In a release issued by the UNC system on Monday, Fennebresque said he felt he had shepherded the system through the most important task of his chairmanship:
“With the search completed, I believe now is the time for a fresh start for our University system and its 17 campuses, as well as for this Board of Governors. So today I am stepping down from the Board to make way for and encourage new leadership. Significant challenges lie ahead for the system as it continues to provide the unparalleled education our students deserve. I want to thank the Board of Governors, my family and friends, my law firm and my many supporters who have rallied around me throughout the difficult process of change and the great promise of opportunity for the University of North Carolina system.”
Readers of the Progressive Pulse may recall that Fennebresque had become a lightning rod of controversy since the ousting of system President Tom Ross in January.
More recently, former state senator Thom Goolsby went so far as to write to his fellow board members calling for Fennebresque’s resignation as chair.
“You should step aside before you do irreparable harm to the University System that we all love and in which the people of North Carolina have invested us with the responsibility of running.”
As for Ross, who will leave the post in January, he praised Fennebresque for his commitment to the university system:
“While John Fennebresque and I may have had our differences at times, he truly loves the University of North Carolina and has been a tireless, passionate advocate for it,” said UNC President Tom Ross. “He has served the UNC system with great dedication and commitment.”
Fennebresque’s seat on the board will remain vacant until the NC Senate elects a successor to serve out the remainder of his unexpired term. Current vice chair “Lou” Bissette, Jr. will assume the chairmanship in the interim.
Learn more about recent appointments to the Board of Governor’s here.