New day: New chancellor

First environmental scientist for UNC chancellor

After a period of building suspense, our new chancellor was announced Friday. SHE is Carol Folt, PhD, interim president of Dartmouth College. Dr. Folt has been an active, distinguished environmental scientist whose research foci complement those of several faculty members at the Gillings School.

Carol Folt and Wade Hardgrove
Carol Folt and Wade Hargrove

We are delighted about that and look forward to inviting her to the School to talk science and other topics. At Dartmouth, Chancellor-elect Folt has been a faculty member, dean, provost and interim president—roles that provide important training ground for the complex position she inherits. Dr. Folt will be the third chancellor for whom I have worked. I am enormously fond of former chancellor James Moeser, PhD and current chancellor Holden Thorp, PhD. Each is different, and each has been right for their time.

Listen and watch Dr. Folt right after she was named chancellor-elect.

The chancellor-elect is brilliant, enthusiastic, optimistic but not naïve, perceptive and committed. She’s an excellent communicator and motivator. She mentioned many of the topics we care deeply about, including globalization and diversity. She also understands how important it is for faculty, staff and students to work together across institutional domains. Dr. Folt was a great choice! Thank you Wade Hargrove, JD, member of UNC’s board of trustees and chair of the search committee, and search committee members. Thank you UNC system president Tom Ross, JD, and the university’s board of governors.


Winston Crisp, JD, vice-chancellor for students and I sat near Dr. Folt at a dinner last night that included university deans and vice-chancellors. We had a wonderful, engaged conversation with her on several topics. She is an excellent listener and engages fully in the give-and-take of discussion. I was impressed by her knowledge of the people at Dartmouth who work in the public health domain, and she recognizes that a number of problems UNC and many other campuses face are, at root, public health problems. (I’ll admit a certain tendency to see the world through public-health-tinted glasses.)

I look forward to working with the new chancellor and introducing her to our fabulous school of public health. She needs all our help to advance UNC-Chapel Hill as one of the nation’s best. Happy Monday! Barbara

Coming soon: Jo Anne Earp, ScD—Force Multiplier

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