FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2019
CHAPEL HILL, NC – University of North Carolina System Board of Governors Chair Harry Smith announced today that he is stepping down from the chair position effective October 1, 2019. Mr. Smith, a two-term member of the Board, will continue to serve as a member of the Board through the remainder of his term, which ends in 2021.
Mr. Smith joined the Board in 2013 and continued to work full time with his company. More recently, he dedicated himself to leading the Board and has done so for more than a year. The growing professional demands of a new business venture require Mr. Smith to step down.
Mr. Smith, a graduate of East Carolina University, is the former chair and CEO of Flanders Corporation, roles he held from 2007-2015. Known for his strong leadership skills, he accepted the call to public service and joined the Board of Governors in July 2013. He went on to chair the Committee on Budget and Finance before being elected unanimously to serve as the Board chair in July 2018.
Under Smith’s capable leadership, the UNC System has seen record enrollment growth and implemented the NC Promise program at Western Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, and UNC Pembroke. Mr. Smith guided the transition and succession of Bill Roper as interim president of the UNC System, and he played a key leadership role in the successful turnaround and renaissance of Elizabeth City State University, including the election of its new chancellor. Mr. Smith also created two new Board of Governors committees dedicated to supporting historically minority-serving institutions, as well as veterans and military-affiliated students.
“We are grateful for Harry’s service, strong leadership, and selfless commitment to both the UNC System and the Board of Governors,” said Bill Roper, UNC System interim president. “I have valued his support, leadership, and friendship throughout this past year, and look forward to his continuing contributions on the Board of Governors.”