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University of Texas Research Chief Named NCSU Chancellor

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NC State Chancellor-elect Marye Anne Fox showed enthusiasm for her new post when her appointment was announced Thursday, April 9. (WRAL-TV5 News)
RALEIGH — A chemist who is vice president of research at the University of Texas at Austin was named the first female chancellor in North Carolina State University's 111-year history.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors, which oversees the 16-campus state university system, voted unanimously today to accept Marye Anne Fox as head of the state's largest public university.

``I firmly believe that she is the right individual to lead North Carolina State University into the next century,'' said Molly Broad, president of the University of North Carolina system.

Fox has worked at Texas' flagship state university campus since 1976 and has remained one of the nation's top chemists as she climbed the administrative ladder. She has been vice president for research since 1994.

``She's an absolutely outstanding woman with incredible academic credentials,'' Robert Atwell, president emeritus of the American Council on Education, told the News & Observer of Raleigh. ``She has really done it all in the academic world. I think she's a terrific choice.''

In a meeting with reporters after her introduction, Fox said she was committed to preserving diversity on the N.C. State campus.

Referring to court decisions in Texas that have dramatically limited affirmative action programs, Fox said NCSU and other universities must be far more aggressive in recruiting minority students.

The N.C. State position became open in September when Chancellor Larry Monteith announced he would retire this summer. He spent nine years as head of the 27,000-student Raleigh university reknowned for its engineering, agriculture and technical sciences. Molly Broad, president of the University of North Carolina system, declined to name the choice for the job. Broad said the candidate was ``enthusiastically and unanimously endorsed'' by members of the UNC Board of Governors' personnel committee Wednesday. Fox, 50, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Fox informed members of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents Wednesday that she was withdrawing her name as a candidate for the presidency there. Her faculty colleagues at the Austin campus described Fox as a decisive leader and advocate for both research and faculty. Marvin Hackert, chairman of UT's chemistry department, said Fox was a star almost from the day she arrived. She is by far the youngest of the four professors who hold endowed chairs in the department, Hackert said. She has held the M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Regents Chair in Chemistry since 1992. Jack Gilbert, the chairman of the UT faculty council, said he expected Fox to land a college presidency in the near future if she didn't get the N.C. State job. Gilbert, a chemistry and biochemistry professor, has worked in the same department as Fox since she joined the Texas faculty. ``I've seen her grow as a scientist. She is highly regarded for her scientific accomplishments and for her ability to teach students,'' he said. Also, he added, she has been an effective administrator making tough financial decision regarding research. ``I think Marye Anne Fox is a decisive person who doesn't hesitate to make choices,'' he said. ``Whatever university she goes to will benefit from it.'' Another reported finalist for N.C. State's top job was in Kalamazoo, Mich., Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. Elisabeth Zinser, chancellor of the University of Kentucky's Lexington campus, is one of five people being considered to head Western Michigan University. She is scheduled to speak to students and faculty at the Michigan university today. Those plans had not been canceled, said Matt Zurz, a spokesman for the university. David VandeLinde, a former Johns Hopkins professor who is now vice chancellor of the University of Bath in England, who The News & Observer of Raleigh identified as a finalist, could not be reached for comment. Fox will be breaking ground on a campus that remains the most male-dominated state university. About 58 percent of NCSU students are male. Women make up only 18 percent of the university's administrators, compared to about 24 percent for the UNC system overall. Women comprise 16 percent of all tenured and tenure-track faculty at NCSU, compared to between 30 percent and 35 percent nationally.