University City Partners Welcomes a New Executive Director

After working with us for ten years, our founding Executive Director, Mary Hopper, decided to leave University City Partners (UCP). In her time with us, Mary was completely devoted to supporting our focus on enhancing the economic vitality of University City. UCP has so much to thank Mary for over this decade of remarkable contributions.  Her enthusiasm for all things University City helped improve this wonderful district and is allowing us to move forward to an even brighter future.

Who will take our vision forward?
UCP is pleased to announce that Darlene Heater has been selected as our second Executive Director.  Darlene comes to UCP from Charlotte Center City Partners (CCCP), where she has served since 2006 and is currently serving as Vice President for Neighborhood Development.    In this capacity Darlene has demonstrated leadership in areas that are crucial to UCP:  a vision for public transit and how transformative it will be with the proper focus and land use; a commitment to sustainability and green initiatives that are key to UCP’s future; and a passion for reaching out to constituents to develop consensus and, more importantly, to learn their vision for the type of community we all are committed to creating.  Having lived in the “suburbs” of University City for 16 years, Darlene has hands-on knowledge about our challenges, opportunities and strengths.  UCP is excited to engage a fresh perspective with Darlene’s vision and experience and we look forward to her transition prior to the end of the year.

Top of the Agenda
One of our first tasks will be to determine the path forward toward accomplishing UCP’s strategic vision.  We are at a critical, yet very exciting, point in our life cycle.  To that end, we will focus on the following key initiatives:  1) Assimilating baseline data on the significant concentration of energy, finance and optoelectronics businesses in UCP; 2) Creating a comprehensive Marketing Plan for University Research Park; 3) Designing and installing way-finding and monumental signage; 4) Developing unified infrastructure design standards along the light rail line; and 5) Creating and growing events that promote the three brand pillars of UCP (nGenious, Global and Green).  Each one of these key initiatives is challenging, but their potential for our economic success is tremendous.  UCP is eager to address these areas as quickly as possible.

As we welcome Darlene, all of us at University City Partners want to thank all of those who have helped us reach the place that we now enjoy.  A great deal has been accomplished since the Municipal Service District was created in 2003.  Although much has been accomplished for University City in the past 10 years, we are looking forward to growing that exponentially in the next ten years.  With the resources, opportunities, leadership, and commitment we experience every day in University City, we believe the next ten will be our best.

Until Darlene begins December 2nd, Janelle Goodrich is our primary contact for University City Partners.  She can be reached at


University City Partners Board of Directors

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