UNC Asheville Announces the Naming of Ponder Hall in Honor of Chancellor Emerita Anne Ponder


UNC Asheville will recognize Chancellor Emerita Anne Ponder with the renaming of Overlook Hall on June 15, 2018 during a ceremony for the campus community.  The residence hall opened in fall 2012 during Chancellor Emerita Ponder’s nearly decade-long tenure at UNC Asheville, and it remains one of the most popular residence halls on campus – home to 300 students each year. It is one of many buildings added to the campus during  her leadership of the largest building program in UNC Asheville’s history, which included construction of the Wilma M. Sherrill Center.  

“Asheville is home to Anne Ponder, who as Chancellor of Asheville’s University welcomed and encouraged thousands of students, faculty and staff to call this university their home and contribute to the community. It’s an honor to recognize her dedication to this university and the Asheville area, as well as her continued commitment to higher education and to the public liberal arts,” said UNC Asheville Interim Chancellor Joe Urgo.

The newly named Ponder Hall serves as a model of technological advances and sustainability, epitomizing Chancellor Emerita Ponder’s work to advance UNC Asheville’s mission and core values.  As Chancellor, she led a campus-wide collaborative project to create a multi-year plan that included measurable goals with an emphasis on quality and sustainability. With this focus, UNC Asheville made major strides as a national leader in the liberal arts, and has become one of the top choices for students seeking a rigorous and multi-faceted educational experience. The university received its 10-year re-affirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2012 with high praise from the external assessment committee. During her service as chancellor, she raised support for the university which resulted in doubling the size of the university’s endowment and more than doubling the number of endowed chairs for the faculty.  In 2009 the university was chosen as the first international headquarters for the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), bringing UNC Asheville’s leadership in the liberal arts home to campus in a new way.

During Chancellor Emerita Ponder’s tenure, the academic profile and diversity of the student body, as well as the proportion of students living on campus increased, with the opening of Ponder Hall boosting the percent of students living on campus from 35 percent to 40 percent. The university expects the number of students living on campus to increase again this fall 2018 with the opening of new residence halls currently under construction.

Overlook Hall will be renamed Ponder Hall at a June 15, 2018 cerremony.When it was completed in 2012, at a cost of $16.7 million, Ponder Hall became UNC Asheville’s second building on campus to house solar panels. The building is served by a geothermal system that both cools and heats the building, along with adjacent Governors Hall and Governors Village residence halls. It features 10 study lounges with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering views of the athletic fields and the Botanical Gardens, with the only rooftop study lounge on campus, and houses The Down Under – UNC Asheville’s all-day and late-night sandwich shop.

UNC Asheville’s Board of Trustees approved the renaming of Ponder Hall at the April 20, 2018, meeting.

“It is my particular privilege as the chairman of the Board of Trustees to honor Chancellor Emerita Ponder,” said Kennon Briggs, chairman of the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees. “I would not have enjoyed the opportunity to serve on the Board without Chancellor Ponder asking me to do so. Her leadership during several pivotal years in UNC Asheville’s history laid the foundation for the bright future of this world-class institution. Who we are as a university today is a reflection of the tireless passion and steady hand of Anne Ponder. She positioned us well to welcome the next generation of thoughtful leaders.”  

Since her retirement from UNC Asheville in 2014, Chancellor Emerita Ponder has led Anne Ponder Associates, specializing in presidential transitions, college and university strategic planning, board development and coaching/mentoring new college presidents. In 2013, she received the inaugural Van Ummersen Presidential Leadership Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, in recognition of her demonstrated leadership and promotion of women's opportunities in athletics administration and coaching. In 2012, she was named a fellow by the National Collegiate Honors Council, a national professional association of colleges and universities with honors programs. She is a past president of the organization, and she founded and directed Elon University's Honors Program during her first faculty appointment. She is a former faculty member of Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, is past president of the Southern University Conference, and wrote the chapter on strategic planning in the American Council on Education’s book Leading America’s Branch Campuses.

Prior to her service at UNC Asheville, Chancellor Emerita Ponder was president of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in English from UNC Chapel Hill. She also was the first woman and first pre-tenure professor at Elon University to receive the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching. Upon her retirement from UNC Asheville, she was recognized by the governor of North Carolina with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, the state’s highest civilian honor.

A native of Asheville, Chancellor Emerita Ponder is the daughter of the late Eleanor and Herschel Ponder, both of whom traced their Asheville family roots to the 1780s. She is married to award-winning writer and publisher Dr. Christopher Brookhouse.