In a year full of institutional leadership change at both the local and state level of the UNC system, its longest-serving chancellor, Philip L. Dubois of UNC Charlotte, joined the list of those exiting, announcing his plans to retire in June 2020. His announcement comes after Joe Price, Chair of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees for eight years, left the University due to term limits.
Dubois explained the chancellor position at UNC Charlotte is a dream job that will attract candidates from across the nation, and he is ready to help the next chancellor in any way possible. Dubois also spoke on the success he had as the UNC System’s longest-serving chancellor, investing $1.2 billion into the campus as its student body population grew at the highest rate in the entire UNC System. Dubois credited the success of UNC Charlotte not only to himself but to his wife and the team he has helped build at UNC Charlotte, from individual professors to his executive cabinet.
In a press conference at the Harris Alumni Center, Chancellor Dubois and his wife Lisa addressed the media explaining they had bought a house in Georgia to retire in. Dubois made the decision to retire 18-20 months ago, and clarified that his decision was not based on the recent school-shooting on UNC Charlotte’s main campus.
Dubois emphasized some of the challenges the next chancellor will face, including expanding online education and expanding the university.
Dubois gave extended notice of his retirement to allow the UNC Board of Governors to take their time conducting a nationwide search for the next leader of the university. The Board has already had to fill multiple vacancies system-wide in the past two years, including the president of the UNC System. According to data provided by the UNC System, UNC Charlotte will join East Carolina, Fayetteville State, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC School of the Arts and Western Carolina, who all have first-year or interim chancellors. UNC Asheville and Elizabeth City State have chancellors entering only their second year.
Among the most challenging moments he faced as chancellor, said Dubois, was the school shooting, which took the lives of both Riley Howell and Ellis Reed Parlier and injured four others on April 30, 2019. He also mentioned the recession, which forced budget cuts and the termination of some university employees.