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View from the Hill

The Politics of the Board: Part 2

CORRECTION — An earlier version of this story stated that Fred Eshelman earned a PhD in pharmacy from UNC in 1972. Eshelman actually earned a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy. He does not hold a PhD. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

This is the second installment of a series chronicling the political activities of members of the UNC-system Board of Governors.

W. Louis Bissette, Jr.
Positions on the Board: Bissette works on the Audit Committee and is Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.
Connection to the System: Bissette earned his law degree at UNC-CH in 1968 and was a member of the Western Carolina Board of Trustees.
Term: 2011-2015
Political Activity: Hans is board chairman of McGuire, Woods and Bissette — a law firm in Asheville. Bissette served as mayor of Asheville from 1985 to 1989 and served as chair of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Bissette also worked as a political adviser for the Grove Park Inn. Bissette’s contributions have largely leaned toward Republicans, donating $3,500 to Republicans officials, including Gov. Pat McCrory and Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest and N.C. General Assembly members Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Buncombe, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Guilford, and Sen. Tamara Barringer, R-Wake. But in 2008, along with donating to McCrory’s first gubernatorial campaign, he donated to Democratic candidates, including N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, N.C. Superintendent June Atkinson and David Young, a candidate for N.C. Treasurer.

Roger Aiken
Positions on the Board: Aiken serves on the Audit Committee and Budget and Finance Committee.
Connection to the System: Aiken earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Appalchian State University.
Term: 2013-2017
Political Activity: Aiken works as a financial adviser at Wells Fargo in Asheville. In 2008, he donated $1,000 to former N.C. Democratic Party Chair David Young’s campaign for Treasurer. In 2000, Aiken donated $800 to members of both parties, including $250 to Republican former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot’s gubernatorial campaign, $250 to former N.C. Rep. Wilma Sherrill, R-Buncombe, and $300 to former N.C. Senator Charles Carter, D-Buncombe.

Fred Eshelman
Positions on the Board: Eshelman serves as chair of the Audit Committee.
Connection to the System: Eshelman earned his B.S. in pharmacy from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1972, which later renamed its pharmacy school after him. He then received his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati. He also served as an adjunct assistant professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and was chairman of the Board of Visitors at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and was appointed to serve out the duration of an unexpired term on the Board of Trustees at UNC-Wilmington.
Term: 2011-2015
Political Activity: Eshelman is the founder and CEO of PPD Inc, a global research institution located in Wilmington. Eshelman has donated to both Democrats and Republicans. In 1996, he donated $2,500 to Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt, but in that same election donated $250 to N.C. Rep. Danny McComas, R-New Hanover. He also donated $4,000 to former Gov. Bev Perdue and $1,000 to former Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Beaufort. But in 2008, he donated $9,000 to Republican candidates. In 2010, Eshelman made $66,600 in campaign contributions, donating $50,000 to the N.C. Republican Party, $12,600 to Republican candidates and $4,000 to Basnight.

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