University Board Elects New Leaders

May 24, 2018

Harry Smith, center, was elected as the new UNC Board of Governors chairman.
Credit Lisa Philip / WUNC

The panel that oversees North Carolina's public universities is changing leadership.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors on Thursday elected Greenville businessman Harry Smith as chairman.

Smith will replace Asheville attorney W. Louis Bissette Jr., who headed the board for almost three years.

Smith is a graduate of East Carolina University, a member of the school's athletic booster club and a notable contributor to Republican politicians.

Last month the former finance director of N.C. Central University accused Smith of steering a university contract towards The Preiss Company.

Fellow board member Darrell Allison was also named in the employee's lawsuit. The contract was for a public private partnership to build and manage a housing complex on N.C. Central's campus.

Both members deny the allegations.

The panel also elected Randy Ramsey as its vice chair and Pearl Burris-Floyd as secretary.

Ramsey is a former North Carolina State University trustee and founder of Jarrett Bay Boatworks, a Beaufort company that makes and repairs sport fishing boats. Burris-Floyd is a former state legislator from Gaston County who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill.