While no one can exactly replace UNC-system President Erskine Bowles, the UNC-system Board of Governors is doing its best to find someone like these North Carolina leaders, who hold some of his best qualities and points of experience.
Born and bred in Greensboro and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Bowles has been known by colleagues and state leaders to have a deep understanding of the importance of the state’s constitutional promise of access to higher education and the system’s commitment to teaching, research and public service.
It didn’t hurt that as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff from 1994 to 1998, he helped negotiate one of the first balanced budgets in a generation.
His political experience along with his business acumen — he served as an associate at Morgan Stanley & Co. — set him up to serve as a beloved leader of one of the state’s largest institutions during one of the worst recessions in U.S. history.
Former UNC-system President C.D. Spangler, from 1986 to 1997, said the kind of person needed for this position should have already narrowed the playing field considerably.
“Applying is not really the way to go,” said Spangler, who said he was called upon out of the blue during the presidential search for a successor to fromer system President Bill Friday.
“These people ought to know by now who’s qualified. They should have it down to nine or 10 people,” Spangler said.
While a national search is being conducted by higher education search consultant R. William Funk & Associates, Friday said it’s not the worst idea to look internally.
“Surely in an institution like this with 10,000 faculty members and administrators, if we don’t have somebody who is learning and developing and qualified to be considered for the presidency of the institution, then we aren’t doing our job,” Friday said.
While business acumen and managerial experience are at the top of the requirements listed by the Presidential Leadership Statement, Friday said the key is understanding the University.
“They must understand above all else the role and purpose and mission of the University in the life of the state,” Friday said. “And that requires a rather unique understanding and that is the test with me.”
N.C. state superintendent of Public Instruction
- oversees more than 1.4 million students in 2,400 schools
- received doctorate in educational leadership and policy from N.C. state University in 1996.
- inclusive leadership award from the N.C. association of educators
Director of FastTrac program — a comprehensive entrepreneurship-educational program funded by the Kauffman foundation
- former Ceo of the Council for entrepreneurial development in research triangle Park, where she oversaw its direction, operations and overall management.
Former dean of UNC’s Kenan-flagler Business school, (2003-08)
- N.C. native graduated from UNC- CH as a Morehead scholar in 1974
- Former Ceo of suncorp Metway ltd., one of australia’s 25 largest companies
- Expertise in organizational change
Raymond C. Pierce
Dean of N.C. Central University’s school of law
- Has overseen largest enrollment in school’s history and the development of first two institutes at the school
- Served as President Bill Clinton’s deputy assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.s. department of education (1993 – 2000)
N.C. attorney General
- N.C. native, worked on father’s tobacco fields as a teenager.
- UNC Morehead scholar class of 1979
- N.C. state senator (1991 – 2000)
- Elected attorney general three times.
- Inducted by Gov. Jim Hunt into the order of the long leaf Pine, highest award bestowed by a state governor
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