Q&A with Vice Chair of the IAH Advisory Board, Roger Perry
September 7, 2018 | Roger Lee Perry, Vice Chair, IAH Advisory Board
Roger L. Perry is the Vice Chair of the IAH Advisory Board, a group that brings knowledge, skills, and strategic advice to help further the Institute’s goals. Mr. Perry is chairman of East West Partners Club Management, and also President of East West Partners Management Company, Inc. As a Carolina alumnus (’71), he has continued to serve the University through numerous positions on boards and committees throughout the years. We asked Mr. Perry a few questions about his time at Carolina — past, present and future.
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
My major was Political Science. I was a poor student and my favorite professors are ones I have developed a relationship with recently as a volunteer. People like Professor Ruel Tyson (Religious Studies and IAH founder) and Dr. Geoff Sayre-McCord (Philosophy) have had a profound impact on me in terms of stimulating intellectual curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.
In what way you have been able to serve as an alum?
I have had the privilege of volunteering for numerous efforts at Carolina. It is the best way I know of making a positive impact on the economic, social and health outcomes of the citizens of North Carolina. The transfer of knowledge and services through teaching and discovery from research sets Carolina apart at the top of assets of our State. I have been lucky to serve as a Trustee, member of the Board of Visitors and in numerous fund-raising roles. Being on the advisory board of IAH has been one of the most rewarding ways I have served. The Institute’s role in faculty support is of enormous importance.
How has your time in college contributed to your success?
Despite squandering much of my opportunity for formal learning, my years as an undergraduate were filled with great joy and growth. As a provincial product of eastern North Carolina, the exposure to a diverse and brilliant group of people with unique perspectives and ideas provided a glimpse into worldly enlightenment that has made me more confident and competitive in our fast-changing society.
Why is it important to support faculty the Institute for the Arts and Humanities?
The fellowships and programs for faculty have proven to be the best tools to retain great faculty. It is currently a golden age at Carolina in terms of the depth and quality of our faculty. Carolina is constantly under attack from other great universities trying to raid our faculty and the Institute is one of the strongest lines of defense in repelling those efforts.
What advice would you give Carolina students?
Do not do as I did. Instead, take complete advantage of the opportunity to learn, to learn how to learn, to be creative and to think in the company of some of the most brilliant people, our incredible faculty.
What is a book you read that changed your life?
I read a book in the 7th grade titled Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts. It is about the American Revolution written from the British Loyalist viewpoint. It opened my eyes to the fact that there are generally at least two sides to all issues of disagreement between people and nations and seldom is one totally right and one totally wrong.