Folt deeply humbled to be newest UNC chancellor - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Folt deeply humbled to be newest UNC chancellor

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Carol Folt was named interim chancellor at Dartmouth last year after former Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim was named president of the World Bank. Photo courtesy Dartmouth Carol Folt was named interim chancellor at Dartmouth last year after former Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim was named president of the World Bank. Photo courtesy Dartmouth
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  • Comparing Dartmouth and UNC

    Comparing Dartmouth and UNC

    Comparing Dartmouth and UNC

    Friday, April 12 2013 3:54 PM EDT2013-04-12 19:54:34 GMT
    Carol Folt it making the transition from Dartmouth College to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Here is a comparison of the two schools: Total enrollment (fall 2012): UNC: 29,278 Dartmouth:
    Comparing Dartmouth and UNC.

The University of North Carolina reached out to the Ivy League on Friday for its next chancellor, tapping Carol Folt of Dartmouth College to replace Holden Thorp at a university with a storied past and tarnished present.

Folt becomes the first female chancellor in the history of the school.

She will make a salary of $520,000 annually. While that's an enormous salary for a state employee, it also reflects that UNC did not pay a salary north of $600,000, which many chancellors at top schools earn.

Richard Brodhead made $776,000 at Duke University for the tax year ending in June 2011, according to a federal report. Teresa Sullivan at the University of Virginia made $680,000 in 2012, according to The Washington Post.

The Board of Governors recently hiked the salary of highly regarded N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson to $495,000, for example. Holden Thorp makes $432,600 at UNC.

But Carolina clearly felt it landed the candidate it wanted, and was willing to go above half a million in salary to land her.

Tom Ross, the president of the UNC system, referenced the problems in Chapel Hill when he spoke to the board about what he wanted in the school's next leader.

Ross said he wanted a leader with "enormous people skills" in addition to an inclusive leadership style and someone with a proven ability to raise money.

"I wanted someone who always makes academics the priority but who appreciates that athletics is also a vital part of campus life, that helps build a sense of community and to build pride and loyalty to the institution," Ross said.

Ross had kind words for Thorp, a UNC graduate whose tenure in South Building was undermined by a scandal that began with the football program. Thorp announced in September he would step down as chancellor. He has since decided to become the provost at Washington University in St. Louis.

"Holden has faced more than his share of challenges in his current role, but one thing we know for certain is his love and devotion to Carolina are beyond question," Ross said. "He has made a real and lasting difference. Under his leadership as chancellor, great things have happened."

Those in the room responded with a long and loud round of applause for Thorp.

But the day belonged to Folt, who took the podium in a light blue jacket and spoke warmly of the opportunity. She said she had visited UNC the day of the home game with Duke University and quickly realized the magnitude of athletics at the school.

"The noise and the excitement is wild," she said. "But we now get the importance of Carolina Blue."

She called being named chancellor "deeply humbling." She said her grandparents had immigrated at Ellis Island and said, "I don't think they would have been imagining their granddaughter in this incredible moment on this day. But they would have believed it was possible -- that's why they came to America."

Folt was named interim chancellor at Dartmouth last year after former Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim was named president of the World Bank. Folt had been provost, the school's chief academic officer, before becoming interim chancellor.

"I'm excited to see the changes that are about to come about," said UNC sophomore Chris Vercauteren.

And Rachel Wescott, another Carolina sophomore, said the hiring of Folt "is coming at a good time on our campus."

"We're having a lot of movements toward women and empowerment," Wescott said. "And, kind of advocating for women and what they're facing right now with issues such as sexual assault and just giving them a voice. She's kind of coming into her position at the perfect time."

"Having a new chancellor is kind of just like saying that we have a clean slate in all of these areas in a way. Holden Thorp, I feel like, did a great job, but it was a lot to deal with. And here she is coming in with a new perspective and a new vision for the university, hopefully."

History of UNC chancellors

In hiring Folt, Carolina is reaching to the Ivy League to help restore a reputation damaged by a scandal that began in the football program. Multiple investigations and negative publicity followed as it was revealed that UNC students received high grades for doing little or no work in some classes.

That scandal resulted in the firing of football coach Butch Davis, the early retirement of athletics director Dick Baddour and the decision of Thorp not to remain as chancellor.

The scandal also exposed a significant lack of oversight at Carolina, a school that has prided itself on a strong sense of integrity.

In September, UNC set up a search committee to look for Thorp's replacement. That committee made recommendations to the UNC Board of Trustees, which then presented three names to UNC system president Tom Ross.

Ross then vetted the three candidates and forwarded a name to the Board of Governors to be elected.

The new chancellor also will face significant financial challenges. UNC's historically strong ties to the North Carolina General Assembly face real challenges, with the current legislature less inclined to fund the university system at the same level and Gov. Pat McCrory expressing concerns that the state's top universities are not fully connected to the state's economic needs.

McCrory's proposed budget is a harsh one for the UNC system, and it provoked immediate concern from Ross.

Folt has a BA in aquatic biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a PhD from the University of California, Davis. She joined the Dartmouth faculty in 1983.

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