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Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz officially accepts MSU presidency

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Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz smiles at the men's basketball game against Pittsburgh on Feb. 16, 2022, at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz will be the 22nd president of Michigan State University.

The MSU Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Guskiewicz as the next MSU president in an 8 a.m. meeting on Friday. According to a UNC campus-wide email, he will step down as UNC chancellor Jan. 12 and assume MSU presidency on March 4. 

"As MSU's next president, I pledge to build on the University's storied legacy of academic and research excellence through a culture of collaboration and servant leadership," Guskiewicz said in the MSU BOT meeting.

In the email sent to the UNC community, Guskiewicz said he loved leading UNC. Though the University faced challenges, he said it also experienced incredible opportunities. 

"It has not always been easy, but as I have often said — easy is boring. We certainly have not been bored," he said in the campus message.

Peter Hans, the UNC System president, applauded Guskiewicz for his work at the University in a statement Friday morning.

"Chancellor Guskiewicz has led UNC-Chapel Hill with grace and goodwill through some very difficult moments, and he's leaving the University in stronger shape than when he arrived," Hans said in the statement.

UNC BOT chair John Preyer said in an email statement that UNC deserves a thoughtful and thorough national search for its next chancellor, beginning immediately upon the appointment an interim chief executive. 

UNC Student Body President Chris Everett and Graduate and Professional Student Government President Lauren Hawkinson said in a statement that the University operates under a system of shared governance that should be respected. They added that the selection of a new chancellor should be decided upon after hearing input from all who participate in this shared governance structure, including faculty, staff, students and the Board of Trustees.

"Most importantly, the selection of our next chancellor should not be a matter of partisan politics," Everett and Hawkinson also said.

Guskiewicz was the "most qualified candidate" to lead MSU forward, MSU BOT chair Rema Vassar said.

Vassar noted Guskiewicz's advancement in research, high understanding of academic values and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as attractive qualities to MSU. 

"Dr. Guskiewicz doesn't know it yet, but he has always been a Spartan in spirit," she said.

MSU Trustee Brianna Scott, who partnered with Trustee Dennis Denno to lead MSU's presidential search, said Guskiewicz is an engaged and transparent leader who believes in "broad collaboration and shared governance and working closely with the board."

"Quite simply we are confident", Scott said, "That Dr. Guskiewicz will be a great partner to build accomplishment, work through our challenges, reach goals and set priorities."

Shawn Star, president of AFSCME Local 1585, AFL-CIO — a labor union representing 850 employees across MSU campus — and a member of the presidential search, said he believes Guskiewicz is "an outstanding hire."

Guskiewicz said he is aware that MSU has faced "more than its share" of challenges in recent years. The University has faced concerns over Title IX compliance, the role of the BOT in shared governance and handling of former-University member Larry Nassar's sexual abuse case

"Yet, I see a strong University with an inspiring historical foundation that can reach new levels of excellence through its powerful commitment to student success, knowledge discovery and land grant service," Guskiewicz said.

Denno said Guskiewicz will look "so much better in MSU green than Carolina Blue."

@abbypenderr

@dailytarheel | university@dailytarheel.com

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