Local News

James Oblinger Named New NCSU Chancellor

Posted October 8, 2004

— North Carolina State University

has a new leader, and officials did not have to go far to find him.

On Friday, the UNC Board of Governors unanimously voted to select James Oblinger as the new chancellor at N.C. State. Oblinger replaces Marye Ann Fox, who left N.C. State to become the chancellor at the University of California at San Diego.

Like Fox, Oblinger has a science background. He has a master's and doctorate in food technology.

Oblinger has been at North Carolina State University for the last 18 years. In 2003, he was named provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

"For one thing, he is a dedicated, hard worker. He has been with the university for a long time. He is a known quantity," said Wendell Murphy, of the N.C. State Board of Trustees. "I think, maybe the most important thing, is that he is what I would call a concensus builder. He brings people to the table and gets us all marching onto the same page."

Broad said the new chancellor needs to have a deep understanding of Div. I athletics, be adept at financial management and more.

"We are looking an individual who can work effectively communicate with faculty, an individual who can be an effective spokesman of N.C. State and a great fund-raiser," she said.

Broad said the next chancellor's biggest challenge will be to keep the university's forward momentum going. Centennial Campus, the school's public and private research campus, is expected to double in size over the next five years. In 2005, N.C. State will announce the public portion of its capital campaign. Officials hope to raise $1 billion.

Broad said the committee who was looking for the new chancellor made the right choice.

"Every search is a challenge because you want to find among all the people available in the nation, the one that will best fit the needs of N.C. State," she said.

Oblinger made the announcement to his staff on Thursday. Staff members describe Oblinger as well-liked and well-connected within the community.

In the past, chancellor searches were public, but that is changing, particularly in the UNC system. A committee looked for eight months before the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill selected James Moeser in 2000. The names of the finalists in that search were not released.

Earlier in the year, East Carolina University hired Steve Ballard, but not before some problems. A candidate in that chancellor search actually dropped out after the names of the three finalists were leaked.

Officials said the search for the new N.C. State chancellor was so secret that board members had to sign a confidentiality agreement.

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