CHAPEL HILL, NC – The University of North Carolina Board of Governors announced today that UNC Health Care CEO and Dean of the UNC School of Medicine Dr. William L. Roper has been named interim president of the UNC System, effective January 1, 2019. Dr. Roper also serves as vice-chancellor for Medical Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Bill Roper is a terrific leader who has spent decades working on the issues that matter most to North Carolinians,” said UNC Board of Governors Chair Harry Smith. “He has run an extremely complex organization. His strong leadership and a sense of public purpose has allowed his organization to thrive amidst a challenging environment. The Board of Governors is grateful for his willingness to step up and lead.”
From 1997 until 2004, Dr. Roper served as dean of the School of Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before joining the university in 1997, he served as senior vice president of Prudential Health Care. Dr. Roper was also previously director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a senior member of White House staff, and an administrator in the Health Care Financing Administration (responsible for Medicare and Medicaid). Dr. Roper held leadership positions in the White House for both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Dr. Roper will assume the role of current UNC System President Margaret Spellings, who recently announced her resignation effective March 1, 2019.
“I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have taking over the helm than Bill Roper,” said Margaret Spellings, UNC System president. “Bill is a friend and colleague with a proven track record of success leading our state and nation’s most important public institutions, and I’m confident he’ll embrace and build on the successes on the system’s recent efforts to improve accountability, affordability, and graduation rates that we’ve seen across our 17 institutions.”
Under Dr. Roper’s leadership, UNC Health Care expanded into a statewide system with more than a dozen hospitals, more than 30,000 employees, and nearly $5 billion in annual revenue.
“I am honored and humbled by Chair Smith and the Board of Governors’ support and confidence in asking me to serve as interim president of the UNC System,” said Dr. Roper, “I look forward to working closely with the chancellors, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to advance the mission and reputation of the UNC System in service to the people of North Carolina. I am appreciative of the great work President Spellings has done for our university system and for her support of me. I look forward to working with her as I transition into this new role.”
Dr. Roper received his MD from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and his MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Colorado Medical Center. Dr. Roper is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine). Last year, he was named to Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare. Later this month, Dr. Roper is expected to receive the North Carolina Award for Public Service, the state’s highest civilian honor, from the governor.
Dr. Roper and his wife, pediatric oncologist Dr. Maryann Roper, reside in Chapel Hill. They have one son, Will.