UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and Provost Bob Blouin announced Monday that Mark Merritt, general counsel and vice chancellor for the University, will leave his position with UNC at the end of the year.
He will return to Robinson Bradshaw, a Charlotte firm where he worked as a litigator for 33 years prior to joining the University in 2016. According to Folt and Blouin's announcement, Merritt indicated he would step down earlier in the semester.
“I am grateful to Chancellor Folt and the Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve Carolina over the past two years," Merritt said in a statement. "However, I have also missed what I used to do: being an advocate for clients in the courtroom."
Merritt came to UNC in the midst of several legal battles related to admissions practices and the NCAA academic-athletic scandal, and has been a prominent voice in discussions around Silent Sam. At the last Faculty Executive Council meeting of the semester, he reminded those present that the planned grade strike would expose UNC and individual instructors to legal risks.
"Since joining the University in 2016, Mark has led us through some of the most pressing legal challenges in Carolina’s history, including resolutions with the NCAA and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights about our Title IX program," Folt and Blouin's statement said.
Merritt, a Morehead-Cain scholar, graduated from UNC in 1979 and attended law school at the University of Virginia. He would later become the president of the North Carolina State Bar and earn several honors in his field, including fellowships with the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers and the American Bar Foundation.
"While I look forward to returning to a place that I know and love, I’ve enjoyed my time here tremendously, made many good friends, and contributed my best to furthering the mission of Carolina," Merritt said in a statement. "Carolina’s foundation is strong, and I am confident that the best years for Carolina are ahead of it. I look forward to advancing its interests as I return to my role as a private citizen.”