Carol Folt starts new era as 11th chancellor

Carol L. Folt, former interim president of Dartmouth College and the Dartmouth Professor of Biological Sciences, took office Monday (July 1) as Carolina’s 11th chancellor.

Folt, the first woman to lead Carolina, is an internationally recognized environmental scientist and was an award-winning teacher at Dartmouth, a member of the prestigious Ivy League.

Folt will spend part of Monday convening the Chancellor’s Cabinet and getting to know student and staff leaders. On Tuesday, her plans include meeting with Gov. Pat McCrory and key legislative leaders in Raleigh, as well as with faculty leaders back on campus. The rest of her week includes meeting with her new campus colleagues and attending the Town of Chapel Hill’s annual July 4th Independence Day celebration.

Folt says serving as chancellor for one of the world’s leading universities is the honor of a lifetime and a dream come true.

“I’ve known about Carolina for my entire career,” she says. “I love the Tar Heel spirit.”

An Akron, Ohio, native, Folt is a proud product of public higher education. Her parents were the first in their families to attend college. She worked her way through the University of California at Santa Barbara as a waitress, earning a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology in 1976. She received a master’s degree in biology from UC Santa Barbara two years later and her doctorate in ecology in 1982 from the University of California at Davis. Her postdoctoral studies were at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University.

Folt just completed a year as Dartmouth’s interim president. Since joining the faculty in 1983, she rose steadily through the academic and senior administrative ranks. Her research has focused on the effects of dietary mercury and arsenic on humans and ecosystem health, salmonid fisheries management restoration and global climate change.

The Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina approved Folt’s appointment in April. Folt will be formally installed as chancellor On University Day, Oct. 12.

Folt succeeded Holden Thorp, who is the new provost at Washington University in St. Louis.

Information about the formal installation.

Published July 1, 2013.