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March 20, 2019
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Charlotte attorney John C. Fennebresque ’70 has resigned his seat on the UNC System Board of Governors, the policy-making body of the 17-campus UNC System, effective immediately.
Speaking of the Friday election of Margaret Spellings as the new president of the system, Fennebresque said: “I am delighted we could bring in a nationally proven and accomplished leader to serve as the next president of this great university system. Margaret Spellings has the experience, vision and courage we need to navigate the forces transforming higher education. She is skilled in working with education professionals and a variety of constituencies to bring people together, and she has expressed her strong desire to more vigorously focus attention on providing educational opportunities for all people.”
Fennebresque added: “With the search completed, I believe now is the time for a fresh start for our university system and its 17 campuses, as well as for this Board of Governors. So today I am stepping down from the board to make way for and encourage new leadership. Significant challenges lie ahead for the system as it continues to provide the unparalleled education our students deserve.”
Late in the search process for the new president, at least two BOG members called for Fennebresque to resign over what they called a breakdown in leadership and the failure of the search committee to keep other BOG members apprised of the search progress.
Vice chair of the McGuireWoods law firm, Fennebresque, 68, first served on the BOG from 1995 to 1999 and returned to board service in 2011. Prior to being elected board chair in 2014, he chaired its committee on personnel and tenure and also served on its public affairs committee. Earlier this year, he was named by the N.C. General Assembly to a third four-year term that began July 1.
The current vice chair of the Board of Governors, Asheville attorney W. Louis Bissette Jr. ’68 (JD), will assume the chair until the board can elect a new leader, after a required 30-day waiting period. Fennebresque’s seat on the board will remain vacant until the Senate elects a successor to serve out the remainder of his unexpired term.