Cates and eight new members were appointed to the board Thursday by the state Senate. She said she expects to start her new post in July after the expiration of her second four-year term with the BOT in May.
Five other board members' terms will expire this year, and replacements will be named in April after BOG approval. Governor Mike Easley appoints two of the new trustees, while the BOG appoints four.
Cates said she does not know who will fill her position but that she will appoint a nominations committee at the next board meeting to poll the new and returning trustees, which will help decide the next chairman, vice chairman and secretary. Nominations will take place in May and will be voted on by the trustees in July.
Cates decided to pursue the new position because she said she is determined to enhance the educational opportunities of UNC-system students.
"I feel educating the youth of our state is very important," she said.
A UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, Cates will contribute years of university involvement to the BOG position. "I have worked with foundations and organizations for 25 years ... so I have learned a lot about education," she said.
Cates has interacted with BOG members in the past and said she looks forward to utilizing that experience to better represent the UNC system.
And she said the perspective gained from learning how system campuses deal with similar issues will help her understand how to work with fellow board members. "I think we're all of one mind to work for the best of education in the state of North Carolina."
Chancellor James Moeser, who is nearing the conclusion of his first year serving on the BOT, said Cates will make a dynamic contribution to the BOG. "She's been a marvelously energetic chair in the past year and remarkably supportive," he said. "She's absolutely dedicated to UNC-Chapel Hill and the pursuit of excellence."