Nancy J. Cable Named Chancellor of UNC Asheville


The Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System has elected Dr. Nancy J. Cable as the new chancellor of UNC Asheville during a special session of the Board held today. The election came following UNC System President Margaret Spellings’ nomination of Cable during the session. Dr. Cable will assume her new duties on August 15.

“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Cable to UNC Asheville and our UNC System,” said President Spellings. “Dr. Cable will bring a nationally-recognized, highly-regarded and prestigious body of work in higher education to lead a university that also boasts these same qualities, so this choice could not be more fitting.”

Cable is currently president of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and has served as vice president at the University of Virginia and at Davidson College.

Cable was selected by Spellings from among three final candidates for the position chosen by a 22-person search committee consisting of UNC Asheville trustees, faculty, staff and students, members of the UNC Board of Governors, and community members.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Cable join the Bulldog family,” said Kennon Briggs, who co-chaired the search committee and also chairs UNC Asheville’s Board of Trustees. “Nancy Cable brings to the university a depth and breadth of experience in leadership roles at liberal arts institutions, in generating external resources for the enhancement of the university, and in facilitating the implementation of an ambitious strategic plan. We look forward to her many years of leading this stellar institution and continuing to partner with the board, faculty, staff, students and especially the community.”

Cable will become UNC Asheville’s eighth chancellor, succeeding the university’s seventh chancellor, Mary K. Grant, who departed UNC Asheville to serve as President of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston. Dr. Joe Urgo, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, has served as interim chancellor since December 22, 2017.

“I am delighted--and honored--to be chosen as the next Chancellor of UNC Asheville at this point in its distinguished history,” Cable said. “UNC Asheville is a true gem of an academic liberal arts and sciences institution within an exceptional UNC system of campuses, and I am deeply grateful to the faculty, staff, students, alumni and trustees who served with such dedication throughout the search process. What a joy it will be to join the University and the Asheville community!”

About Nancy J. Cable, Ph.D.

Nancy J. Cable will become UNC Asheville’s eighth permanent chancellor on August 15, 2018, after having served as president of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations since October 2012. For over 65 years, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have provided philanthropic support for American higher education, medicine and health care, interfaith leadership and religious pluralism, public educational media, environmental stewardship, and palliative care.

A nationally recognized leader in higher education, educational access, financial aid and affordability, and liberal arts and sciences curricula, Dr. Cable served as Dean at Denison University from 1977-1986, Guilford College from 1986-1991, and Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Davidson College from 1991-2005. Together with Davidson trustees, faculty, staff, and student leaders, she helped to lead efforts to advance selectivity, diversity, financial capacity, and to implement a strategic plan that advanced Davidson College’s standing as one of the strongest liberal arts colleges in the U.S. From 2005-2009, she served as Vice President for Development in the College of Engineering at the University of Virginia and later with UVA’s Semester at Sea Program. Following three years of service as Bates College’s Vice President, the Bates College Board of Trustees elected Dr. Cable as Interim President, a position that allowed her to help lead college wide efforts on governance, faculty and curricular issues, and matters of diversity and inclusion.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she earned her B.A. from Marietta College, a M.Ed. from the University of Vermont, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. She also completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Leadership.

Dr. Cable is one of the charter founders of the University of Virginia Semester at Sea Desmond Tutu Program in Global Understanding and the CY Tung Scholars program on US-China Relations. She was named a Fulbright Senior Specialist and has consulted with the Director of the Fulbright Center in Hong Kong on the development of the liberal arts curricula within the evolving Chinese higher education system.

Her professional service has included membership on many boards of trustees for schools and colleges, including Marietta College, The College Board Task Force on Equity in Higher Education, The Council of Independent Colleges, the Maine Public Broadcasting System, the Jacksonville Civic Council, the WJCT Public Radio and Television in Jacksonville, the National Center for Family Philanthropy, and The Asheville School. From 2013-2017, she served as Chair of the Better Angels Society Board of Directors, which advises and supports Ken Burns’ work as America’s leading documentarian of long form historical documentaries. In January 2017, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Trust for the Humanities in Washington D.C.

About The University of North Carolina System

The University of North Carolina System enrolls more than 230,000 students at 17 institutions including all 16 of the state’s public universities, as well as the nation’s first public residential high school for academically gifted students, N.C. School of Science and Mathematics. The UNC System is among the strongest and most diverse higher education systems in the nation, with over $1.5 billion in research expenditures, a wide array of HBCUs, liberal arts institutions, comprehensive universities, and R-1 research institutions. Its institutions support two medical schools and a teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, 11 nursing programs, 15 schools of education, five schools of engineering, and a renowned arts conservatory. The North Carolina Arboretum, UNC Press, and the UNC Center for Public Television, with its 12-station broadcast network, are also all UNC System affiliate organizations.

About UNC Asheville

UNC Asheville is the designated liberal arts institution for the UNC system, offering students an intellectually rigorous education that builds critical thinking and workforce skills to last a lifetime. Enrolling about 3,700 students and offering more than 30 undergraduate majors and a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree, UNC Asheville encourages students to take part in a nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program and participate in interdisciplinary learning that extends beyond campus into the vibrant City of Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.  For more information, visit