UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz acknowledged in a statement released Nov. 16 through the University’s media relations office that he is considering the presidency at Michigan State University.
“I am focused on serving the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a special place I have lived, worked, and loved for 28 years,” Guskiewicz said. “I am very proud of what our university accomplishes every day as one of the best public universities in the country. Through the years, a variety of professional opportunities have been presented to me. My family and I must weigh each one, and we are weighing this one.”
Guskiewicz has been chancellor since December 2019, after serving as interim chancellor beginning in February that year. He replaced Chancellor Carol Folt, who left UNC for the presidency at the University of Southern California. While serving as interim chancellor, Guskiewicz held more than 25 listening and learning sessions with constituents across campus. He also helped shape Carolina’s strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good, which outlines a roadmap for the University’s priorities, and he re-launched the Tar Heel Bus Tour with 90 faculty and campus leaders.
Before serving as interim chancellor, Guskiewicz was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest academic institution. He came to UNC in 1995 and is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science and co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center. He maintains an active research portfolio and is principal investigator or co-principal investigator on three active research grants totaling more than $20 million.
A renowned expert on sports-related concussions, Guskiewicz was among the 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellows, an honor more commonly called the “Genius Grant.” His groundbreaking work has garnered numerous awards and has influenced concussion guidelines in the NCAA and the NFL.
In 2013, Time magazine named him a Game Changer, one of 18 “innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America.”
Guskiewicz has made interdisciplinary teaching and research a cornerstone of his tenure at UNC. He championed the use of high-structure active learning techniques, and Carolina leads in implementing these educational strategies. Guskiewicz significantly increased study abroad, academic internships and other experiential learning opportunities for Carolina students and oversaw work on a major revamp of UNC’s General Education curriculum.
Located in East Lansing, Michigan, about 90 miles from Detroit, Michigan State University has more than 51,000 students, sits on 5,200 acres and is ranked 28th in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the nation’s top public universities. UNC is ranked 4th. MSU’s last president, Samuel Stanley, stepped down in October 2022, citing he had lost confidence in the institution’s Board of Trustees.
News of Guskiewicz being a finalist for the MSU presidency first appeared in The State News, Michigan State University’s student newspaper, which announced that Guskiewicz and Taylor Eighmy, president of The University of Texas at San Antonio, were the two finalists until Eighmy dropped out.
UNC Board of Trustees Chair John Preyer ’90 said the board wishes Guskiewicz and his family well as they consider the decision.
“In the meantime, our focus as a board remains on the excellence and continued progress of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” Preyer said. “The success of our University and the promise of its future is bigger than any one person. The momentum and leadership of our state’s world-class university will continue.”
— Laurie D. Willis ’86