Neil Hawk, vice chancellor for the Office of Business Affairs at UNC Pembroke, will retire on May 30, according to an announcement from Chancellor Kyle R. Carter.
Hawk is concluding a 43-year career in higher education, with 36 years as a chief financial officer. He has served UNCP for the past 20 years.
With 150 employees and a budget of $130 million annually, Hawk supervises the offices of Business Services, the Controller, Dining Services, Facilities Management, Facilities Operations, Facilities Planning and Construction, Financial Planning and Budgeting and Human Resources as well as the Bookstore.
Hawk also is the Treasurer for the UNCP Foundation and its Limited Liability Companies (LLC). In this capacity he is responsible for a $16 million endowment; has oversight for five student housing projects and the associated debt plus a fieldhouse, as well as other general foundation business.
In the past 12 years, Hawk supervised more than $250 million in construction that transformed the campus. New construction and renovations touched virtually every corner of the university.
Chancellor Carter offered best wishes and praise for the university’s longest serving vice chancellor.
“After 20 years of service to UNC Pembroke, Neil should be proud of all that he accomplished here,” Chancellor Carter said. “He served four chancellors during very different times and served each expertly. During the first part of his tenure, Neil helped plan and develop a campus that is one of the most beautiful in the system. He skillfully guided the university during a period of unprecedented growth and expansion.
“Although the final stage of his tenure has been marked by reduced resources and dramatic budget cuts to higher education, Neil’s excellent financial management and advice minimized the impact on students and employees,” Dr. Carter continued. “More so than any CFO with whom I’ve worked, Neil was focused on what was best for academics. We will all miss his competence, candor and wit. I wish him the best on his well-deserved retirement.”
When Hawk turns off the lights of his office for the last time, he will be leaving UNCP’s financial house in order and a blueprint for the university’s future. In an interview, he summed up highlights of the past 20 years.
“I am particularly pleased that we have had 20 years of clean audits with only one relatively minor finding,” Hawk said. “It’s been fun; there is nothing I’d rather have done.
“I wish UNCP and its employees the best of luck,” he said. “The university has many opportunities for expansion of enrollment, facilities and programs.”
Hawk praised the four chancellors he worked for, who “have worked to do what is right for the university, its students and the state,” he said.
“The best times at UNCP were also the most challenging, because they brought out the best in us,” Hawk said. “The employees here are very supportive of the university, which they view as family. I’ve seen hundreds of examples of our employees going the extra mile to make the university the best it can be.”
“We have been able to pull together the resources to support a growing university as well as for student scholarships,” Hawk said. “Finding and allocating resources is the most challenging part of the job and the most satisfying.”
Hawk credits university employees with the efficiency of the university’s financial operations. “We’re one of the smaller UNC schools, but the system looked to us to take the lead on critical financial conversions, including payroll and Banner finance [the software that manages university finances and other data]. A lot of good people literally worked 24/7 on these projects.”
Hawk also leaves the university with a new, 10-year master plan for buildings, grounds and infrastructure. “We began the master plan process after I arrived, and this is our third,” he said. “We’ve got a good blueprint for the future.”