Friday, November 22 

Kevin P. Tully
Public Defender for Mecklenburg County

Topic "Crime and the Courts - Beyond the Headlines"

 Crime and the Courts are often in the news headlines.  But are the stories accurate? Why does it matter?   

In this talk, I will examine some recent news coverage of these topics and discuss how the public is often left with misleading or false impressions.  We will discuss why a better understanding by the public will lead to both improved safety and greater justice. In particular we will explore coverage of bail reform and the District Attorney Office rate of dismissing gun charges.


Mr. Kevin P. Tully is the Public Defender for Mecklenburg County.   He joined the office in 1989 and was appointed to his first term as Public Defender in 2007.  During his time in the office, Mr. Tully has served in many capacities - intern, paralegal, investigator, and attorney.  


The Mecklenburg County Public Defender Office represents about 20,000 clients each year in criminal trial court. The office represents people who are accused of crime and are unable to afford a lawyer.  Currently there are 62 attorneys and 35 support staff (social workers, investigators, legal assistants, interpreter) serving clients in Mecklenburg.  


During his tenure as Public Defender, he has sought to improve the services provided to clients by introducing holistic approaches to criminal defense and has championed efforts to bring about reforms in the criminal court system.


Mr. Tully has also sought to improve services for poor clients beyond Mecklenburg.  He is a founding faculty member of the UNC School of Government's Trial School, and each summer participates in teaching trial skills at the week long seminar to attorneys who represent poor clients.  


He has served as the President of the NC Association of Public Defenders and as a Steering Committee member for the National Association for Public Defense.  In 2018, he was recognized by the NC Association of Public Defenders with the James E. Williams Award for his office's work in fighting for racial equity in the court system.


He was born in Brooklyn, NY.   He moved to Charlotte while in high school.  Mr. Tully graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School ('81), UNC-Chapel Hill (B.A. '85) and UNC Law School (J.D. '89).






Friday, December 6

Holiday Luncheon


Where: Carmel Country Club (Map)

Time: 12 noon

Cost: $27/person

Organized by Carol Kesmodel

See BG Metzler and Ruth McDevitt

at the Lunch Bunch Table


mail a check, made out to Senior Scholars,

to Carol Kesmodel - see the directory for address



Wishing everyone a Healthy Holiday and Happy 2020


What's Going On At Queens University of Charlotte?

Queens University Calendar 

 Tip: scroll down the right side, below the calendar, to find events open to the "General Public"


Alternate Venue: Queens University Sports Complex

2229 Tyvola Rd, Charlotte, NC 28210 (MAP)

Four times a year we meet at the Queens University Sports Complex. The dates for the venue change are shown in the Senior Scholars Scrolling Calendar. A reminder is given at the prior meeting and highlighted in the weekly email. This location is significantly smaller (estimated capacity is 75% of that at PUMC) than PUMC, so plan to come early to be assured of a seat.





January 10, 2020

Tom Hanchett, PhD

Topic: The History of Segregated Housing in Charlotte

Dr. Tom Hanchett is the eminent community historian in Charlotte, NC. He has been a frequent and very popular speaker to Senior Scholars. In this presentation, Tom will disucss the history of racial segregation in Charlotte neighborhoods from the 1800's to the present day. 

Tom is an expert on the history of Charlotte's people, streets and buildings. He has been associated with various Charlotte community groups and with Levine Museum of the New South. Previously he served as Staff Historian for 16 years at the Levine Museum where he curated the permanent exhibition "Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers" (named best in the Southeast by the South East Museums Conference), and a string of national-award-winning temporary exhibitions including "COURAGE" abut the Carolina roots of the "Brown v. Board" of Education Civil Rights case. 

Tom's writings range widely on urban history and Southern culture: a book about Charlotte's neighborhoods, Sorting Out the New South City: Race, Class & Urban Development in Charlotte (UNC Press); an essay exploring the history of US shopping malls; a monthly newspaper column Food From Home; and more.

Educated at Cornell University, University of Chicago, and UNC Chapel Hill. Tom plays fiddle in his spare time. 






January 17, 2020

Mark Kelso, PhD, Queens University

Topic: BREXIT - What Does It Mean For Us?

Dr. Mark Kelso will discuss the origins and causes of BREXIT, the contending views, the options ahead for the Brits and Europeans, and how Americans might be affected in the long term. 

Dr. Kelso has been one of the most popular of our Senior Scholar Speakers. He has guided our Members through a wide range of complex topics spanning the American political scene.

Mark is Professor of Political Science in the Queens University Department of Political Science and International Studies. He has been teaching at Queens since 1996, He has also taught at the University of Nevada _ Las Vegas, at Penn State University, and at St. Francis College. He received his PhD from Vanderbilt University and his BA from Murray State University.

At Queens, Mark has received the McColl Faculty Award, the Distinguished Professor Award, and the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award, among many other awards.

He has spoken and presented research on Presidential Rhetoric, the Environment and Climate Change, International Politics, Democracy, South Africa, and many other political subjects.

Amazingly, Mark began his political training back in 1986 when he was a U.S. Senate intern for then-new Senator Mitch McConnell!"







January 24, 2020

Laura Belcher, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity

Topic: Affordable Housing in Charlotte

Laura Belcher joined Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte in 2014. The organization’s mission is to remove barriers to affordable housing by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. During her tenure, Laura has overseen a 30% growth in production, to 75 new/recycled homes and 100 Critical Home Repair projects budgeted for FY2020. She led the effort in the creation and implementation of a 2016-2020 strategic plan, with the goal of serving 600 additional families. Implementation of the plan has resulted in more diverse housing solutions and an expansion in financial literacy offerings. In September, Habitat Charlotte crossed the milestone of serving its 2000th family. Laura has served on numerous committees of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI); she currently co-chairs the Collaborative Operating Model Executive Task Force and was elected to a 3 year term on the HFHI US Council. She spent the first 20 years of her career in corporate roles with Arthur Andersen, Wachovia Securities and Transamerica. Laura is a CPA, a graduate of the College of William and Mary, and spent 9 years in nonprofit work as CFO/COO of the Arts & Sciences Council prior to joining Habitat. She attributes her passion for Habitat to her church where she started volunteering and building houses over 20 years ago.


January 24- Lunch Bunch

Locations to be announced

See BG Metzler and Ruth McDevitt

at the Lunch Bunch table