Trustee Joe Price, Ron Kimble, Trustee Cathy Bessant, Chancellor Phililp Dubois
It was a luncheon filled with love. With several hundred of his closest friends and colleagues in attendance, Ron Kimble received UNC Charlotte’s highest community recognition, the 2016 Distinguished Service Award. In honoring Kimble, Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said he personifies the purpose of the award, which honors individuals who are devoted community servants and selfless in their dedication to the betterment of Charlotte and the greater region.
“We have worked closely together on some major projects based on the idea that we can do more together than we can do separately,” Dubois said. “The sum is definitely greater than the parts. And when you talk with other people in the city who have worked with Ron, they all said the same thing. Ron gets things done. He’s the rainmaker, and we love it when he forces us to take out our umbrellas.”
Kimble has been extraordinarily active since arriving in Charlotte in 2000, working first as assistant city manager and then as deputy city manager of Charlotte since 2007. He’s overseen economic initiatives including the U.S. National Whitewater Center, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and serving as lead partner with the Blue Line Extension of light rail that will link UNC Charlotte to Charlotte’s center city.
However Ron’s true passion, and the cause he and his wife Jan have closest to their heart, is the Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage. Named for their daughter who met an untimely death at the hands of domestic violence in 2012, the foundation is devoted to domestic violence prevention programs. They help research, establish and monitor the success of programs offered by counselors, educators, agencies, employers and law enforcement.
The focus is on prevention and teaching healthy relationships and the results have already been impactful. The foundation partnered with UNC Charlotte researchers to explore the cost of domestic violence in North Carolina and the statistics are staggering: 1 in 4 women in America will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in her life, with the economic toll an astonishing $307 million annually in North Carolina alone.
The Kimbles have been able to channel personal grief into something constructive. “We know that in the realm of domestic violence protection, this is just the beginning for Ron and Jan,” said Karen Parker, president and chief executive at Safe Alliance, a nonprofit organization serving more than 20,000 people annually with sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and trauma services in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus and south Iredell counties.
“Often when there is domestic violence, people don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “But Ron and Jan are really different. They have taken on this life mission of helping others and ending domestic violence.”
Pictured above and right: Ron Kimble with Mayor Jennifer Roberts; Jamie Kimble