Holden Thorp leaving UNC System

University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp speaks during a news conference in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, July 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
February 18, 2013 5:02:14 AM PST
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's embattled chancellor isn't just stepping down from his post soon, he's leaving the UNC system.

Last September, Holden Thorp announced he would be stepping down and into a faculty role at UNC effective June 30, because he said it was best for the future of the university.

Now, Thorp, 48, has instead accepted a job as provost at Washington University.

In a letter to UNC students, faculty, and staff, Thorp says he'll start his new job July 1.

"This exciting new opportunity represents the best of both worlds. My new positions will enable me to return to my passions of teaching and research while, at the same time, as the chief academic officer, will allow me to continue many of the administrative duties that I've enjoyed as chancellor," wrote Thorp.

Thorp took the reins of Carolina in 2008, but it didn't take long before he became embroiled in controversy.

It was during his tenure where the university's football scandal unfolded which resulted in the firing of head coach Butch Davis and the retirement of UNC Athletic Director Dick Baddour.

The football scandal involving pro agents also turned into an academic investigation over classes.

The most recent scandal involved the university's chief fund raiser and Tami Hansbrough's -- the mother of former UNC basketball standout Tyler Hansbrough -- travel records.

"There's no way I could have imagined some of the things that I've gone through the last two years," Thorp said in a statement last year announcing his resignation. "I do think that I've had some bad luck and some folks I trusted weren't doing things the right way."

Thorp had told UNC President Tom Ross at the time that he was willing to stay beyond June 30, if needed; to avoid any gap in leadership until a successor could be in place.

However, it is unknown now if that offer still stands.

If Thorp resigned as planned, he would have returned to the UNC classroom as a chemistry professor and researcher with a $425,000 salary.

Meanwhile, UNC leaders have admitted that the search for Thorp's replacement won't be quick or easy. A 21-member panel is currently in charge of launching a national search for a replacement.

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