WHEN CAROL L. FOLT was installed as Carolina’s 11th chancellor and first woman leader in October 2013, she said, “As America’s first public university, Carolina became the gold standard. The founders passed the baton, and the future is up to us. How can we fulfill this honorable charge in a way that is ever fresh and relevant?”
Folt – an internationally recognized scientist, award-winning teacher and accomplished administrator – has worked to fulfill that charge by championing Carolina as a great global public research university. Her priorities have included preserving and expanding the University’s academic excellence, access and affordability, and deep commitment to North Carolina.
Under Folt’s leadership, the University received nearly 36,000 applications for the Class of 2020, breaking the previous record for the 11th consecutive year. Carolina ranks among the nation’s top 10 universities in research dollar volume, and has become increasingly focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.
One of Folt’s top priorities is improving undergraduate retention rates – particularly for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students – while maintaining Carolina’s historic commitment to affordability and accessibility. Declaring that “Carolina can indeed be the leader in shaping the path for the great public university in America,” Folt leads the University in the national dialogue about higher education, has taken a strong position on protecting students from sexual assault, and initiated conversations about difficult topics.
Folt came to Carolina from Dartmouth College, where she was interim president in 2012-2013 and a faculty member. An Akron, Ohio, native, Folt holds a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology and a master’s degree in biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She received her doctorate in ecology from the University of California at Davis. Folt is married to David Peart, a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth, and they have two adult children, Tessa and Noah.