The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be under new leadership in the next academic year.
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp will step down, effective June 30, 2013, according to a Monday press release from the university. He said he is vacating the position because it is best for the future of the university.
Since Thorp took the chancellor position in 2008, the university has faced several high-profile athletic scandals related to the football program and cheating involving student athletes. Thorp has decided to return to the chemistry department where he became a professor in 1993 and the department chair in 2005.
“I will always do what is best for this University,” Thorp said in the relsease. “This wasn’t an easy decision personally. But when I thought about the University and how important it’s been to me, to North Carolinians and to hundreds of thousands of alumni, my answer became clear.”
Thorp informed Tom Ross, president of the UNC system, of his decision Sunday and said he would be willing to work beyond June 30 in order to make the change in leadership seamless.
“Chancellor Thorp’s love of and devotion to UNC-Chapel Hill are beyond question,” Ross said in a release. “I have accepted his announcement with considerable sadness, but fully understand he is acting in what he believes to be the best interests of UNC-Chapel Hill and the entire university.”
Despite Thorp’s intention to resign, the university’s Board of Trustees has put their full support behind him—they even tried to talk him out of resignation, said Chair Wade Hargrove.
“I respect his unwavering commitment to always do what he thinks best serves the university,” Hargrove noted. “Thorp has done an exemplary job as chancellor, especially in improving a wide range of processes and academic and fiscal management procedures.”
In recent months, Thorp has guided UNC through both a series of student-athlete cheating scandals and a review of the department of African and Afro-American studies. Ross added that, by announcing his resignation now, Thorp can focus his next nine months on tying loose ends on university issues and implementing policies that will prevent similar issues in the future.
Thorp’s number two, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney, announced in late August that he will also be stepping down June 30, 2013, according to the Daily Tar Heel. The search for Carney’s replacement will be put on hiatus until a successor for Thorp is found.