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Dr. James R. Leutze

Interim Executive Director - NC Progress Board - February 1, 2004

Dr. James R. Leutze assumed the chancellorship of The University of North Carolina at Wilmington in July, 1990. He is the fifth chief administrator of the institution since its founding in 1947. With a student enrollment of 9,800, UNC Wilmington is a comprehensive university specializing in undergraduate education. Located in the historic port city of Wilmington, UNCW is home to a nationally-ranked program in marine science research and is among the top ten public southern universities according to US News and World Report.

As a professor at Chapel Hill, he received three awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching, the last was the prestigious Grey Professorship. He also received national awards for two of his four books. In the area of service he chaired the Curriculum in Peace, War and Defense; on the faculty senate he chaired the Minority and Disadvantaged Committee; he also held several gubernatorial appointments. His career at Chapel Hill was capped by his being named as a permanent chaired professor - the highest academic rank.

Prior to coming to UNCW he served as president of Hampden Sydney College in Virginia. While there he helped significantly increase the endowment, raise academic standards and complete the historical college's first strategic plan.

In an effort to bring subjects of international interest to N. C. Public TV, he worked to create Globe Watch, an international series that aired for 14 years. After coming to UNCW he used the television medium to bring attention to environmental and water quality issues. The first program, River Run: Down the Cape Fear to the Sea, won national awards, but more importantly brought legislative attention to the plight of North Carolina's rivers. The third program, Currents of Hope: Reclaiming the Neuse River, aired in the spring of 1999, and there are signs that it may encourage more cooperation in cleaning up the Neuse River. All of his programs have sought to extend the educational reach of The University of North Carolina. Consequently all programs come with study guides for public school teachers and are furnished free to libraries across the state.

Under his dynamic leadership, Chancellor Leutze spearheaded the improvement of the institution's academic quality so that today it ranks fourth in the UNC system in Freshman SAT averages, behind Chapel Hill, North Carolina State and Asheville. The university's endowment has more than tripled and now ranks sixth in the system. The SAT scores have increased to 1086 and the research funding increased more than 1,000 percent. Today in exit polls, 98 percent of UNCW students indicate that they would choose UNCW again if they were entering college. Dr. Leutze's goal is to have UNCW recognized as the best medium-sized public undergraduate institution in the southeastern United States.

He is now one of the longest serving chancellors in the UNC system and is one of only two who has also served in the teaching ranks for the State of North Carolina. Between teaching and administration, he has devoted 28 years to higher education in the North Carolina system.