Today, Dr. Sharon L. Gaber begins her term as UNC Charlotte’s fifth chancellor. She is the second woman to lead the institution (after founder Bonnie Cone) and the first woman to serve as chancellor.
Gaber’s appointment was long awaited, with the search process beginning in late August 2019 when the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees appointed a 16 member search committee led by Michael Wilson (‘93). The Committee submitted 65 names to the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees and three candidates came to campus for interviews. Two names were sent to UNC System Interim President Bill Roper who submitted Gaber as the final candidate for the Board of Governors’ approval.
“Dr. Gaber was a top candidate of the search committee throughout the process and was the top choice of the faculty panel who interviewed the finalists when they visited the UNC Charlotte campus,” said Faculty Council President Dr. Joel Avrin, who participated in the interviews.
Gaber holds a bachelor's degree from Occidental College, a master's degree from University of Southern California and a doctoral degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University. Before her five years as president of the University of Toledo, she spent six years as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas and also served as interim provost at Auburn and as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“Given her experience and accomplishments as president of the University of Toledo and her research background in urban planning, Dr. Sharon Gaber is an ideal fit for chancellor at UNC Charlotte, the only urban research university in the UNC System,” said Avrin.
“Her proven track record of strengthening faculty research, improving student success, increasing fundraising, and enhancing relations with policy makers stood out among all the candidates. Additionally, Dr. Gaber indicated to us that she is student focused and enjoys talking to students on campus (in fact the youngest of her three children is currently a college student). Needless to say, I very much look forward to working with her.”
Gaber will replace former chancellor Philip Dubois (2005-2020), who oversaw the construction of the Student Union, the addition of the light rail and the development of a data science school, among many other achievements. Provost Lorden served as interim chancellor following Dubois’ retirement and before Gaber’s inauguration.
Gaber also succeeds chancellors Dean Colvard, E.K. Fretwell and James Woodward.
"As an urban planner and lifelong educator, I was impressed with UNC Charlotte’s outstanding reputation in academics, its growing research capabilities and an incredible campus with a vibrant and diverse student population," said Gaber.
Gaber comes to UNC Charlotte at an unprecedented time in higher education as universities decide how to proceed in the fall during the coronavirus pandemic. She will also be charged with continuing remembrance and security efforts after the shooting on April 30, 2019 and overseeing UNC Charlotte’s continuous enrollment and campus growth.
“As I begin my time here at UNC Charlotte, I pledge to you that I will do everything in my power to lead responsibly through these uncertain times, to support and strengthen our academic enterprise, to ensure a great college experience for our students and to always place the highest priority on the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff,” said Gaber in a video posted by UNC Charlotte.
“I’m also committed to evaluating our system’s policies and practices to ensure that our University is fostering an inclusive environment that is free from systemic racist barriers.”