UNC-CH launches search for chief fundraiser

By Todd Cohen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Holden Thorp, outgoing chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has named an 11-member search committee to help identify candidates to be the school’s new vice chancellor for development.

UNC-CH already is searching for a new chancellor to succeed Thorp, who announced in September he would step down at the end of the school year this June.

“With the search for the University’s next chancellor well under way, it’s important to initiative the process now to time the vice chancellor search so my successor will have an opportunity to provide input and be involved in the interview process and final selection,” Thorp says in a message to faculty and staff.

He says UNC also is “using this strategy with the search for the executive vice chancellor and provost.”

Thorp says in the message that he consulted with his predecessor, James Moeser, “who had to deal with two vacant administrative positions when he became chancellor in 2000.”

Moeser “confirmed my thinking that initiating these key searches now would help accelerate the transition process within the administration and put my successor in the best position after taking office.”

Chairing the search committee will be Lowry Caudill, a UNC-CH alumnus, member of its board of trustees, co-founder of Magellan Laboratories, and an adjunct faculty member.

Thorp announced his resignation a week after Matt Kupec, the school’s long-time vice chancellor for university advancement, quit in the face of disclosures he had taken at least 25 personal trips at the university’s expense with Tami Hansbrough, a  fundraiser at the school and the mother of its former star basketball player Tyler Hansbrough.

She and Kupec, who both are divorced, had been in a relationship.

Kupec had pushed for UNC to hire Hansbrough, who quit several days after Kupec, and Thorp knew about her hiring and about Kupec’s role in it, according to published reports.

Thorp subsequently named Julia Sprunt Grumbles, former corporate vice president at Turner Broadcasting, as interim vice chancellor for advancement.

And Elizabeth Dunn is retiring this month as senior associate vice chancellor for university advancement.

Planning for a comprehensive campaign at UNC to raise $3 billion, an effort that had been expected to begin its quiet phase next summer, remains uncertain.

Four years ago, UNC was set to launch a multi-billion-dollar campaign when the economy crashed, so the school put the campaign on hold.

Last spring,  Thorp and Kupec reportedly asked the board of trustees to approve launching the campaign’s quiet phase this past July, but the board rejected the proposal, concluding the school was not ready and needed to spend another year working on its strategy.

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