Just minutes after 11 a.m. on April 9, 2010, the UNC Board of Governors unanimously approved President Erskine Bowles’ recommendation to name Dr. Kyle R. Carter as UNC Pembroke’s fifth chancellor.
In Durham addressing the UNC Board of Governors
Chancellor-Elect Carter is 62 and an Atlanta native. He is the provost and senior vice chancellor for Western Carolina University (WCU), a post he has held since 2004.
Dr. Carter’s tenure in Pembroke will begin on July 1.
Dr. Carter was hailed by President Bowles as a “strong, effective and experienced leader for UNC Pembroke.”
In Chancellor-Elect Carter, UNCP is getting a 35-year veteran of higher education. He has experience in North Carolina, the UNC system and with regional universities that are set in rural communities.
After earning a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in educational psychology, Dr. Carter began his career on the faculty of Valdosta State College. In 22 years at Northern Colorado University, he earned faculty tenure, the rank of full professor, and ended his career there as Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School.
Before coming to North Carolina as Western Carolina’s first provost, he served the University of Central Missouri as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
When introducing Dr. Carter, Dr. Freda Porter, chair of both the Chancellor Search Committee and the Board of Trustees, said he is a “dynamic leader with a searing vision for UNCP.”
In recommending Dr. Carter to the Board of Governors, President Bowles said: “Kyle Carter brings to the task more than three decades of academic and leadership experience at respected public universities, including one of our own UNC institutions. At each step along the way, he has proven himself to be an engaged and effective leader who promotes collaboration and strategic thinking, academic excellence and student success. He has also earned a reputation for great integrity, sound judgment and an unwavering commitment to community engagement and outreach.
“I am convinced that Kyle Carter brings the right mix of experience, skills, and passion needed to be a truly great chancellor for UNC Pembroke, and I am thrilled that he has agreed to join our leadership team,” Bowles concluded.
With Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Freda Porter and Interim Chancellor Charles Jenkins
In her remarks to the Board of Governors in Durham and later at a reception in Pembroke, Dr. Porter praised the 16-member search committee for its work over nine months. Several committee members made the journey to Durham, N.C., to join the Board of Governors at North Carolina Central University.
Dr. Porter invoked UNCP’s proud 123-year history, saying Dr. Carter is a leader who will continue to “foster UNCP’s unique cultural diversity and the vision of the founders.”
“Today marks the beginning of a new era,” Dr. Porter said. “We believe that we have in Dr. Carter a leader with integrity who will advocate for the community and engage in significant outreach.”
Then, it was Chancellor-Elect Carter’s turn. The next chancellor for UNCP spoke to the Board of Governors and at a press conference. Then, he travelled to Pembroke for meetings with key leaders, a community-wide reception, a press conference and dinner with executive staff.
After thanking the Board of Governors, Dr. Carter said it was “a great day in my life and the life of my family. I am absolutely thrilled by this appointment.
“I pledge to you that your decision will be rewarded,” he continued. “I was drawn to Pembroke initially by the search committee, which made Pembroke’s story a compelling one.
“UNC Pembroke is an institution with a rich history,” Dr. Carter said. “For more than 123 years, the University has served a very diverse citizenry.
“I will invite the entire Pembroke community to help chart the future course of the University,” he said. “I pledge to honor and preserve the core values of the past.”
In the press conference that followed, Dr. Carter began the discussion of what he brings to UNCP and what he sees here.
“I have had a great deal of experience in dealing with change,” he said. “Base realignment on Ft. Bragg and pending federal recognition of the Lumbee Tribe will bring growth to the entire region,” he continued.
“I am a good listener,” Dr. Carter continued. “I am adaptable. If the course I’ve set is not the right one, I am willing to change.”
Dr. Carter introduced his family in Durham and later in Pembroke. He and his wife, Sarah, who is a former elementary school teacher, have two children. Travis is at the University of Chicago doing post-doctoral work after earning a Ph.D. in social psychology from Cornell University. Heather, who was in attendance, works for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and is working on a doctorate in nutrition at the University of Georgia.
Chancellor-Elect Carter has experience working with American Indians. On the list of people he met with Friday was Lumbee Tribe Chair Purnell Swett.
In a receiving line in Pembroke with wife, Sarah. More than 400 attended an afternoon reception.
At WCU, Dr. Carter supervised the Cherokee Task Force to promote collaboration between the university and tribe. One of those collaborations included Wake Forest University in a Cultural Health Care Initiative for rural healthcare providers.
The next chancellor has also been active in community service. He worked and volunteered with a variety of service organizations including Upward Bound, United Way and Habitat for Humanity, as well as youth sports, Boy Scouts, Rotary and school booster clubs.
He is also an experienced fundraiser. Working with Northern Colorado’s first capital campaign, he helped raise $11.5 million. At Central Missouri, Dr. Carter worked closely with a $21 million Campaign for Students. At WCU, he was a member of the executive leadership team for the successful $51.8 million capital campaign that ended in October 2009.
In front of about 400 faculty, staff, student and community guests at a late afternoon reception at UNCP, it got more personal for Chancellor-Elect Carter.
“I will spend the next several months learning more about UNCP,” Dr. Carter said. “I will rely on Chancellor Charles Jenkins to assist me in this transition.
“You don’t know me yet, but we will get to know each other better over time,” he promised.
In a PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Carter introduced his wife, who he met at freshman orientation in college, his children and family pet. He listed the five reasons why he and his family wanted to be a part of the Pembroke community.
On the list was: a beautiful campus; people who care about their University; diversity, which he said is “an asset of limitless value;” the University’s mission to uplift people’s lives in the region; and the opportunity to share in UNCP’s future.
“What are we going to become?” he asked. “We will chart that course together.”
“The thing I will never change is the history and culture of this University,” Dr. Carter said. “We must learn how to preserve that as we take a larger role in this state. We must not lose sight of the unique essence that makes Pembroke, Pembroke.”
Chancellor-Elect Carter met with representatives of The Pine Needle and WNCP-TV following the reception. He revealed even more about himself and how he will lead.
To a question in improving retention and graduation rates, he said the University already has a plan to increase retention that will raise admissions standards.
“We want to make sure the students we recruit know where they are enrolling,” Dr. Carter said. “Several years ago at Western Carolina, the information they got didn’t always match what they would experience. We have worked hard to ensure that our recruitment messages now match the campus experience.
“The students we recruit should understand the essential qualities of the University,” he continued. “We want to accurately brand ourselves...by that, I mean the verbal messages used in the recruiting process.”
To a question about athletics and UNCP’s new football team, Chancellor-Elect Carter revealed that he is a sports fan.
“I am not only a sports fan, but a frustrated athlete with more than a few broken bones to show for it,” he said. “I will attend sporting events and not only the major sports.”
To a question from Pine Needle Editor Wade Allen about accessibility to students, Chancellor-Elect Carter said he is in the habit of eating in the cafeteria.
“I will interact with students,” he said. “I will be accessible to The Pine Needle.”
To a question about growth and construction, Chancellor-Elect Carter said “UNC Pembroke is going to grow.”
“The corridor between Fayetteville and Lumberton is growing,” he said. “Construction is a positive sign, and Pembroke is fortunate to get a new nursing/health professions building and a residence hall.”
To a question about support for the arts, Chancellor-Elect Carter said the arts are important to a University and the surrounding community.
“Cultural entertainment is a sign of vitality,” he said. “It adds to the student experience. There are lots of reasons to support the arts.”
Local and regional newspaper reporters worked the crowd Friday afternoon and the response to the new chancellor was very positive.
Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Tony Curtis told The Robesonian that he is “impressed.”
“When he talks to you, you can tell he’s through and through an academic person, and the faculty love it,” Dr. Curtis said.
Pine Needle Editor Wade Allen said Chancellor-Elect Carter appears “goal driven.”
“He kept talking about gearing up for the future, while retaining the past,” Allen said.
Student Government President Arjay Quizon, who was also on the Chancellor Search Committee, described meeting Dr. Carter to The Robesonian.
“On paper, he is very impressive,” Quizon said. “You would think this guy is too good to be true, but when you meet him, he lives up to the expectation.
“He is very humble,” Quizon said. “Hopefully, he’ll stick around for a very long time.”
Staff Council Chair Andrea Branch spoke with the Fayetteville Observer after a 3 p.m. meeting with the chancellor-elect.
“He said he is here to learn, and I think that is absolutely awesome,” Branch said. “He hasn’t come here with a to-do list; he has come with a clean slate.”
Grant Merritt was taking photos for The Pine Needle and traveled to Durham to get video footage. He spoke with The Robesonian.
“My first impression is that he seems very welcoming and warm,” Merritt said. “I think he will bring a positive aspect to the campus. I think he will bring growth to this school while preserving our commitment to diversity.”
Maxine Locklear Amos, a community member with historic ties to the University, told The Robesonian she thinks Chancellor-Elect Carter brings a good balance.
“I’m impressed that he doesn’t want to forget the historical background of the school,” Amos said. “He said he wants to chart the future together.”