CHAPEL HILL — It will be up toUNC President Molly Broadand theUNC Board of Governorsto find a replacement forMichael Hooker, who died Tuesday of complications from cancer. Until then, University Provost Dick Richardson will be in charge.
University leaders want to spend the next few days supporting Hooker's family. Broad says that in the short term,UNC-Chapel Hillwill be fine.
She also says replacing the chancellor will most likely be a process that could take months.
Across the UNC campus Tuesday, students and faculty spoke fondly of Hooker, a 1969 alumnus of UNC-Chapel Hill.
Derrick Pertrell had an appointment to meet with Hooker Tuesday morning. He says one important quality of the chancellor's was that students could reach him.
"He was always approachable. He always had time. At least, he made time for the most part," said Pertrell.
Taking stock of who Hooker was to UNC-Chapel Hill while he lived will become part of the process of finding someone new to fill his shoes.
"He was a true visionary, a person who saw beyond tomorrow and into the future," said Broad.
Broad says the first step will be to consult with the faculty and trustees about finding an interim leader; then, the university launch a search for a permanent chancellor.
"I believe we will want to get the full input of the university faculty when they return in August. I believe it will take this entire academic year to complete the search and to appoint a new chancellor," said Broad.
The formal search will begin in July. Students hope any new leader takes a cue from Hooker.
"He always said 'Hello,' and it was nice to get a sense of 'This guy is a friendly person and he's leading the University and seemed to do a wonderful job of it,'" said student Meagan Honnold.
The new chancellor will be faced with several challenges, like maintaining the university's stellar academic reputation while dealing with a budget deficit.