Dear Carolina Community,
With heavy hearts, we write to share that Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston B. Crisp has decided to retire later this month. After more than 26 years of service to Carolina and her students, he will more than just be missed. His spirit, his humor, his kindness and his deep, personal belief in our mission has touched our entire community.
As a highly respected and much loved leader at Carolina, Winston has always placed students first and brought their voices and those of our staff into his leadership. He has continuously worked to enhance student success, inclusion and belonging through partnerships and creative programming. His infectious enthusiasm for Carolina and her students is always the first thing you see when you are with Winston. We’ve both walked around campus with him and felt the love our students, in fact everyone, has for him. They greet him, shake his hand and thank him for his support – no one ever forgets the first time they received that warm, heartfelt Vice Crispy smile or hug.
A 1989 graduate of Johnson C. Smith University, Winston arrived at Carolina that same year to attend the School of Law. Upon graduation, he became the law school’s first assistant dean for student affairs and the first associate dean for student services. In those positions, he played a key role in strengthening coordination among the academic program, financial management, outreach and student support areas. In recognition of his extraordinary leadership, the Student Bar Association established the Winston B. Crisp Award in 2005 to recognize students who personify those same leadership qualities.
Winston joined Student Affairs in 2005 as assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and also served as dean of students. He was named vice chancellor in 2010. He is a master at hosting students and speaking honestly and encouragingly to their parents as they arrive on campus for the first time. Whether tweeting photos of Student Affairs events, cheering teams at games, or serving as a calming and reassuring voice in times of crisis, he has improved the student experience on campus in countless ways. Last year alone, Student Affairs conducted more than 1,200 workshops and events, employed nearly 1,500 students and supported approximately 780 student organizations. He concludes his tenure at Carolina having served thousands of students and families.
Earlier this year, he led the effort to convene a Mental Health Task Force to assess the scope of mental health care needs for our students and provide recommendations to the administration and Board of Trustees about policies and programs related to mental health care. He also co-chairs the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History, working with colleagues to tell the full, complete and accurate history of our University. We know that many across the Carolina Community join us in thanking Winston for his leadership by example, well-reasoned counsel and unwavering commitment to serve our students with heartfelt compassion.
We are very fortunate because he is a team builder too, and has built a talented team in Student Affairs. We know that they will carry on this important work with the same commitment and spirit. We are especially grateful to Christi Hurt, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, who like Winston, is always there for our students and University, and has agreed to serve as interim vice chancellor until a successor is appointed. We will announce plans to launch a national search in the coming months to fill this critical role.
While neither of us know what it will be like at Carolina without Winston by our sides, we are very happy for him and know this was a difficult decision for him to make. Winston will always be a part of Carolina, a true priceless gem. Please join us in thanking Winston for his steadfast leadership and commitment to Carolina — and especially for his dedication to our students — and join us in wishing him all the best in his next big adventure.
Carol L. Folt and Robert A. Blouin