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UNC System Elects First Woman President

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Molly Broad was second in command at The California State University before being tapped to lead the UNC System. (WRAL-TV5 News)
CHAPEL HILL — CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Members of thegoverning board that selected a woman with no ties to NorthCarolina to lead its university system say they were attracted to herprofessional qualifications and personality.

Leaders on the University of NorthCarolina Board of Governors would have preferred someone with strong ties tothe state, said former board chairman Sam Poole and former Gov. JimHolshouser, who headed the search committee.

But Molly Corbett Broad, 56, bowledthemover with wit, warmth and wisdom, Holshouser said. She has beenexecutive vice chancellor for California State University, a 23-campussystem with 350,000 students and a $4 billion budget.

``She's really done it all,''Holshousersaid, calling her ``one of the few people with the vision to raise aninstitution to the next level.''

Broad showed her ability at a newsconference after she was unanimously elected Thursday afternoon asthe next president of the 16-campus UNC system.

She's a loyal alum of SyracuseUniversityand a member of the Syracuse national alumni association, but toldreporters she wouldn't shirk when it came to supporting UNC athletic teams.

``I learned a long time ago that youdancewith the guy who brung ya,'' said Broad, a Pennsylvania native.

Holshouser said the new president, whowill succeed C.D. Spangler Jr. when he retires June 30, showed the samecharm when she answered questions from board members in a closedsession about an hour earlier.

``I was one of those people who said wehave to pick somebody with a North Carolina background,'' said Poole.``She just overwhelmed us.''

Broad will take over a 16-campus systemwith a $2 billion budget and 153,000 students.

Former state senator Helen Rhyne Marvinsaid the new president has already worked as an educationadministrator with legislatures in New York, Arizona and California. Marvin saidBroad will work with the North Carolina General Assembly easilybecause she has no in-state political baggage.

``If she can handle the Californialegislature, she can handle any legislature,'' Marvin said.

``The wonderful part is she's awoman,''Marvin said. ``I don't think you can make too much out of it. It'sabout time we recognized a woman can do anything a man can do and perhapsdo it better.''

Women in the UNC administrationbuildingquietly cheered the selection.

``That noise is the glass ceilingshattering,'' one said to another in a hallway.

But Broad didn't make as much of thehistoric fact of her selection, saying ``isn't it great that women areable to make contributions?''

Broad beat out UNC-WilmingtonChancellorJames Leutze for the job. Late in the day, the UNC-Wilmington Boardof Trustees issued a statement saying ``the fact that he is afinalist reinforces what we've always felt, that he is the bestchancellor in the UNC system.''

The salary for the new president hasn'tbeen formally approved, but Holshouser said he expects it to be$240,000. That's a $50,000 raise over the pay for Spangler, amulti-millionaire who has donated his pay to the system's campuses each year.

A Phi Beta Kappa economics graduate ofSyracuse in 1962, Broad has a master's degree in economics from OhioState University. She has completed course work for a doctorate atSyracuse, but said she never wrote her dissertation becauseadministrativejobs took up her time.

Among her many posts was one asexecutive director of the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees threestate universities.

Broad began her career as vice presidentfor finance at Ohio State University. In 1976-77 she was deputydirector of the New York State Commission on the Future of PostsecondaryEducation while on leave from Syracuse, where she also served asvice president for government and corporate relations.

She is married to Robert Broad, whoownsacompany that distributes china, crystal, silver and linen tohotels, restaurants and country clubs around the world. They have two adultsons.

Broad caught committee members' eyesaftercontact by a search consultant.

Asked about her political leanings,Broadreplied: ``I consider myself a very active independent.''

Broad spoke in general terms about herplans at the helm, saying she has to get ready for her move to the EastCoast before tackling specifics. She said she has a special interest inbringing technology and the global marketplace to students. North Carolinaalso needs to increase the percentage of its residents who go tocollege, she said.

By ESTES THOMPSON, Associated PressWriter