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Charlotte Businessman, Former UNC President C.D. Spangler Jr. Dies at 86

Harvard Business School
Spangler (right) with his wife Meredith.

Former UNC system president and Charlotte businessman C.D. Spangler Jr. died Sunday at the age of 86.

Spangler served as the president for the public university system for 11 years, from 1986 to 1997. A UNC System statement noted that Spangler fought to keep college tuition low, implemented university-wide minimum admissions requirements, and more than tripled funding for university research.

Current UNC System President Margaret Spellings called Spangler a “great North Carolinian” and a “giant of our state.”

“He believed in the power of education to change lives and transform a state, and he made those possibilities into reality through his life’s work,” Spellings said.

In a 2015 video for UNC Pembroke, Spangler said he had "one of the best jobs in the state of North Carolina" when he served as system president. He said the public university system is "the most important institution we have in the state."

"I cannot think of a better investment than investing in the students, the faculty and the campuses of our university," he added.

A native of Charlotte, Spangler was a billionaire and sole owner of National Gypsum — which according to Forbesis the largest private drywall producer in the country.

Prior to becoming UNC System president, Spangler served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Spangler also served on statewide academic boards such as the NC State Board of Education and the Governor’s Commission on Education and Economic Growth.

He created the C.D. Spangler Foundation, which has funded over 120 distinguished professorships.