W. Louis Bissette, Jr., of Asheville, NC, was appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011 and reappointed in 2015 to serve on the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors. His second term will end in 2019.
Bissette currently serves as the chair of the Board of Governors, overseeing the 28-voting member board and supporting the overall progress of its committees and working groups. He has held this position since 2015.
He credits his family - all native North Carolinians who have attended UNC System institutions - for his intimate knowledge of and passion for higher education. He proudly proclaims the UNC System's excellence, referring to it as the best in the country. He feels his role is to make the University even better than it is today. Guaranteeing access to a quality education and safeguarding its affordability are the two goals he believes will improve the lives of North Carolina???s young adults.
After finishing law school and business school, Bissette started his career in the banking industry, landing a job at Wachovia Bank and Trust Company before moving on to Western Carolina Bank and Trust Company. His career as a practicing attorney has spanned four decades and has allowed him to gain a wealth of experience in areas of economic development, land use, and zoning. As a practicing attorney with McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A., he represents both domestic and foreign corporations who are expanding in the western region of the state and provides legal counsel on mergers and acquisitions, organizational structure, and strategic planning.
He has a wide range of experience in community leadership and public service as well, having served two terms as the mayor of Asheville, president of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, board member at Mission St. Joseph's Health System, and as a lifetime member of the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the Asheville-Buncombe Economic Development Coalition, Asheville's Community Betterment Foundation, Carolina Alliance Bank (vice chairman), the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament - Asheville (co-chairman), and WCI, Inc. (chairman).
During the span of his career, he has served on more than 40 boards of directors and was the recipient of several awards, including the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Public Service Award (2011).
Bissette received his bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University, and his juris doctorate from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law. He also holds an MBA from the University of Virginia.
He and his wife Sara have two sons and five grandchildren.
His advice to today's college student:
"I've come to believe over the years that there are a lot of things that can help you become successful. But the one thing that is most important to have, above all, is perseverance. There are going to be many obstacles you will face and you will have all sorts of problems along the way. However, if you remember to push through it and persevere, you will succeed in whatever path in life you choose."
Personnel and Tenure Committee, Secretary; Strategic Initiatives Committee
Occupation:Chief Governmental Affairs Officer Partners Behavioral Health
Education: MHA Health Administration, Pfeiffer University; B.A. Biology, UNC-CH Cytology, UNC-CH School of Medicine
Family: One daughter
Major Educational/Elective Offices: Former commissioner/vice chair, Gaston County Board of Commissioners; Representative, North Carolina House of Representatives; Board of Directors, NC Association of County Commissioners; Member Board of Trustees, NC Insurance Pool; Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church; NC Member, Partnership for Children; Member, CaroMont Health Board of Directors.
Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs Committee, Secretary; Strategic Initiatives Committee
Occupation: Founding President, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC)
Education: B.S. in Political Science, North Carolina Central University; J.D. UNC-Chapel Hill
Family: Married to La Nica Allison with two daughters
Major Educational/Elective Offices: Board of Trustees, North Carolina Central University; North Carolina Education Cabinet, Committee Member; Research Triangle High School (STEM), Founding Board Member; member Hope Community Church.
Occupation: President, Challenge Foundation Properties
Education: B.S. Appalachian State University; MPA, Western Carolina University
Family: Married to Erina Byers with two children
Major Educational/Elective Offices: former member Western Carolina University (WCU) Board of Trustees; Twenty year law enforcement, retired NC Sheriff; ASU alumni, WCU Alumni, Catamount Club, member Kiwanis International.
Audit, Risk Management and Compliance Committee; Budget and Finance Committee, Vice Chair
Occupation: Certified Public Accountant
Education: B.A., Morehouse College
Family: Two children
Major Educational/Elective Offices: Raleigh City Bank Advisory Board, BB&T; National Association of State Boards of Accountancy; United Way of the Greater Triangle; Board of Trustee member Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC; Board member of IntraHealth International: NC Center for Nonprofits and Cary Academy. Former Chairman of Elizabeth City State University Board of Trustees.
Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs Committee
Education: B.S., The Citadel, M.B.A., Golden Gate University, J.D., UNC-Chapel Hill
Family: Married to Rachael Goolsby with three children
Major Educational/Elective Offices: USMC Officer, past NC State Senator 2010-2014 served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary 1 Committee; Chairman of the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Oversight for Justice and Public Safety.
Education: Agricultural-Chemical Program, Wayne County Community College
Family: Married to Judi Keever Grainger with two children
Major Educational/Elective Offices: member and Chairman of Government Affairs Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina; former member North Carolina State University College of Education and Psychology Advisory Board; former member NCSU Parks Scholarship Board; former member N.C. Grange-Tobacco Executive Board; member Southern Crop Protection Association Board; former Chairman Economic Development Coalition 2000.
Strategic Initiatives Committee; University Governance Committee, Chair
Occupation: Tax attorney
Education: B.S., Business Administration, UNC-Chapel Hill; J.D. & LL.M (Tax), Georgetown University Law Center
Family: Married to Beth M. Long with two children
Major Educational/Elective Offices: former chair, N.C. Bar Association, Tax Section; former director, Caramore Vocational Rehabilitation Center; former director, Shepherds Theological Seminary; director Raleigh Hall of Fame; director Alzheimer's North Carolina; adjunct professor, Campbell University.
Strategic Initiatives Committee; University Governance Committee, Secretary
Education: Salem College; B.S., Psychology, UNC-Chapel Hill
Major Educational/Elective Offices: former staff U.S. House of Representatives; member North Carolina Aquarium Society; member UNC Women's Leadership Council; founding member Friends of Cape Lookout National Seashore; former member UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Visitors.
Education: B.A. Economics, Wellesley College, Magna Cum Laude; MBA, Harvard Business School
Family: Married to Tom Nelson with two daughters
Major Educational/Elective Offices: has served as Chairman of Spangler Companies, Inc., a private investment firm, since 2005, and prior to that as a General Partner of Wakefield Group, a venture capital firm, since 1988. Member of several boards including C.D. Spangler Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and North Carolina Capital Management Trust; serves as Chair of Fidelity Charitable; formerly served on the boards of Novant Health, Presbyterian Hospital, Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Arts and Science Council, and the YMCA of Charlotte. In 2011, became co-chairman of Project L.I.F.T., a public-private partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools seeking to increase academic achievement in nine schools in the West Charlotte corridor; named The Charlotte Observer's 2012 Woman of the Year.
Personnel and Tenure Committee, Chair; Strategic Initiatives Committee
Occupation: Chief Executive Officer
Education: B.S., Business Administration, UNC-Chapel Hill; M.B.A., Wake Forest University
Family: Married to Nancy Parrish with three children
Major Educational/Elective Offices: Board of Directors CapStone Bank, North Carolina; Travel and Tourism Coalition, National Board of Boy Scouts of America; former member of North Carolina Travel and Tourism Board, NC Department of Commerce, and City of Raleigh Convention Center.
Budget and Finance Committee, Chair; Public Affairs Committee, Vice Chair; Strategic Initiatives Committee
Occupation: Business executive
Education: B.S., Political Science, University of Wyoming
Family: Married to Joy Sloan with five children
Major Educational/Elective Offices: former member Board of Trustees at Northwood University; Board of Directors Advance Auto Parts; Board of Directors Wells Fargo Regional Bank; Board of Directors Trail Creek Investments, Inc.; Board of Directors YMCA of the Triangle; Board of Directors First BancCorp NC; former Board of Directors Wake MEd Foundation; former Board of Trustee Ravenscroft School; former chairman American Heart Association Triangle Hart Walk; former Board of Directors National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Audit, Risk Management and Compliance Committee, Secretary; University Governance Committee
Occupation: Senior Advisor, Shanahan Law Group and Consultant, National Center for State Court
Education: B.S., Business Administration, University of New Haven, Connecticut; J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law
Family: Married to Allyson Duncan
Major Educational/Elective Offices: Member, NC Dispute Resolution Commission; Member, American Law Institute; Member, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference and Third Circuit Judicial Conference; Member, Federal Bard Association; Certified Mediator for U.S. District Court; former member E.D.N.C. Local Rules Committee; former chair, E.D.N.C. Local Criminal Rules Committee; former chair, E.D.N.C. Local Patent Rules Committee.
Education: B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill; J.D., NC Central University
Family: Married to Sharon Williford
Major Educational/Elective Offices: Assistant District Attorney, 12th Judicial District; Member, Bank of America Advisory Board; Member, Fayetteville Board of Adjustment; Member, NCCU School of Law Board of Visitors; Member, Cape Fear Valley Regional Hospital Board of Trustees.