Dear Carolina Community,
I have notified UNC President Peter Hans of my intention to step down from my role as chancellor on Jan. 12, 2024, to assume the presidency of Michigan State University on March 4, 2024. Over the next few months, I will work with our senior leaders and the UNC System Office to ensure a smooth and effective transition period for our great University.
Since acknowledging three weeks ago that I was weighing other professional opportunities, I have spent time talking with friends, colleagues and members of our beloved Carolina family. This has allowed me to think seriously about the future of our great University as well as my own future.
I have loved leading Carolina for nearly five years. We have accomplished so much together, and I am proud of where Carolina is today. We have faced challenging times, but also incredible moments of opportunity. Thank you for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me to ensure our status as the leading global public research university we have aspired to be. It has not always been easy, but as I have often said — easy is boring. We certainly have not been bored.
• We launched Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good, which has served as an effective roadmap to help us fulfill our mission and live out our values.
• We completed the Campaign for Carolina a year ago, topping $5.1 billion in fundraising commitments, including reaching our $1 billion goal in scholarship funding.
• We balanced our budget for the past three years and now have a process in place to make strategic financial decisions for our future.
• We launched our new and innovative IDEAs in Action Curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences, preparing our students for careers that don’t yet exist and offering more critical experience with internships, research opportunities and study abroad.
• This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked us the #4 public university, and we are tied for 22nd overall among public and private institutions — up seven positions from a year ago. Our peers recognize the incredible work we are doing here in Chapel Hill.
• Our new School of Data Science and Society has hired several accomplished faculty, and students have begun working toward their Master of Applied Data Science.
• Today, we are a research and innovation powerhouse, consistently topping $1 billion in research expenditures each year as we continue to solve the grand challenges of our time.
• Through our Building our Community Together initiative, we removed names of buildings and renamed the Henry Owl Building and the Hortense McClinton Residence Hall. We dedicated the James Lewis Cates Jr. Memorial in the Pit, honoring a man who died as a victim of racial violence in 1970.
• We have successfully bolstered efforts to support our community’s mental health, by increasing capacity at CAPS and integrating Mental Health First Aid and Telehealth programs for students, faculty and staff.
• This fall, we opened the Innovation Junction right on Franklin Street, building on our joint innovation strategy with the Town of Chapel Hill.
• We have maintained our status as a prominent athletics program — where we proudly place emphasis on excellence on the playing field and in the classroom.
I have been privileged to serve as your chancellor since 2019 with the steady and strong commitment from our world class faculty, visionary leadership team, dedicated staff, talented student leaders and thousands of passionate alumni and donors who have supported Carolina and our shared values. You are Carolina’s legacy and its future, and I know you will continue to be passionately public and committed to our vision. You will prepare our students to tackle the grand challenges facing our world. For 230 years, our University has been a shining light and an example of the promise of public education in this country. I am confident that together, our students, faculty, staff, alumni and the amazing supporters of our University, will continue to accomplish great things in the years to come.
Carolina has been my home for 28 years, and my family and I will always be a part of this community. From runs with my dog Charlie through campus to Sunset Serenade on the quad, from nail-biters in the Dean Dome to moving performances at PlayMakers and Memorial Hall, I have been inspired and challenged by you, our students, faculty and staff. This community has made me the person I am today, and words cannot express the gratitude I feel. I will never forget the outpouring of love and support you have shown to me, from when I first started as an assistant professor in exercise and sport science until now.
It has been an honor to serve the University in this role as chancellor. Thank you for that privilege. In the words of one of our prolific professors of the humanities (and a friend to many, who is dearly missed) — Ruel Tyson… “To be continued.”