Former UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt will become the first female president of the University of Southern California.
The appointment comes just months after Folt resigned her post at UNC-Chapel Hill following the removal of a controversial Confederate statue on campus. The former chancellor had announced plans to resign at the end of the spring term, but was forced to step down early. She left the school at the end of January.
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As one of her last acts as chancellor, Folt ordered a middle-of-the-night removal of remnants of the controversial Confederate monument known as "Silent Sam." The statue of the anonymous Confederate soldier was torn down last August by protesters who consider it racist.
In her resignation letter, Folt said she would remove the concrete base of the monument because it posed "a continuing threat both to the personal safety and well-being of our community and to our ability to provide a stable, productive educational environment."
But the swift action incensed board members who criticized Folt's decision to remove the statue overnight.
Board of Governor's Chairman Harry Smith called the removal a "draconian action" and said that excluded "critical stakeholders" from the decision.
Smith said the decision to move up Folt's resignation was "in the best interest of the institution."
In February, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kevin Guskiewicz was named to serve as UNC's interim Chancellor.
Folt will be USC's 12th president. She will be taking on a larger enrollment of 47,000 students at a school that's faced multiple recent controversies. USC was one of the schools named in the college admissions scandal that alleges athletic administrators took bribes to get students of wealthy parents admitted. Charges of sexual assault by a campus gynecologist led to her predecessor's resignation.
Folt is no stranger to dealing with controversy upon taking a job. She came to UNC when the university was under scrutiny for giving athletes credit for courses they never attended.
In a press release, USC Board of Trustees Chair Rick Caruso called Folt a "brilliant, principled leader" who would help lead the university "forward and upward."
"Ours was a global search, and we spoke to over a hundred diverse and world-class candidates," Caruso said. "Dr. Folt stood out from the very beginning as a courageous and compassionate person who always places the well-being of students, faculty, staff and patients at the heart of all she does.
Folt is set to take office July 1.