James Martin II announced as new chancellor for NC A&T after UNC BOG unanimous vote

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Friday, June 21, 2024
New chancellor chosen to lead NC A&T, nation's largest HBCU
James Martin II is the new chancellor of NC A&T State University in Greensboro.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), the country's largest historically Black university (HBCU), has a new chancellor after nearly nine months of searching.

Friday, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors unanimously voted to name James Martin II as the university's next chancellor. The chancellor search was initially prompted in September when Chancellor Harold L. Martin announced his retirement. His retirement came after 15 years serving as North Carolina A&T chancellor.

Martin is the vice chancellor of STEM research and innovation at the University of Pittsburgh, where he previously served as dean of the university's engineering school.

Martin, who was UNC System President Peter Hans' nominee, has worked primarily in civil engineering, a profession Hans said will help Martin with "leading a public institution through an unquiet era."

"James Martin is the right leader to engineer North Carolina A&T's continuing rise," Hans said. "He believes in what he calls 'impatient optimism,' a productive sense of possibility in what can be achieved when people think across disciplines, feel a sense of shared purpose, and commit to an ambitious vision. It's exactly the kind of mindset that will help affirm the university's status as one of the nation's best research institutions and engines of social mobility."

Martin is an accomplished civil engineer who has led engineering and STEM initiatives at three large public research universities, a news release on his announcement states.

"North Carolina A&T is a recognized national leader in harnessing technology and access to learning to unlock human potential," Martin said. "That's one of many reasons why it's so exciting to have been chosen to lead the university at a moment when America is in particular need of the very things that North Carolina A&T does best. Our students, faculty, staff and alumni are on an incredible ascent, having accomplished so much in recent years. I look forward to joining them on that journey and ensuring that we continue to build on A&T's exceptional momentum as we set ambitious new sights for the months and years ahead."

Among the many challenges chancellors may face, Hans said maintaining "public confidence in an era of rising skepticism and polarization" would be one task for Martin to tackle.

North Carolina A&T has more than 13,000 students. The university is located in Greensboro.

"We were fortunate in this national search to draw a very competitive field of applicants and nominees from across the country. It was gratifying to see a certain standard of quality in leadership throughout the field," said Search Advisory Committee Chair Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, former chair of the A&T Board of Trustees. "From the beginning, Dr. Martin emerged as a leading candidate in his background, preparation and the vision he articulated for A&T. He will be an outstanding leader for our university."

Friday's vote marks the end of another chancellor search in the state's public university system within the last month.

A few weeks ago, the university system board wrapped up chancellor searches for Winston-Salem State University and North Carolina Central University - two other HBCUs located in Winston-Salem and Durham, respectively.

The search process is still ongoing for the state's flagship campus, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, after former Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz left earlier this year to become Michigan State University's president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report