Interim UNC System President William L. Roper


In November 2018, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors named Dr. William L. Roper interim president of the UNC System, effective January 1, 2019.

Dr. Roper was most recently the dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and CEO of the UNC Health Care System. He also was professor of health policy and management in the School of Public Health and professor of pediatrics and of social medicine in the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill.

From 1997 until 2004, he was dean of the School of Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Before joining UNC-Chapel Hill in 1997, Dr. Roper was senior vice president of Prudential HealthCare. He joined Prudential in 1993 as president of the Prudential Center for Health Care Research.

Before coming to Prudential, Dr. Roper was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), served on the senior White House staff, and was administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (responsible for Medicare and Medicaid). Earlier, he was a White House Fellow.

He received his MD from the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and his MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Colorado Medical Center.

Dr. Roper is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine). He is a member of the board of directors of DaVita, Inc., and a member of the board of directors of Express Scripts Holding Company.

In 2018, Dr. Roper was named to Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare. In Fall 2018, Governor Roy Cooper presented Dr. Roper with the North Carolina Award for Public Service, the state’s highest civilian honor.

Dr. Roper and his wife, pediatric oncologist Dr. Maryann Roper, reside in Chapel Hill. They have one son, Will.


The President is the UNC System’s chief administrative and executive officer, with complete authority to manage the affairs and execute the policies of the University, subject to the direction of the Board of Governors. The work of the President and Board of Governors is supported by a staff within the UNC System office.


Remarks and reports

President’s Report – May 2020

May 20, 2020

Chapel Hill, NC

President’s Report – April 2020

April 17, 2020


President’s Report – March 2020

March 20, 2020

Chapel Hill, NC

President’s Report – February 2020

February 21, 2020

Chapel Hill, NC

President’s Report – January 2020

January 17, 2020

Chapel Hill, NC

President’s Report – November 2019

November 15, 2019

Elizabeth City State University

President’s Report – September 2019

September 20, 2019

Chapel Hill, NC

President’s Report – May 2019

May 22, 2019

Chapel Hill, NC

Interim President Roper’s Address to Graduates

May 12, 2019

UNC-Chapel Hill

Past Presidents

President Emeriti of the University of North Carolina

  1. Joseph Caldwell1, 1804-12 and 1817-35
  2. Robert H. Chapman, 1812-16
  3. David L. Swain, 1835-68
  4. Soloman S. Pool2, 1868-70
  5. Kemp B. Battle, 1876-91
  6. George T. Winston, 1891-96
  7. Edwin A. Alderman, 1896-1900
  8. Francis P. Venable3, 1900-14
  9. Edward K. Graham3, 1914-18
  10. Harry W. Chase, 1919-30
  11. Frank P. Graham3, 1914-18
  12. Gordon Gray3, 1950-55
  13. William C. Friday, 1956-86
  14. C.D. Spangler, Jr., 1986-97
  15. Molly Corbett Broad, 1997-2005
  16. Erskine Bowles, 2006-2010
  17. Thomas W. Ross, 2011-2016
  18. Margaret Spellings, 2016-2019

Past President Footnotes

1 Before 1804, the University was headed by “presiding professors.”
2 The University was closed by the reconstruction government in 1870 and reopened in September of 1875.
3 Followed briefly by an acting president.