Local News

Molly Broad Makes History in North Carolina Education

Posted April 28, 1998

— Wednesday, the swearing in of Molly Broad marked the first time a woman has been elected to lead the UNC system.

In the first nine months on the job, Broad has already chosen NC State's next chancellor, Marye Anne Fox, who just happens to be first-ever female leader of the Pack.

Students, teachers and fellow administrators all claim that Molly Broad has opened doors. While she's an inspiration to some, the new president downplays her role as the first woman to head the UNC system.

"It is special only because it is my passion to be a part of a University," Broad said. "It is a cause that is so much bigger than any one individual's contributions."

When James Edward Shepard founded what was then the North Carolina college at Durham back in 1910, no women were even close to serving as system president. However, even in the last few years, they have come a long way."

Triangle women now hold many high positions in higher education.

Nan Keohane leads Duke University. Mary Ann Fox is now chancellor at N.C. State. In the crowd at Molly Broad's convocation at NC Central is another woman who knows about being a "first."

Dr. Acie Ward broke the gender barrier on the local bench back in 1982 as the first female district court judge in Wake County, and said that being a woman should not get in the way of anyone's potential.

"No I don't believe that anything I've done in life has been cut short," Dr. Ward said. "I hope that the things I've done in life have opened opportunities for others."

As one student put it, man or a woman, she just hopes the person in charge does a good job.

Following this week's excitement, Broad and her husband will head to the Outer Banks for a break.

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