The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday October 28th

Wilson Succeeds Ruffin as BOG Chairman

Brad Wilson was unanimously elected Friday to replace Ben Ruffin as chairman of the BOG.

Ruffin was not eligible to seek another term because he has already held the two-year post for two terms as board chairman.

Ruffin presided over the board for four historic years, which not only witnessed the passing of the largest bond referendum in the nation's history to fund capital improvements across the UNC system but also several large tuition increases and repeated challenges to the University's funding.

In his farewell speech, Ruffin praised the members of the board for their hard work in ensuring voter approval for the $3.1 billion bond referendum.

He also challenged those in attendance to fight to ensure that the University is well-funded by the state.

"We must as a board, as a state ... find a better way to fund our universities rather than funding it on the back of students," Ruffin said.

Ruffin was at times one of the voices of dissent when the board voted to approve tuition increase to help fund the University.

Ruffin has another year on the board before his third and final term expires.

Wilson, who has served on the board since 1997, is senior vice president and general counsel to BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.

Wilson said one of his goals as chairman will be to eliminate a division that has recently occurred on the board between members who support the two research universities and members who support the smaller schools.

"We have a duty to be concerned about the quality and performance of all our campuses," Wilson said. "We must resist framing issues as research (universities) versus everyone else."

Former state Sen. Teena Little was also unanimously elected to replace John Cecil as vice chairman.

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

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