CHAPEL HILL – The University of North Carolina Board of Governors today elected Peter Hans to serve as the president of the University of North Carolina System. President-elect Hans will assume this role effective August 1, 2020.
UNC Board member Reginald Holley of Johnston County said, “President-elect Hans has a real love for our state and the university system”.
Hans currently serves as president of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), a role he has held since May 1, 2018. He also served a six-year term on the State Board of Community Colleges, where he was vice chair. As president of the NCCCS, Hans oversees 58 colleges across North Carolina and about 700,000 students, which is the third-largest system of higher education in the United States.
“Public education has been the cornerstone of my life and helped shape my years of public service,” said President-elect Hans. “My goal is to make higher education more affordable for more North Carolinians so we can extend opportunity to all of her citizens.”
President-elect Hans succeeds Margaret Spellings, who served as president of the UNC System from March 1, 2016, until March 1, 2019. Dr. Bill Roper has served as interim president since January 2019.
Hans grew up in Southport on the coast and Hendersonville in the mountains. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies from Harvard University.
Over the course of his career in public service, Hans has earned a reputation for working across the aisle to build consensus. He served as senior policy advisor to U.S. Senator Lauch Faircloth (1995-1999), then-U.S. Representative (now U.S. Senator) Richard Burr (1999-2001), and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Dole (2001-2002).
Later, Hans and former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker built a government relations practice at a series of regional law firms, most recently Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. The team has counseled private-sector companies on public affairs, including clients in the health care, technology, retail and manufacturing sectors.