The State Board of Community Colleges elected a new president Tuesday to serve as the ninth president of the North Carolina Community College System.
Peter Hans’ selection was announced at a press conference attended by Gov. Roy Cooper, as well as Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).
Hans offered a few remarks at the press conference announcing his new role as system president saying, “We have the state’s most impressive leaders here today talking about the pivotal roles of community colleges in our state’s proud past and bright future. In many ways the stars are aligned for action. We have a strong bipartisan commitment to community colleges.”
Moore, who attended undergraduate university with Hans, had a few words to say as well.
“Peter and I went to Carolina together,” Moore said. “He was an exceptional student, the kind of guy you wanted to study with for a good grade. Peter shares the General Assembly’s priority of keeping our higher education systems on the cutting edge of the new economy. Community colleges are the tip of the spear in our commitment to a strong business climate, and they have chosen a great leader.
“Growing the economy through a strong business climate lets us not only invest in an exceptional learning environment for students, but attract the jobs of tomorrow to offer a high quality of life in North Carolina for generations to come. Our state is attracting advanced careers and it’s critical we offer students and businesses the workforce training and certifications they need to be successful in North Carolina.”
The search for a new president lasted six months and more than 30 candidates were reviewed for the position.
The transition committee to seek out a new president was composed of state board members and community college presidents.
The committee interviewed six candidates to take to the full board for selection.
“At the beginning of this search, we said we wanted someone with an understanding and appreciation of the Community College System – a creative thinker capable of working with a variety of constituencies,” NC Community Colleges Board Chair Scott Shook said. “Peter Hans is that person. Over the past 25 years, he has built an impressive resume of professional experience and public service. Whether advising elected officials on critical issues or helping businesses successfully navigate public policy debates, he has earned a reputation as a thoughtful and effective leader.”
Since 2016, Hans has served as an advisor to University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings on education policy issues including technology, health care, strategic planning and K-12 education.
Hans spent 18 years serving between North Carolina’s two governing boards for higher education.
Hans was first elected to the board by the state House of Representatives in 1997 for a six-year term on the State Board of Community Colleges where he served as vice chair of the board and chair of the Policy Committee.
The state Senate then elected Hans to the UNC Board of Governors in 2003, 2007 and 2011, and he led that board as chair from 2012-2014.
Hans has served as policy advisor to several Congressmen during their time in office and during campaigns.
Hans grew up in North Carolina and obtained an undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Liberal Arts from Harvard University.
Hans will earn an annual salary of $275,000.
The NC Community College System, founded in 1963, includes 58 colleges across the state providing instruction to about 700,000 students, making it the third-largest system of higher education in the United States.