Chemist Wins Top Job At UNC | May 19, 2008 Issue - Vol. 86 Issue 20 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 20 | p. 12 | News of The Week
Issue Date: May 19, 2008

Chemist Wins Top Job At UNC

Holden Thorp will be Chapel Hill's 10th chancellor
Department: Education
Thorp
Credit: Steve Exum
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Thorp
Credit: Steve Exum

H. Holden Thorp, chemistry professor and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has been elected as that university's next chancellor. He will assume his new position on July 1.

Thorp, 43, has quickly ascended the administrative ranks at UNC Chapel Hill. In 2005, he was named chair of the chemistry department. Two years later, he became dean of the College of Arts & Sciences after a national search. After only a year in that position, he prepares to step into the top job on campus.

"I'm having a hard time holding down a job," Thorp jokes. "I would have loved to have had more time as dean, but this is when we were having a chancellor search. Now I'm hoping we won't have another chancellor search for a really long time."

His chemistry colleagues applaud his election as chancellor. "Holden Thorp has the vision, energy, intellect, and compassion to be an outstanding leader of our university," says Michael T. Crimmins, chemistry department chair. "We are excited about having a chancellor who understands the importance of science in the 21st century and its potential economic impact on the university and the state."

A native of Fayetteville, N.C., Thorp has a long history with the university, dating back to his undergraduate years. He graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He then earned a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1989 from California Institute of Technology, where he worked with Harry B. Gray. After postdoctoral work at Yale and a short stint as an assistant professor of chemistry at North Carolina State University, Thorp returned to UNC Chapel Hill as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1993. His research has focused on biological applications of transition-metal electrochemistry.

Thorp is the fifth former member of Gray's group to have become a university chancellor or president. "I knew Holden was going places, but his rise to the top has been even faster than I thought it would be," Gray says. "He has a wonderful sense of humor, which he will need as chancellor, and his imagination knows no bounds."

 
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