CHAPEL HILL, NC (WTVD) -- The University of North Carolina System announced Monday the passing of President Emeritus C. D. Spangler Jr.
Spangler became president of the UNC system in 1986 and served for 11 years.
He was a UNC-Chapel Hill grad himself and served as vice-chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, chaired the NC State Board of Education, and co-chaired the Governor's Commission on Education for Economic Growth.
Gov. Roy Cooper, in a statement, called Spangler "a champion for public education."
He said: "We will miss his courage, innovation, and inspiration."
Current UNC System President Margaret Spellings issued this statement:
C.D. Spangler, Jr. was a great North Carolinian, and he will forever be a giant of our state. He will be remembered as a gifted business leader, a compassionate philanthropist, and above all as a public servant who answered the call of the University at a critical time in its history. He believed in the power of education to change lives and transform a state, and he made those possibilities into reality through his life's work. The first in his family to go to college, Dick never forgot who our public universities were meant to serve. North Carolina is the prosperous, growing state that it is because of principled leaders like Dick.My thoughts are with his wife Meredith, and his daughters Abigail and Anna. Anna continues her father's legacy through her leadership on the Board of Governors. This state will forever be indebted and grateful that Dick dedicated his life to public service, public education, and the state he loved so much.
UNC System President Emeritus Erskine Bowles called Spangler a "giant."
"Our State and our University have lost a giant - a leader like no other," Bowles said. "Fortunately for all of us the enormous good he did will live on. He was strong, forthright, thoughtful and caring. Throughout his life he never varied a degree from his true north in any decision he made or in any relationship he had. Every student who enters the University for generations to come will benefit from those deep values that guided each and every decision he made."