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The Daily Tar Heel

BOG Approves New Chancellor For N.C. Central

On June 1, James H. Ammons will take over as chancellor of N.C. Central. Ammons will replace Julius Chambers, who has held the post since 1993.

Ammons was chosen in a unanimous vote by the full Board of Governors on Friday morning.

"We had the daunting task of finding a person who could follow in the footsteps of Chancellor Chambers and finding someone to continue the tradition of leadership at North Carolina Central University," said William Smith, a member of the chancellor search committee and chairman of the N.C. Central Board of Trustees.

Ammons currently serves as provost at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University.

One of Ammons' main tasks in the coming years will be to increase N.C. Central enrollment. N.C. Central is one of the seven UNC-system campuses targeted for growth during the next decade.

Since 1985, the enrollment at FAMU has increased from 5,000 students to more than 12,000.

Ammons said that in order for N.C. Central to grow, it will have to attract students of all backgrounds.

"When you start out with the mind-set that there is strength in diversity, you create programs that create a climate that supports students of all backgrounds," Ammons said. "While North Carolina Central University is a historically black university, we cannot be all black -- we will recruit students of all backgrounds."

But both Ammons and Smith pointed out that N.C. Central's law school has been able to achieve great diversity while maintaining a high academic level -- boasting such graduates as Gov. Mike Easley and recently appointed Supreme Court Justice G.K. Buttefield.

"You don't have to throw away the history and heritage of the institution to make it attractive to people of all backgrounds," Ammons said.

He added that one of the other problems facing the campus will be improving its physical and technological level.

But Ammons said the $3.1 billion bond referendum that passed overwhelmingly last November will help in solving those problems.

He also said that state funding alone will not allow N.C. Central to become a top-notch university, and the school will need to turn to private fund raising.

"The funding that comes from the state is very helpful, but it will not allow you to reach the kind of quality that an institution aspires to achieve," Ammons said.

Ammons is the second person to be named chancellor at a UNC-system university in less than 24 hours.

On Thursday, William Muse became chancellor of East Carolina University.

"We are in a period of dramatic change in higher education and we need great leaders," said UNC-system president Molly Broad in her report before the full Board of Governors last Friday.

"You have just appointed two great leaders."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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