Friday, February 12, 2010

Bowles retiring as UNC president by end of year

UNC President Erskine Bowles, a former Charlotte businessman, announced today that he'll retire by the end of the year, WRAL-TV and the N&O report. At a Board of Governors meeting in Chapel Hill, Bowles said he had always planned to stay five years after joining the system in 2006.

"I know in my head that this is the right decision at the right time," WRAL quoted Bowles saying. WRAL also said Bowles called the university system "the best in the country."

Here's my take: Bowles ran twice unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, and his father was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1972 and withdrew from the 1976 race. But Bowles has had a storied career, rising from head of the Small Business Administration in the Clinton Administration to White House chief of staff, essentially running the country during Clinton's years of turmoil, insiders say.

And while Bowles never won elective office here, he probably has made far more impact on North Carolina, its university system and hundreds of thousands of students who have attended its campuses on his watch, than he would have as a member of the U.S. Senate.


Anonymous said...

Very sad news. He has been an outstanding UNC President.

Anonymous said...

It was 1972, the year The Republican Revolution took firm hold in North Carolina. Skipper Bowles had had a tough fight (against Pat Taylor) to not only get the Democratic nomination, but then to hold the party together. He wasn't able to do it. The Nixon landslide helped sweep Jim Holshouser from Boone to Raleigh and make him the first 20th century Republican Governor in North Carolina. Erskine remembers that losing battle well. And, though he was never able to achieve elective office himself, he has, as Mr. Betts says, done far more for North Carolina than he could have ever done in the Senate. Twice Erskine has been interviewed on North Carolina People and twice he has said to host Bill Friday, "In the eyes of everyone, there's only been ONE UNC president and that's been you, Mr. Friday."

Mr. Friday was at the helm for 30 years, from 1956-1986 (ages 36-66). No one expected Erskine Bowles to be another Bill Friday--no one ever will be. Not Spangler, not Broad, not Bowles. But Erskine did bring to the massive UNC System a sense of purpose, direction, and integiry. He made tough decisions, none tougher than having to remove a couple of Chancellors. Through it all, he stood stall and was a champion of higher education, once again enabling The University of North Carolina system to rank among the best in the nation. Thanks, Erskine, and may your fifth and final year in this hot-seat office be your finest hour yet.

Jack Hart said...

In my opinion Bowles was just another Clinton democrap.
And I hated to hear he would lead our wonderful university system...and bring that typical liberal way of thinking there too!
Glad to see him going!

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