CHARLOTTE - UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois announced that he will retire effective June 30, 2020.
In an email to the campus community, Dubois said, “Let me say that it has been my honor and privilege to serve as your Chancellor. So, today, I bring a bittersweet message. It is now time for Lisa and me to move on to our next adventure! This was not an easy decision for us. UNC Charlotte is a special place, with wonderful faculty and staff colleagues, and talented students. And the same can be said of this wonderful city, which we have watched grow and develop in size and stature. But the time is right for us to make this transition."
Now in his fifteenth year as chancellor and with eight years served as President of the University of Wyoming, Dubois is one of the nation’s most experienced CEOs in higher education. He is the senior chancellor in the UNC System.
“During his more than 40-year career, Chancellor Dubois has consistently earned the respect of his peers, and has become the embodiment of everything a successful leader should be,” UNC System Interim President Bill Roper said. “He is an innovative thinker and strategic planner who has steered UNC Charlotte through a period of significant growth to become the highly respected and nationally prominent institution that it now is. We look forward to continuing our work with him during the upcoming academic year and will wish him all the best when he steps down in June. He will be greatly missed.”
Dubois said that announcing now will give UNC Charlotte’s Board of Trustees, Interim President Roper and the UNC System Board of Governors ample time to conduct a national search for the next chancellor.
“Building on the foundation that was laid by my predecessors, and working alongside incredibly dedicated and talented Boards of Trustees, my leadership team, faculty, staff, and students, I am extremely proud of the phenomenal things that we have accomplished together,” Dubois noted.
“Under Chancellor Dubois’ visionary leadership, the university has seen unprecedented growth in student enrollment, academic programs, research funding, and expansion of the physical campus,” said Board of Trustees Chair Mike Wilson. “Phil will have served this university and Niner Nation with distinction for nearly 21 years and for 15 of those years as our chancellor upon his retirement next July. He and his wife Lisa have selflessly provided unwavering dedication and support to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and families. As Phil and Lisa look forward to the next chapter in their journey together, we wish them well and thank them for all they have done for UNC Charlotte.”
In 1991, Dubois was recruited to UNC Charlotte and spent the next five-and-a-half years as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. Dubois was credited with drafting a strategic academic plan, leading the development of the university's first comprehensive campus-wide plan for information technology, and initiating programs to better serve nontraditional adult students. Under his leadership, UNC Charlotte also launched its first doctoral programs and established the first instructional programs in Center City Charlotte.
Named president of the University of Wyoming in 1997, Dubois led the development of comprehensive academic, support services, and capital construction plans for the campus; stimulated a growing volume of new capital construction projects and building renovations; expanded UW's role in statewide economic development; and improved the recruitment and retention of students. During his eight-year tenure, state and federal legislative support increased significantly, while private gifts to the university more than quadrupled. He was honored in 2004 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) with its District VI Chief Executive Leadership Award.
Dubois became UNC Charlotte's fourth chancellor in July 2005. During his 14-year tenure, he has effectively managed the UNC system’s fastest-growing and third-largest institution by headcount with 43 percent growth in enrollment since 2005 making steady and significant improvements in the academic credentials and ethnic diversity of incoming freshmen and transfers.
Chancellor Dubois’ major accomplishments:
- Guided the preparation and implementation of two 5-year institutional strategic plans, the Campus Master Plan for facilities development and land use, and nearly 20 related studies to accommodate rapid enrollment growth.
- Led the largest facility construction and renovation program in UNC Charlotte’s history, exceeding $1.2 billion since 2005. Major facilities include UNC Charlotte Center City, Popp-Martin Student Union, Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC), PORTAL industry partnership building, Gage Undergraduate Admissions Center, Jerry Richardson football stadium and Judy W. Rose Football Center, intercollegiate tennis facility, several student residence halls and dining facility, an undergraduate admissions center, and four parking decks. Major facility additions under construction include the $66 million University Recreation Center and a new $90 million Science Building. A new 226-room, full-service Marriott Hotel with 24,000 feet of conference space is in construction, scheduled for completion in March 2021.
- Initiated new approach to campus diversity initiatives, including creation of the Council on University Community, the Chancellor’s $150,000 Challenge Fund to support campus diversity activities, and the implementation of two five-year plans related to diversity, access, and inclusion.
- Staunchly advocated on behalf of the 2016 Connect North Carolina bond measure throughout the greater Charlotte region and helped secure a favorable public vote on the bonds, thereby resulting in the funding of UNC Charlotte’s new Science Building, currently under construction.
- Closely collaborated with elected officials and CATS leadership to make possible the construction of nearly ten miles of light rail line from Center City Charlotte to the UNC Charlotte campus. The light rail extension opened in March 2018, connecting the campus to the city center in new and exciting ways.
- Provided strategic leadership for developing the plan to start a Division I FCS-level football program in 2013 and its entry into Conference USA at the FBS level in 2015. In support of the football initiative, provided leadership for organization and funding of a 30-member drum corps and subsequently a 150-member marching band.
- Provided leadership for the largest private fundraising campaign in UNC Charlotte history with a goal to raise $200 million by June 30, 2020, of which nearly $190 million in gifts and pledges have been committed. Dubois was directly involved in securing the largest individual and private foundation gifts ever received, including the gifts creating the Levine Scholars Program. Private fundraising during Dubois’ tenure has supported the creation of ten endowed chairs and professorships.
- During the worst of the economic recession beginning in 2009, managed through the loss of over $53 million in state appropriations with minimal losses in employee positions and modest tuition increases.
- Oversaw implementation of new academic degree programs, including 10 bachelor’s, 17 master’s, 12 doctoral, and multiple graduate certificates. Externally funded research awards achieved a record level in 2019, reaching nearly $51 million.
- Created or supported the development of new offices to support students and families, including the Office of Parent and Family Services, Scholarship Office, Call Center, Transfer Student Center, a “one-stop” service center (Niner Central), and the Office of Undergraduate Research.
- Strengthened relationships with the Charlotte business community, and increased institutional visibility with the media and general public in the region as a result of having created the Division of Institutional Advancement with consolidated responsibility for fundraising and alumni affairs, institutional marketing and branding, governmental and corporate relations, community outreach, and media relations.
- Collaborated with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to create two “early colleges” for students in grades 9 through 13—one for students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and one for students interested in teaching.
Dubois has received numerous awards, including recognitions from the Charlotte World Affairs Council, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the North Carolina Campus Compact, the Charlotte Chamber, the Charlotte Regional Partnership, the Charlotte Business Journal, the Carolinas Chapter of the Counsels of Real Estate, and the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors. Dubois was recognized in 2018 by the American Association of University Administrators for lifetime accomplishment in higher education administration.
Dubois has also been very involved in the Charlotte community, currently serving on the following Boards: Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, NC Campus Compact, Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, and Center City Partners. He has also served on the Boards of Envision Charlotte, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, University City Partners, Charlotte Regional Partnership, and United Way of the Carolinas. Dubois has also been active in intercollegiate athletics including current service on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Conference USA.
“It has been an extraordinary journey for me to serve as Chancellor of UNC Charlotte and for Lisa to serve as its First Lady,” said Dubois. “Leading this campus and working with such wonderful people has been an experience of a lifetime. When we pass the torch, I am confident that the best is yet to come for this great University!”
Dubois and his wife, Lisa Lewis Dubois have three adult children: Logan, Taylor, and Ali. They are also the proud grandparents of twin boys, Brooks and Leo.