ECSU Interim Chancellor Elected to Permanent Status by UNC System

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Today, the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina system elected Elizabeth City State University’s Interim Chancellor Dr. Thomas Conway to permanent status.

According to the school’s website, “With the endorsement of the ECSU Board of Trustees, UNC Interim President Junius Gonzales placed Conway’s name in nomination today (Jan. 26) during a special meeting of the Board of Governors held in Chapel Hill.”

Conway, who had previously served as vice chancellor and chief of staff at Fayetteville State University, succeeds Stacey Franklin Jones, who stepped down from the post on December 31.

In recommending Conway to the Board of Governors, Gonzales said: “Thomas Conway is a proud product of the University of North Carolina system, and he has devoted his life’s work to it.” “Over the past four decades, he has distinguished himself as senior administrator on two other UNC campuses, and he brings to ECSU a deep understanding of the mission, purpose, and promise of UNC’s historically minority institutions,” Gonzales added.

“I am convinced that he is the right individual to lead ECSU for the long haul, and that belief has been enthusiastically affirmed by the ECSU Board of Trustees.  Dr. Conway’s knowledge of the region, extensive administrative experience, and sound judgment will be critical assets as we work together to ensure ECSU’s long-term success.  We are most fortunate to retain a proven leader of such talent, integrity, and commitment.”

Located in one of North Carolina’s most economically disadvantaged regions, ESCU has faced a series of enrollment and financial challenges. 

Over the past five years, headcount enrollment has declined by more than 50%, and state appropriations and tuition revenues have been reduced by nearly $10 million, or 21%. 

Those losses would have been greater without $3 million of short-term stabilization funding provided by the 2015 General Assembly. Contributing factors have included the implementation of tougher UNC minimum admissions standards, state budget cuts throughout the recession, declining tuition revenues, and reputational challenges stemming from key operational deficiencies.

Conway has served as vice chancellor and chief of staff at Fayetteville State since 2008. In that role, he has had primary responsibility for advancing university priorities and coordinating and implementing the strategic planning process.

Prior to joining Fayetteville State’s senior leadership team, Conway served as dean of undergraduate academic programs at NC State University (2005-08). In that capacity, he worked with faculty and administrators across all colleges and departments to enhance the quality of the academic experience for NC State undergraduate students.

During his 32-year tenure at NC State, Conway also served as vice provost for enrollment management and services (2002-05), associate vice provost for the Division of Undergraduate Affairs (1998-2002); and director of the First Year College (1998-2000). He earlier served as a counselor in NC State’s University Counseling Center, Trio Program director, director of the academic support program for student athletes, and director of recruiting and minority services for the College of Engineering. He also was a visiting lecturer in the NC State College of Education’s department of counselor education.

Conway holds an undergraduate degree in agricultural education (1971) and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling (1976) from NC A&T State University and earned a Ph.D. in counselor education from NC State in 1994.