Randy Woodson’s selection as chancellor for N.C. State University was described by most in three words — a perfect fit.
The UNC-system Board of Governors elected Woodson at its meeting Friday. The decision was made after a six-month search conducted by an 18-person committee.
Woodson, who currently serves as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Purdue University, a land-grant university in Indiana similar to NCSU, was one of three candidates recommended by the search committee to UNC-system President Erskine Bowles. Bowles recommended Woodson to the board.
Once Woodson expressed interest in the job, the decision was a “no-brainer,” and the other candidates did not matter, Bowles said.
“When you look at Randy Woodson and look at his track record, it’s almost like I wrote that job description with him in mind,” Bowles said at the meeting.
“He had a combination of things — the people skills, the expertise, the vision, the passion.”
A chief concern for those involved in the decision was restoring credibility and stability to the university.
The disclosure in June 2009 of preferential treatment in the hiring of Mary Easley, wife of former N.C. Gov. Mike Easley, prompted the resignation of Chancellor James Oblinger and other campus leaders.
Former UNC-Charlotte Chancellor Jim Woodward has served as interim chancellor since then and made progress in restoring credibility.
“I think people are excited about moving forward and forgetting about the past,” Bowles said.
Purdue officials tried their best to keep Woodson at the university by offering a lucrative salary — a significant raise from his salary of $309,000 as of 2008 — and hinting that he was a likely candidate for university president.
Woodson instead chose the NCSU chancellor job with its salary of $420,000 — less than what he could have earned at Purdue.
Woodson told Bowles that he hopes to stay at NCSU until he retires — 10 to 15 years — and to implement his vision for the university with strategic planning and some reorganization. He said he hopes to elevate NCSU to “elite” status.
“My clear impression of NCSU at this point is that it’s an outstanding institution that needs to tell its story better,” Woodson said.
NCSU Student Body President Jim Ceresnak said that even though Woodson is neither an alumnus of NCSU nor from the state, he will be able to relate to the students.
“One of the things that students want is someone who loves NCSU and wears that on their sleeve. He already has that burning love for the university,” Ceresnak said.
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