Folt 'the fixer' gets warm UNC welcome

Posted April 12, 2013
Updated April 13, 2013

— The first woman named to lead the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was selected not for her gender but for her ability to make tough decisions, UNC System President Tom Ross said.

Dr. Carol Folt embraced Tar Heel blue in her choice of clothing and her comments immediately after her selection by the university Board of Governors Friday. 

"I'm going to thank, in advance, the students and the faculty and the staff and indeed the wonderful State of North Carolina for embracing me," she said.

The UNC Board of Governors voted unanimously for Tom Ross' selection and greeted Folt with a standing ovation.

"She brings energy. She brings intellect. She brings the background experience. She can make tough decisions," Ross said.

Folt, 61, was appointed interim president of Ivy League Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N.H., in July 2012 after 30 years on the faculty.

"She has a reputation at Dartmouth for being the fixer," said Wade Hargrove, chairman of the UNC Board of Trustees. "I think we all have a high level of confidence that that experience, dealing with very challenging issues there, will serve her well here."

Folt takes over a university with a storied history that has seen recent investigations – into the football program, the Department of African and Afro-American Studies and administration handling of sexual assault reports. Leaders, students laud UNC chancellor pick Leaders, students laud UNC chancellor pick

Kevin Guskiewicz, chairman of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science and a member of the search committee, said he believes Folt brings a wealth of academic and leadership experience to meet the challenges.

"She walked the campus and talked to faculty and students. She realizes that this is a place where we can have big-time athletics and excellence in academics," Guskiewicz said.

UNC students expressed enthusiasm for the campus's first female leader. Women account for 58 percent of the student body.

"It's something that's going to change the comfort that they feel on campus with a woman leader," senior Janae Hinson said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Objective Scientist Apr 18, 2013

    To add to my last comment I respond to the statement by UNC President Tom Ross "The first woman named to lead the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was selected not for her gender but for her ability to make tough decisions."

    The ability to make "tough decisions" is not difficult. Lots of people can and do make "tough decisions". Making the "right" decision - tough or otherwise - is the most challenging part of decision-making!

  • Objective Scientist Apr 17, 2013

    Having observed the "coming and going" of Chancellors at UNC for some time... Folt's arrival into that position is different in one obvious way - she is the first female Chancellor. Other than that glaring difference there is one thing that has been the same for all... ALL! The rhetoric heard from everyone involved in the vetting/hiring process, as well as many who were not, is OVER THE TOP and unbelievably EXCESSIVE! Every new Chancellor is always described as someone who is the "GREATEST EVER" and all the incredibly glowing statements would lead many to think that this person can literally "walk on water". I would certainly hope that the vetting process has found a truly good and very competent person to fill the position of CEO of the University, and until demonstrated otherwise - will assume that is the case with Folt. But please... ease up on the over the top rhetoric! I'd make those comments regardless of who had been selected and regardless of the person's sex.

  • superman Apr 16, 2013

    the fixer--doesnt sound like a good characterization for her. Especially when you consider the past problems at UNC. There is certainly more to this than they had told. Thirty years at the same school and the position has been vacant for about one year. It is obvious to me that they didnt think she was right for the President's job. I think Mr. Ross will regret his decision.

  • ornamentals Apr 15, 2013

    She is going to be perfect for UNC. A Dartmouth alum sent me very convincing documentation on how she forced a much-loved, tenured Professor to retire early. This decent scholar used a big piece of his retirement money for a lawyer to defend himself. Even students protested to save him. Later as Provost she changed all his failing student's grades to pass. UNC needs this kind of slick, brilliant talent. As one Dartmouth friend told me she has the "PR is reality" game down to a Fault. Thorp was too clumsy and naive to keep the degree mill below the radar. The sky is now bluer in Chapel Hill for "The Fixer" has arrive; their liberal version of the "Iron Lady in Blue". Rest assured Carolina fans, your stolen championships and bowles...I mean bowls...will continue. Please research and consider why the Dartmouth alums and faculty made sure her Interim position there did not become permanent. It was a done deal at one point until some good people with ethics stood up.

  • carrboroyouth Apr 15, 2013

    I hope she can help us. We need it.

  • superman Apr 15, 2013

    I dont understand. She has been there for 30 years and they havent selected her to be their president. Position has been vacant for over a year. They are still seaching. Mr. Ross made another mistake in his selection. He was the one that picked Thorp. He has a record of picking losers.