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Charlotte Area News

UNC Charlotte tries to stake its claim on the region

A pick-ax as part of UNC Charlotte's branding campaign. Photo courtesy UNC Charlotte. hspace=4

Travelers at the Charlotte airport and various locations uptown may be puzzled to find a statue of a giant green and gold pick ax on display . . . especially if they don't know the mascot of Charlotte's largest university. WFAE's Julie Rose explains: That monstrous pick ax in the atrium of the airport - and the ones sticking out of billboards around town - are UNC Charlotte's latest effort to convince the community that it really is grown up now. "I think there are some misconceptions about where we are in our life cycle," says UNC Charlotte Vice Chancellor David Dunn. "UNC Charlotte as a four-year institution is barely 40 years old. And there are institutions in the state of North Carolina that are over 200 years old." Dunn has headed up a year long planning effort to launch the $150,000 dollar branding campaign. It's all because too many people including businesses looking for good hires and parents who want their kids to go to a good school, don't realize how many advanced degrees and prestigious programs UNC Charlotte offers. Dunn says no tuition, fees or state money is being used for the ad campaign. It's the second stage of the branding effort. Last year, university officials started insisting faculty members and the media - refer to the school UNC Charlotte rather than UNCC. They felt like UNCC sounded too much like a community college. Oh, and the pick-ax is a reference to the UNC Charlotte mascot - a prospecting forty-niner.