WCU’s new chancellor will be announced Friday

John W. Bardo, pictured, announced his retirement as WCU's chancellor last fall.

The announcement of Western Carolina University’s new chancellor will be this Friday, April 8 at the University of North Carolina Board of Governors meeting in Chapel Hill. If all of the technical considerations go as planned, the announcement will be streamed live to the Blue Ridge Conference Room at WCU. The Board of Governors meeting starts at 9:00 a.m. and the approximate time for the announcement will be around 10:30-11:00 a.m.

The WCU community will welcome the new chancellor, the university’s 11th in 122 years, on Monday, April 11 at 3 p.m. in the Fine and Performing Arts Center’s Performance Hall.

The announcement of the new chancellor comes 21 days after the Chancellor Search Committee, made up of 16 members drawn from WCU faculty, students, staff, alumni and administration and from the surrounding community, recommended a final slate of candidates to the president of the University of North Carolina system, Tom Ross. The search committee had been working since late October to help identify a successor for John W. Bardo. Chancellor at WCU since March 1995, Bardo announced last fall his plans to step down from the position this summer.

After interviewing a number of top candidates during a series of “airport interviews” March 4-5 in Atlanta, the search committee provided a list of finalists to the WCU Board of Trustees for consideration. During a special meeting Tuesday, March 15, the Board agreed on a list of at least three finalists to be forwarded to Ross.

Search committee chair Steve Warren, who also is chair of the Board of Trustees, said in correspondence to the campus community at the time that whoever Ross chooses, WCU will be in good hands.

“Although I cannot tell you specifics about the candidates, I can tell you this: The quality of those who want to be your next chancellor is outstanding, and their credentials are stellar,” Warren said. “The reason is simple. It is because of the leadership of Chancellor John Bardo over these past 16 years, and it is because of the contributions of all of you who teach and work at Western Carolina to help implement a shared vision of excellence. Together, you have taken this university to another level. Everyone wants to play on a winning team, and Western Carolina is a winner.”

Throughout the serach process, the committee worked with Jerry Baker of Baker and Associates, a national executive search firm with offices in Winston-Salem and Atlanta, and with Ann Lemmon, associate vice president for human resources for the UNC system.

At the committee’s first meeting on Nov. 16, members received an official charge from Ross, who provided the group with a long list of the characteristics and qualifications he would like to see in WCU’s next chancellor. The committee then scheduled a series of open forums designed to solicit public input in the process. Members spent four hours listening Nov. 22 as faculty, staff, students, alumni, community neighbors and fans of intercollegiate athletics shared their thoughts about the university’s next chancellor and the future direction of WCU.

Committee members used what they learned during those sessions and from responses to an online questionnaire to develop a detailed position description and leadership statement designed to attract highly qualified candidates to the job. Those documents were finalized in December.

From a large number of applicants and nominees collected by Baker and Associates, the committee identified a pool of candidates for further consideration and examined extensive biographical information about each of the candidates. The committee gathered on Feb. 15 at the offices of AdvantageWest in Asheville to narrow the pool to those candidates who were invited to participate in the off-campus interviews in Atlanta.