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2019 Presidential Search Banner

The Search for a Leader

The Presidential Search Committee is dedicated to seeking and finding ideal candidates to serve as the President of the University of North Carolina System. The UNC System impacts the lives of practically all North Carolinians, and the ideal leader will represent the needs of all North Carolinians. To that end, this website will serve as a way to update the public, report on progress, solicit feedback, and recruit candidates with a position profile.


A Message from the Presidential Search Committee Chairs

The Presidential Search Committee has initiated a process to identify and evaluate candidates to serve as the next president of the UNC System.  We are searching for a true leader. The UNC President will lead the 17-campus system and numerous other critical programs and facilities--critical programs and facilities that not only impact our great state but even more broadly our nation and world. For this reason, the UNC System deserves nothing less than the finest leader. With your help, we will find that leader.

Defining the essential qualities of the ideal candidate for our leader is our first priority. We are seeking your input in defining those qualities.

After the qualities are defined, a position profile will be created and used to recruit and evaluate top candidates. 

The search for our leader will be a rigorous national search for an individual who can embrace, support, and build upon the ideals that have formed the UNC System into the respected institution it is today: to offer affordable, high-quality education; to support preeminent research benefitting the state, nation, and world; and to engage in regional outreach that improves the lives of all North Carolinians.

Throughout this process, you will have opportunities to assist us in our search. Please continue to check this site for those opportunities. Thank you in advance for your help.


Wendy Murphy
Randy Ramsey


What Does the Search Process Look Like?

The search committee is seeking input from faculty, staff, students, alumni, employers, and state citizens on the qualities desired in the next president of the University of North Carolina System.

Presidential Search 2019: What does the process look like?


What Parts of the Search Process Can You Participate In?

Presidential Search 2019: What can you participate in?

We need your help educating the public and stakeholders on the roles of the President, defining those qualities necessary to perform those roles in order to provide a profile that can be used to help us recruit the most qualified candidates to be our Leader. And, we need your help at the end of this process to welcome, encourage and support our new Leader.


Why Are There Parts of the Process You Cannot Participate In?

Presidential Search 2019: What can you not participate in?

The work of the UNC System and its President impacts not only those working or involved in the System but our entire state, nation and even more broadly, the world. We need the very best leader. While it is critically important that this process is transparent and interested parties and stakeholders are informed, public disclosure of candidate information would likely limit the number of best-qualified individuals that would seek the position or even be willing to engage in the process. Many qualified individuals may currently hold positions that if their participation in the process became public it could jeopardize those positions. For these reasons, candidate information will not be publicly available.

Despite not being involved in these parts of the process, the stakeholders helped to define the position profile, and that will ensure that the candidates considered by the Search Committee possess the essential qualities deemed important by all stakeholders. Additionally, stakeholders and interested parties can be the best recruiters of qualified individuals that fit that position profile


Where Are We in the Process?

The Search Committee spent several months through summer and fall 2019 gathering feedback from the many stakeholder groups of the UNC System on what qualities are most needed in a leader.

The position profile has been released, and the Committee is actively recruiting candidates to apply for the position. 


We Need Your Help in the Process. So, Let's Get Started.


What does leading the UNC System mean?


It means the president of the University of North Carolina shall be the chief administrative and executive officer of the University. 

The chief administrative and executive officer of a 17-campus system as well as the UNC Center for Public Television, the UNC Health Care System, the cooperative extension and research services, area health education centers, and countless other programs and facilities. The UNC System serves nearly 250,000 students and delivers an annual economic impact of more than $27.9 billion.

It means the president shall have complete authority to manage the affairs and execute the policies of the University of North Carolina and its constituent institutions, subject to the direction and control of the Board of Governors and the provisions of the Code and Policies of the University.

The UNC System operates under a system of shared governance designed to preserve the unique identity and mission of each constituent institution, led by a chancellor and overseen by a board of trustees, while providing for statewide coordination under the authority of the President and the Board of Governors.

It means the president shall personally represent before the state, the region and the nation the ideals and the spirit of the University of North Carolina.

The President shall carry out the unanimously adopted Strategic Plan.

It means as the chief executive, the president shall be the official administrative spokesperson for and the interpreter of the University to the alumni and alumnae as a whole, the news media, the educational world, and the general public.

The President communicates the work and vision of the entire UNC System to the communities the entire System serves.

It means the president shall be responsible for the presentation and interpretation of all University policies, recommendations, and requests to the General Assembly, the governor, state officers and commissions, and the federal government.

The President is responsible for communicating the policies and needs of the University and working to ensure those needs are met.


Help us educate the public. Print or email this flyer.



 In order for you to know if you potentially are our leader, it is important for you to understand the mission and history of the UNC System, the accomplishments and challenges of the System, the established roles and expectations for the president, and those qualities that the Search Committee has determined are essential to being the ideal leader of the UNC System.  Find our Position Profile here.

The Presidential Search Committee is not limiting their search for the ideal leader in any way. The Committee encourages all qualified individuals to apply.

Potential applicants who serve in certain public service positions and are considered public servants under the State Government Ethics Act, (e.g., State elected officials, heads of State agencies, members of the General Assembly, members of the Board of Governors, etc.) are advised that becoming a candidate for the position of President while continuing to serve in their official positions could create conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest under the State Government Ethics Act. For this reason, applicants who continue to serve in such positions will be expected to include with their applications a written advisory opinion from the North Carolina Ethics Commission as to the steps they should take to avoid conflicts during the application process. 

If you believe you are our ideal leader, please send your CV and cover letter to or contact Kim Strach, Executive Director, Presidential Search Committee at 919-961-1801 or  All information submitted is confidential.


Help us recruit our ideal leader.

Tell us what you think are the greatest strengths, opportunities and challenges for the UNC System. Tell us here.

What does the next UNC System President need to know about your institution? Tell us here.


Do you know someone that fits the position profile of our Leader?

Tell us here.


Would you like someone to speak to your group about the process and how you can be involved?

Provide your information here.



Meet the Search Committee

The UNC Board of Governors has named co-chairs and members to serve on both the Presidential Search Committee and the Presidential Assessment and Advisory Committee.


Presidential Search Committee

Wendy Murphy, Co-Chair
Randy Ramsey, Co-Chair
Darrell Allison
Kellie Hunt Blue
David Powers
Phil Byers
Carolyn Coward

Presidential Assessment and Advisory Committee

Anna Nelson, Co-Chair
Temple Sloan, Co-Chair
Pearl Burris-Floyd
Leo Daughtry
Tom Fetzer
Alex Mitchell
Mike Williford

Kimberly Strach serves as the director of the Presidential Search Committee and is a non-voting participant.



Meeting Schedule


To Be Announced


Thursday, September 12, 2019, 9:00am, at UNC System Office Center for School Leadership Development, Board Room, Chapel Hill

Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at UNC System Office Center for School Leadership Development, Board Room, Chapel Hill

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 128 of the Center for School Leadership Development, Chapel Hill


Board of Governors Resolution

On June 21, 2019, the UNC Board of Governors adopted a formal resolution for the Establishment of the Presidential Search Process.



Press Releases

UNC System Presidential Search Committee Co-Chairs Appoint Kim Strach as Director

UNC System Presidential Search Committee Outlines Position Profile




Send a message to the Search Committee at



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