Peter Hans elected UNC System president

Monday, June 22, 2020

The UNC Board of Governors elected Peter Hans to serve as the president of the University of North Carolina System. He will assume this role effective Aug.1.

“Peter has long distinguished himself as a visionary leader who not only understands, but who is leading the charge for the future of higher education,” said UNC Board of Governors Chair Randy Ramsey, who also served as co-chair of the search committee. “We believe there is no one better suited to lead our university system into the future—even if the future may be very different than the one we all thought it would be six months ago. We are delighted to have Peter Hans as our new president and look forward to the transition process.”  

President-elect Hans’ extensive experience in higher education policy gives him a comprehensive understanding of North Carolina’s vast higher education landscape.

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. 

The N.C. Senate elected Hans to serve on the UNC Board of Governors in 2003, 2007 and 2011, and he led the board as chair from 2012-14. In 2014, the UNC System and NCCCS signed the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement, streamlining the transfer of credits for students, under then-Chair Hans’ leadership. From 2016-18, he advised then-UNC System President Margaret Spellings on issues related to technology, health care, strategic planning and K-12 education.

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. 

President-elect Hans currently serves as the board vice-chair of myFutureNC, a bipartisan commission organized to raise the state’s educational attainment level. In 2019, the myFutureNC Commission issued a goal for two million North Carolinians to have a degree or credential beyond high school by 2030.

“Public education has been the cornerstone of my life and helped shape my years of public service,” said Hans. “My goal is to make higher education more affordable for more North Carolinians so we can extend opportunity to all of her citizens.”

Hans succeeds Margaret Spellings, who served as president of the UNC System from March 1, 2016, until March 1, 2019.

Hans, who grew up in Southport and Hendersonville, completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies from Harvard University.

President-elect Peter Hans’ acceptance remarks can be viewed through this link.