Skip to main content

Board of Advisors

The Board of Advisors of the UNC Charlotte Libraries is comprised of a group of distinguished individuals who have expressed a commitment to the Mission and Vision of the libraries and who would like to help it achieve its full potential. The purpose of the Board is to serve as an advocacy and advancement group. Members provide the Dean with knowledge, external perspectives, and financial resources to advance the mission of the Libraries.

Photo of Bob Price

Associate Dean for Planning, Innovation, and Engagement

Bob Price has been with UNC Charlotte since February 2012. He brings a wealth of diversified experience from his over 35 years of experience in both the private and public sectors across multiple industries. He has worked within higher education for over seventeen years including Duke University and the University of Notre Dame. Bob is known for his enthusiasm, strategic vision, innovation, and building inclusive environments that invite each member of the team to contribute their best.


  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro, MLIS
  • Azusa Pacific University, M.A. Education Technology
  • Indiana University, BS. Management and Administration

Notable Certifications

  • Cornell University, Change Leadership Certificate
  • HR Certification Institute, Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR)
  • Sheehan Associates, Message Development Clark Consulting, Certified Performance Technology & Instructional Design
Photo of Catherine Thompson

Senior Counsel with McGuireWoods LLP

Catherine Thompson is a Senior Counsel with McGuireWoods LLP, specializing in business and complex commercial litigation.  She obtained a B.A. in history from Duke University in 1976 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1980. She has taught trial advocacy classes and is an emeritus member of the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners, the licensing authority for the practice of law in North Carolina. She was President of the Mecklenburg County Bar from 1991-92 and has been involved with the local and state bars for much of her career.  She also has been a strong supporter of legal services and is currently on the capital campaign board of advisors for the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.  In recent years, Catherine has enjoyed being a part of the  “salon” series and building relationships between UNCC and the local community.
Being a part of this board allows Catherine to return to her early interests in history and in archives.  From 1976-77, between her undergraduate and law school years, Catherine spent much of her time in the North Carolina State Archives, completing a project she started while in college to inventory and catalogue the materials related to women in the state.  This project resulted in the publication by the State Archives in 1977 of a Guide to Women’s Records.

Photo of Cordelia Anderson

Owner, Cordelia Anderson Consulting

Cordelia has 20+ years of experience creating strategic marketing and communications plans for highly visible organizations. As a consultant, she brings strategic marketing and communications solutions to clients through advanced researching, planning, execution, and metrics evaluation. She also brings new approaches to branding, public relations, content strategy, advertising, social media, email marketing, thought leadership, content, crisis communications, events, and team development. Prior to launching her consultancy, Cordelia served as Director of Marketing & Communications at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library for 10 years, where she provided strategic leadership in telling the Library's story, including oversight of marketing, public relations, customer engagement, and branding.

Other roles she has held include Director of Marketing for Charlotte Preparatory School and Marketing Manager at Visit Cabarrus. In 2011, Anderson received the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation from the Public Relations Society of America, which indicates mastery of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to excel in communications and marketing.

 In 2016, Cordelia’s team was awarded the first-ever Library Journal “Marketer of the Year” honor. The award was received for promoting a better understanding of public library services as essential to the Charlotte community and sharing information about these efforts with peer libraries. 

Education:   Master of Arts, University of Richmond (VA)
Bachelor of Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)

Photo of Dawn Schmitz

Associate Dean for Special Collections and University Archives, J. Murrey Atkins Library

Dawn is the Associate Dean for Special Collections and University Archives, a position she has held since July 2016. She began working at Atkins in 2012 as the Digital Programs Archivist before becoming interim head of Special Collections in 2014. Her responsibilities include administrative oversight and leadership for the Special Collections and University Archives department, whose members collect, preserve, and provide access to manuscripts, university archives, government documents, and rare publications. They conduct, collect, preserve and provide access to oral history interviews, and they create digital collections through digitization, collecting items already in digital formats, the creation of metadata, and collaboration on digital repository development. They provide research and instructional services, conduct outreach activities, create exhibits, and assist University units with records management. Previous to coming to UNC Charlotte, Dawn worked at the University of California, Irvine and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2016, she was accepted to the Archives Leadership Institute, a program funded through the National Archives and Records Administration.


  • University of Pittsburgh, Ph.D. and MLIS, 2004
  • University of Wisconsin, BA, 1989
Photo of Emily Lekoski

Senior National Marketing Manager, Chartwells K12, Compass Group

Emily has more than 20 years’ experience in vendor relations, brand management and sales. She serves as the senior marketing manager for Chartwells K12. Emily plays an integral role in developing marketing campaigns that increase student engagement, create excitement and drive participation. She also coordinates corporate and regional marketing initiatives. 

Emily has always taken an active role within the community having served on multiple boards in Charlotte for over a decade including CMPD Animal Care & Control’s 501c3, the local chapter of the FSU Alumni Foundation and the Civic & Cultural Arts Center of Pineville.

She is enthusiastic to serve on the Board of Advisors of the UNC Charlotte Libraries in order to further their mission; support the library and its services; and serve the UNCC community.

Photo of Gary Rautenstrauch

Former CEO and CIO of Baker & Taylor, CEO of Blackwell North America, CEO of SirsiDynix

Gary spent most of his business career working with libraries. He was formerly the CEO and CIO of Baker & Taylor (a library supply company), CEO of Blackwell North America (an academic library supplier) and CEO of SirsiDynix (an integrated library systems software supplier). He has volunteered on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Digital Strategy Project Steering Committee and currently the Atkins Library Institutional Repository Task Force.

Gary is President of the Founders’ Circle, Ltd., the Mint Museum craft & design affiliate, and also a member of the Mecklenburg County Information Systems and Technology Advisory Committee. He is an assistant swim coach on a year-round swim team at the Levine Jewish Community Center in Charlotte and is an avid runner and triathlete.

Gary earned an MBA at New York University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University of Miami.

Photo of Gerald Holmes

Associate Professor and Diversity Coordinator at the University Libraries at UNC Greensboro

As a member of the Libraries’ administrative faculty, Gerald Holmes led the creation of the Libraries’ Post MLS Diversity Residency Program and its Diversity Committee.  As the Diversity Coordinator, Holmes took on the additional responsibility as a Co-Principal Investigator for three Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grants designed to recruit and prepare minority librarians for serving their communities in the 21st Century.  As a credit to his work, 55 librarians from underrepresented populations are now working.

Gerald served as a Co-Principal Investigator for the Library Diversity Institute Project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  Gerald’s research interest includes diversity issues, reference desk services, and the promotion of librarianship as a career.  Gerald also serves on the Chancellor's Advisory Committee for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at UNC Greensboro.
Multiple organizations have recognized him for his contributions to diversity and equity. In 2014, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the UNC-G African American and African Diaspora Studies Program, and the American Library Association named him an Achievement in Library Diversity Research honoree. In 2015, he received the Black Caucus ALA Distinguished Service to the Library Profession Award, the North Carolina Library Association Distinguished Service Award, and the Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumni Award from the Carolina General Alumni Association.  In 2019, Holmes received the UNC School of Information and Library Science Distinguished Alumni Award.
•    M.S.L.S., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1985 
•    B.S., University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 1981, Criminal Justice

Photo of Henry Atkins

President, Atkins Properties, LLC, Manager, Carolina Fresh, LLC (franchisee of Tide Dry Cleaners)

In addition to his current positions with Atkins Properties and Carolina Fresh, Henry has held senior positions with Faison and Cousins Properties.  He has deep experience with various Boards, serving on the Board of Directors/Board of Advisors of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, and extensive service for UNC Charlotte, including the  Athletic Foundation Board, The University Foundation, Belk College of Business, and Facilities Development Corp.

Henry has earned a BS from the University of South Carolina, MBA from the University of Idaho and a Master's degree from MIT.

Henry is the grandson of J. Murrey Atkins, after whom the Library is named.

Photo of Jess George

Community Impact Manager for Google Fiber

Jess George is the Community Impact Manager for Google Fiber in Charlotte. Prior to joining to joining the Google Fiber team, Jess worked for 15 years in the nonprofit field. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Latin American Coalition, North Carolina's largest Latino immigrant integration and advocacy organization. As Community Impact Manager, Jess works with community leaders, organizations and neighborhoods to address issues of access, opportunity and digital inclusion. 

Originally from a tiny town in central New York state, Jess got her BA in International Politics from Penn State University. She has called Charlotte home for 18 years.

Meg Ruschmann

Meg Ruschmann is on the Technology Infrastructure team at Bank of America in the Global Technology organization. Her work is focused on ensuring currency so the bank’s applications run on supported and secure infrastructure. She has also worked for the Data and Records Management teams. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Photo of Paula Connolly

Professor of English, UNC Charlotte

Paula is a Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UNC Charlotte.  Her research interests include film as well as issues of diversity in children's literature. Her book, Slavery in American Children’s Literature, 1790-2010, published by the University of Iowa Press, explores the development of racial imagery in children's literature. 

In addition, Paula has published numerous articles, serves on the editorial board of two journals, and has obtained external funding to support her research including having been a Caleb Loring, Jr. Fellow at the Boston Athenӕum and a Visiting Scholar at the American Antiquarian Society. In all of that work, the J. Murrey Atkins Library has been a priceless resource. Paula received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and has been a happy Charlotte resident for over two decades.

Photo of Peter Larkin

Adjunct Lecturer, English Department, UNC Charlotte

Peter has been an adjunct lecturer in the English Department at UNC Charlotte since 2013. He received both his J.D. and his Ph. D. in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin and has taught in a number of universities and colleges before moving to Charlotte in 2009 with his wife and two daughters. A dedicated supporter of libraries, he has served on the board of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation since 2011 and, in addition, he and his wife, Ashley, support the libraries of UNC-Chapel Hill and the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. As to scholarship, his main focus is upon medieval literature and history, and his most recent publication is an edition of the Middle English crusading romance, Richard Coer de Lyon. Other interests include hunting and playing golf.

Photo of Renee Anthony Leek

Director of Program Operations, Center for Postsecondary Success, Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Inc.

Driven by her commitment to holistic student development and achievement, Renee’ Anthony Leak continues to make her mark in leading some of the most critical operations at Communities In Schools.  Renee’ represents CIS in collaborative partnerships with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Central Piedmont Community College, Foundation For The Carolinas, City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, just to name a few.  She previously served as Program Director for the West Learning Community, Re-Entry Programming with Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and Scholarships as well as Director of High Schools 9th-12th and ThinkCOLLEGE®. Renee’ is currently the Director of Program Operations in the Center for Postsecondary Success where she supports and trains a team of Educational and Career Coaches to support middle and high school students throughout Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

As a Director in the non-profit sector, she strategically plans and brings energetic leadership to help implement quality case management and innovation—the end goal for these efforts is CMS graduates who are prepared to enter the next stage of life prepared to pursue various paths to academic, professional/vocational, and personal success. 

Renee’ has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Forensics from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. She has extensive training and management in youth development and postsecondary programming.  In addition, she has a Nonprofit Business Certification from Wake Forest University and a Certification in the Public Management Program MPA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Renee’ is married to Dr. Jeffrey Leak and they have two children Jaelyn and Rylan. One of her favorite quotes is “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men/women”  ---Frederick Douglass.

Photo of Sharon Reichard

Director of Library Communications

Sharon has over 30 years of experience in communications and marketing in higher education, non-profits, and broadcasting. At UNC Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library she directs the planning, implementation, and evaluation of strategic communications and public relations initiatives including marketing, publications, internal communications, social media, and web to effectively promote the Library to students, alumni, donors, and the Charlotte community.

Sharon began her career as an editor and producer for WWBT, the local NBC affiliate in Richmond, Virginia. She moved into non-profit communications at Prevent Blindness Virginia, where she served as the director of public relations and managed the children’s vision screening program. Sharon’s next role was at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Adcenter (now Brandcenter) where she was the communications and student services manager for the award-winning advertising graduate program. Upon moving to Charlotte, NC in 2004 she joined the start-up Charlotte School of Law as its first communications manager, and in 2012 began her current position at Atkins Library. Sharon received a BS in Mass Communications/Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Photo of Stan Sherrill

Vice President, Human Resources, Employee & Labor Relations at Duke Energy Corporation

Stan leads the team responsible for development and implementing the company’s overall labor strategy, including the negotiation and administration of collective bargaining agreements and the handling of union grievances and arbitrations.  His team is also responsible for workplace investigations; severance program administration; policy, procedure, and program development and interpretation; and compliance efforts, such as affirmative action programs and equal employment opportunity initiatives.

Previously Stan served as deputy general counsel for Duke Energy, a position he has held since 2007.  He assumed his current position following the merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy in July 2012.

Prior to joining Duke Energy in 2007, Stan was an attorney at the employment and labor law firms of Littler Mendelson, from 1998 to 2007, and Ogletree Deakins, from 1995 to 1998.

The Murphy NC native earned a JD degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and the Order of the Coif.  He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UNC Charlotte.

Stan and his wife Marla have a son and a daughter.

Photo of Theckla Pope

President and Director of Accounts, Saturday Brand Communications

Theckla is a principle of Saturday Brand Communications, an idea-driven advertising agency, driven by fueling fan bases around brands and companies, and creating advertising and experiences that people truly enjoy interacting with. In her role at Saturday, Theckla earns trusting relationships with the agency’s clients by understanding their business operations and opportunities, gleaning insights, and identifying ways the Saturday team and its partners can offer creative solutions to their business problems, often with award-winning results.

She is the former president of AAF Charlotte (Charlotte’s premier advertising federation), a role she also held in 2013-2014 and again in 2018. Prior to Saturday, Theckla worked on the GAP account at Laird + Partners in New York, and at Ogilvy & Mather, where she helped with DHL’s North American brand launch. Theckla is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she majored in Economics and minored in Psychology.

A native Charlottean, Theckla is a bit of a unicorn, but also a big supporter of anything that helps make the city a better place, including UNC Charlotte. She’s thrilled to join the Board of Advisors of the UNC Charlotte Libraries and looks forward to continuing to see the university, and its libraries grow and evolve.

Photo of William Armstrong Branch

Chairman, J. Murrey Atkins Library Board of Advisors

Known to friends and enemies alike as Twig, Mr. Branch spends his days as a student in the graduate school at UNC Charlotte. A serial M.A. candidate presently chasing his third M.A. in Latin American studies, he obtained his prior two M.A. degrees in Religious Studies and History. Thirty years before starting graduate school at UNC Charlotte, Twig graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was a below average student.

Prior to attending UNC Charlotte, Twig worked in a family insurance business, which was exactly as boring as you might think. He and his very patient wife, Barbara, along with his wicked smart daughter Hilary moved to Charlotte from Upstate New York in 1994. Hilary lives in Chicago and works at the Art Institute. They continue to spend their summers in New York, as denizens of Chautauqua Institution.
A passion for lifelong learning sums up Twig’s list of interests. As a poor sailor and indifferent gardener, he believes poor skills are no excuse for a lack of enthusiasm. Additionally, he has never been convicted of a felony and refuses to carry a balance on his credit card.

Barbara and Twig acknowledge an addiction to travel, with an emphasis on the unusual or anywhere they speak French. Finally, Twig has discovered a late in life talent for fundraising and over the past four years he has uncovered over $1,000,000 in gifts for UNC Charlotte.

Photo of William Brandon

Professor Emeritus, UNC Charlotte

Bill Brandon is Professor Emeritus from UNC Charlotte.  He was the Metrolina Medical Foundation (MMF) Distinguished  Professor of Public Policy on Health from 1994 to 2014.  He and his wife Pam recently made a significant contribution to the College of Health and Human Services through the creation of the Pam Fawcett-Brandon and William P. Brandon Endowment.  This endowment is intended to supplement existing resources and support for the MMF Professorship, and encourage the growth of research, teaching and service in health and environmental policy.

Ph.D., Political Science (Duke University)
M.P.H., Health Policy and Administration,  School of Public Health (UNC Chapel Hill) 
M.Sc., Politics - London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London) 
B.A. (General Honors & Phi Beta Kappa): Philosophy & Political Science (The Johns Hopkins University)

Bill has earned numerous awards, including:

  • 2008 Recipient of the Harshini V. de Silva Graduate Mentoring Award, UNC Charlotte 
  • Fulbright Scholar, U.S. Department of State, in Oman Medical College, 2008-9. 
  • Elected Fellow of The Royal Institute of Public Health (FRIPH), November 2007 (now the Royal Society for Public Health (FRSPH)

In addition, he has an extensive record of scholarly publications, grants, fellowships and other funded activities.

Stephen Weiter

Interim Dean of the J. Murrey Atkins Library

Stephen P. Weiter is the interim dean of the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte effective Jan. 1, 2024, until a permanent dean is hired. Prior to his work with UNC Charlotte, Weiter was the dean of university libraries at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. With more than 15 years of progressive library leadership experience, he also served in senior librarian positions at SUNY College for Environmental Science and Forestry, the New York State Appellate Division Law Library and the Finger Lakes Library System.

He has authored numerous papers and has been an invited presenter for multiple professional library and educational associations. Weiter was the managing editor and publisher of the peer reviewed Open Access Journal: The Journal of New Librarianship prior to his retirement.  

He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in political science from the University of Louisville, a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and a Master of Library Science from the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. He also completed studies at the Leadership Institute for Academic LIbrarians at Harvard University.