UNC replacing firm working on search for fundraising chief

By Todd Cohen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Plans for a long-delayed comprehensive campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to raise $3 billion have taken yet another turn with the replacement of the search firm hired earlier this year to help find a new vice chancellor for development.

The latest move, which dismissed search firm Witt/Kieffer, was made with the participation of Carol Folt, interim president of Dartmouth, who was selected in April to become UNC’s new chancellor, effective July 1.

“With her input, the [vice chancellor for development search] committee is now moving forward with the search,” Karen Moon, director of UNC News Services, said in an email message to Philanthropy North Carolina.

“We are using a different firm,” she said. “The committee is in the early stages of identifying candidates and is pleased with its progress.”

Witt/Kieffer was hired “to help move the search process to a point where the Chancellor-Elect, once named, could become readily engaged,” Moon said.

She said a new firm had not yet been selected and that Witt/Kieffer had been dismissed because the “search committee, with input from Chancellor-Elect Folt, decided to go in a different direction with the search process.”

Moon said a campaign planning cabinet of volunteers is “actively working” and will “focus on helping the University create a vision for the campaign: its big overarching themes and how to communicate them.”

Schools and units throughout the UNC campus “have begun to identify priorities,” she said. “However, there is no official timeline for the campaign, as the Chancellor-Elect and the new Vice Chancellor for Development will need to be involved in those decisions,” Moon said.

Scott Ragland, director of development communications at UNC, told Philanthropy North Carolina that plans for a capital campaign had been in limbo pending the selection of a new chancellor and a new vice chancellor of development.

“Until those people are in place, we don’t know” details of campaign plans, including a possible schedule for launching the campaign’s quiet and public phases, Ragland said. “We are not going to establish a timetable without their input.”

Thorp announced last September he would step down as chancellor, effective July 1, an announcement he made a week after Matt Kupec quit as the long-time vice chancellor for university advancement.

Both resignations came in the wake of disclosures that Kupec and another fundraiser at UNC with whom he was having a romantic relationship had taken at least 25 personal trips at the University’s expense.

Thorp, who later was selected as provost at Washington University in St. Louis, in January named an 11-member search committee to help identify candidates to be the school’s new vice chancellor for development.

In a message at the time to faculty and staff, Thorp said that, with the search for a new chancellor “well under way, it’s important to initiate 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 said he had made that decision after consulting with his predecessor, James Moeser.

Witt/Kieffer was hired at that time.

Four years ago, UNC was poised to begin a multi-billion-dollar campaign when the capital markets collapsed, prompting the school to put the campaign on hold.

One year ago, Thorp and Kupec reportedly asked the UNC board of trustees to okay the start of the campaign’s silent phase last July, but the board vetoed that request, saying the school was not ready and should devote another year to developing its strategy.

After Kupec’s resignation, Thorp named Julia Sprunt Grumbles, former corporate vice president at Turner Broadcasting, as interim vice chancellor for university advancement.

And Elizabeth Dunn retired in January as senior associate vice chancellor for university advancement.

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.