CHAPEL HILL — On Dec. 13, University of North Carolina System interim president Bill Roper named Dr. Kevin M. Guskiewicz as the 12th chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Kevin Guskiewicz possesses the leadership qualities needed to take Carolina forward: strength, poise, humility, vision, the strong proficiency to listen, and the ability to bring people together,” said Dr. Roper in a statement.
Guskiewicz succeeds Carol Folt, who served as chancellor for almost six years, from July 2013 until the end of January 2019.
“Over the past 10 months, Dr. Guskiewicz has guided this University with a stable and sure hand. He is deeply committed to our University and its mission, prioritizing student success, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and addressing the critical needs of North Carolina and the world,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees Chair Richard Stevens.
“Carolina has been my home for almost 25 years, and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve every member of our community,” Chancellor Guskiewicz in a statement. “My vision for Carolina is that we will move forward into the future with boldness and confidence because our work is vital for the people of our state, the nation and the world.”
While serving as interim chancellor, Guskiewicz dealt with the controversy over the Silent Sam Confederate monument, including criticism and protests about the recent agreement between the UNC Board of Governors and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. That agreement turns over the statue to the group and includes a payout of $2.5 million for the housing and preservation of the monument.
Silent Sam was one hurdle for Guskiewicz, and a report on campus crime was another.
As students were heading back to class at UNC Chapel Hill at the end of August, a U.S. Dept. of Education report containing was also being delivered to the university.
The Dept. of Education report detailed nine Clery Act violations and was the result of a six-year long investigation into accusations the school wasn’t properly reporting crime on campus. Among the charges were that UNC Chapel Hill had failed to properly warn students of threats and did not track and report all crime on campus for a seven-year period spanning from 2009 to 2016.
Guskiewicz released the report in mid-November in a message to the campus.
“We will continue to invest in resources and training to ensure the University has the right tools and procedures to accurately prevent, respond to and report crimes, and issue timely notice of any known safety threats to the campus community,” Guskiewicz said.
The message included actions underway to improve campus safety such as risk management training, enhanced police training and hiring a consulting firm Vermont-based Margolis Healy to assess Clery Act compliance issues.
Guskiewicz has been on the UNC-CH faculty since 1995 and served three years as dean of the university’s College of Arts & Sciences before being appointed interim chancellor on Feb. 6 of this year.
Guskiewicz is nationally recognized for his work in sport-related concussions and is the co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center. In addition, he also is a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science.
In 2011, Guskiewicz was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his work on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sport-related concussions. Two years later, TIME Magazine recognized him as one of 18 “innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America.”
A neuroscientist, Guskiewicz holds multiples degrees, which include a B.S. in athletic training from West Chester University, an M.S. in exercise physiology/athletic training from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in sports medicine from the University of Virginia.
A native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, he now lives in Chapel Hill with his wife Amy and children Jacob, Nathan, Adam and Tessa.