In an emergency Board of Governors session on Thursday morning, Dr. William L. Roper from the UNC School of Medicine was selected as the interim president of the UNC-system.
The announcement comes exactly one week after UNC-System President Margaret Spellings' plan to leave her position was made public. Spellings is under contract until March 1, but Roper will assume the role on Jan. 1. Spellings will spend a few weeks assisting in Roper’s transition after she relinquishes the role on Jan. 15.
“I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have taking over the helm than Bill Roper,” said Spellings in a press release. “Bill is a friend and colleague with a proven track record of success leading our state and nation’s most important public institutions, and I’m confident he’ll embrace and build on the successes on the system’s recent efforts to improve accountability, affordability, and graduation rates that we’ve seen across our 17 institutions.”
Roper is the CEO of the UNC Health Care System, dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs. He was the dean of the Gillings School of Public Health from 1997 to 2004 and has remained on faculty there as a professor of health policy and management. He is also a professor of pediatrics and of social medicine in the School of Medicine.
Outside of the UNC System, Roper is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and is a member of the board of directors at DaVita, Inc. and Express Scripts Holding Company. On Friday, Nov. 16, Roper will receive the state’s highest civilian honor from Gov. Roy Cooper: The North Carolina Award. This award follows last year’s naming of Roper to the “Modern Healthcare” 100 Most Influential People in Health Care.
“I look forward to working closely with the chancellors, faculty, staff, students and alumni to advance the mission and reputation of the UNC System in service to the people of North Carolina,” Roper said in a press release. “I am appreciative of the great work President Spellings has done for our university system and for her support of me. I look forward to working with her as I transition into this new role.”
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