UNC Wilmington selects new chancellor

Dr. Aswani Volety was chosen as the new Chancellor at UNC Wilmington.

RALEIGH — Dr. Aswani Volety, a marine scientist and experienced public university leader, has been named the seventh chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Volety, currently serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Elon University, is the former dean of UNCW’s College of Arts and Sciences and former executive director of UNCW’s Center for Marine Science. He was elected Thursday by the UNC Board of Governors following the nomination of UNC System President Peter Hans.


“Dr. Volety is a first-generation college graduate and an American by choice. His story speaks to the power of public universities to transform lives, and throughout his career he has demonstrated his commitment to students, to research and to service,” President Hans said. “I know the UNC Wilmington community will be delighted that he’s coming home.”

The selection followed a national search by an 18-member UNCW committee that included trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.

Volety will start the position July 1, succeeding Jose Sartarelli, who will retire June 30 after seven years at the university.

“I have a lot of sweat equity in UNC Wilmington, and I’m excited to return to the university,” Volety said. “I know the institution well, know the people, know the challenges and opportunities. I know how we can do our part to help the entire region grow.”

According to Gidget Kidd, chair of the UNCW Board of Trustees and the Chancellor Search Committee, Dr. Volety’s emphasis on the student experience, his connections to UNCW, and his professional experiences at both public and private institutions inspired the committee’s support for him. “Dr. Volety impressed the committee with his understanding of the complex challenges facing universities today,” she said. “He has the experience and vision to guide UNCW into its next 75 years of success.”

Volety spent five years at UNCW from 2014 to 2019 before serving as the chief academic officer and chief operating officer at Elon, driving its strategic, operational and financial direction.

In his time at UNCW, he guided the implementation of several innovative programs, expanded the number of experiential learning opportunities, funded faculty professional development initiatives and increased the college’s fundraising efforts. Through his collaborative efforts with the Chancellor’s Office and University Advancement, Dr. Volety secured a $5 million gift from Quality Chemical Laboratories in 2018, the largest corporate donation in UNCW’s history at the time.

Volety earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Andhra University in India and a doctorate in marine science from the College of William & Mary in Virginia.