Our Advisors

Dr. Tom Hanchett

Dr. Shirley Allen Pope

Dr. Tom Hanchett is Consulting Historian with Levine Museum of the New South, in Charlotte. His 1988 North Carolina Historical Review essay on that state’s Rosenwald Schools kicked off modern-day interest in the topic. At Levine Museum, he helped launch the Rosenwald Initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2002.

He and wife, Carol Sawyer, maintain a website with Rosenwald plans and related material: www.HistorySouth.org/RosenwaldHome/ 

Educated at Cornell, University of Chicago, and UNC Chapel Hill, Tom writes widely on Southern history and culture at www.HistorySouth.org

Dr. Pope has nearly three decades of experience working with organizations in

the areas of leadership, community, and economic development. She has a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology from Penn State University She earned a Master of Science degree in Rural Sociology from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Institutional Dietetics, University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff.

While at N.C. A&T State University, she created the widely used rural leadership development program known as Community Voices. A native of Arkansas, she resides in Mississippi.

Dr. Charlie Nelms

Dr. William R. Ferris

Charlie Nelms, Ed.D, is a transformational servant-leader, a motivational speaker, and a consultant with expertise in higher education. He has more than 40 years of experience and leadership in student access, retention, and graduation; institutional effectiveness; and strategic planning.

The former chancellor of universities in North Carolina, Indiana, and Michigan, Dr. Nelms serves as a board member for leading educational associations and foundations across the U.S. He is currently a senior scholar at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, providing leadership in assisting minority-serving institutions.

Dr. Nelms, a native of Arkansas, began his education in a Rosenwald School.

William R. Ferris, a widely recognized leader in Southern studies, African American music and folklore, recently retired as associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC Chapel Hill. 

A former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, he has created 15 documentary films and written or edited 10 books. He co-edited the “Encyclopedia of Southern Culture” (UNC Press, 1989), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Dr. Ferris, a native of Vicksburg, Miss., was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. He also taught at Yale University and Jackson State University.

Thad Woodard

A native of Selma, North Carolina, Thad Woodard is the retired president and CEO of the North Carolina Bankers Association.