old residence dining hall [RDH], but it’s much more, designed to provide support to an area of campus where the majority population is first-year residence students,” said Drew Averitt, business services facility planner. “Keith always says, ‘Everything we do is about the students,’ and South Village Crossing reflects that well.”

South Village Crossing has homey, welcoming spaces, including a large lounge with fireplaces, outdoor patios, three-season dining porch, and the newly-named Keith N. Wassum Multipurpose Room that offers flexible space for meetings or viewing parties.

“For 40 years of UNC Charlotte’s 73-year history, Keith Wassum has been dedicated to building this University,” said Hardin. “He has hired and fostered skilled teams, developed critical programs to serve our students, and overseen the construction of much-needed and well-used spaces on campus. It is only fitting that Keith’s name should become part of a place he built and that serves such an important role in campus life.”

More about Keith Wassum