Skip to main content

WCU Stories

WCU hosting two UNC System presidential search public forums

William Roper, interim president of the University of North Carolina System, speaks at a recent meeting of the UNC Board of Governors. Roper has announced that he will not be seeking the permanent position of UNC System president.

The search for the next president of the University of North Carolina System will include a pair of “listening sessions” on the campus of its westernmost institution that are designed to provide members of the public with opportunities to share ideas on the qualities they would like to see in the UNC System’s next top leader.

Western Carolina University will host two public forums Monday, Oct. 21, in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center in Cullowhee. The first session is set for 1:30 until 3 p.m., with the second to follow from 4:30 until 6 p.m.

The UNC System is searching for a successor to former President Margaret Spellings, who resigned from the position on March 1. William Roper, former UNC Health Care chief executive officer who has been serving as interim president, has announced that he will not be seeking the permanent position, but will continue as interim leader until June 30, 2020.

“The UNC System is a treasured public institution dedicated to serving the people of North Carolina through world-class teaching, research and community engagement,” said WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown. “As one of its 17 member institutions, Western Carolina University recognizes the vital importance of selecting the right leader for the UNC System, and we want to hear from as many of our WCU faculty, staff, students and alumni, and members of the Western North Carolina community as possible.”

Brown will open the listening sessions and introduce members of the search committee. Representatives of WCU’s Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and Student Government Association will co-host the open forum sessions. Light refreshments will be available.

The UNC Board of Governors, which is the policy-setting body for the statewide university system, launched the search for the next president over the summer, appointing a search committee and naming board members Wendy Murphy and Randy Ramsey to serve as co-chairs.

Two former members of the WCU Board of Trustees – Phil Byers and Carolyn Coward – are on the seven-person search committee. A third former WCU trustee, Tom Fetzer, serves on a seven-member presidential assessment and advisory committee, which will review the qualifications of no fewer than three candidates for the position brought forward by the search committee.

The search committee has appointed Kimberly Strach, former executive director of the North Carolina Board of Elections, to serve as director of the search. Strach will be joined by two members of the search committee to lead the listening sessions at WCU.

In addition to listening sessions scheduled across the state, the search committee is soliciting input on the UNC System's next president through an online survey. That survey can be found at this website.

For more information about the search process, visit

Office of Web Services