Muse, currently the president of Auburn University, made special note of the role ECU can play as an "effective catalyst for the economic growth and cultural enrichment" in the eastern region of the state.
He said his acceptance of the position was influenced by ECU's potential for growth and because of the passion that people in the region have for the institution. And, he said he was delighted with the sound foundation laid at ECU by Chancellor Richard Eakin, who will retire this year.
It was his first public appearance on the ECU campus after being named to the post by University of North Carolina President Molly Corbett Broad and confirmed by the UNC Board of Governors on Thursday. His tenure begins on Aug. 1.
His selection caps a nine-month search that began last April after Eakin, ECU's chancellor since 1987, announced his retirement plans.
Muse has been president of Auburn since 1992. It is the largest university in Alabama enrolling more than 22,000 students on the main campus in Auburn, and more than 5,300 at Auburn University in Montgomery. Auburn is a land-grant university with a total budget of $400 million.
In introducing the administrator to ECU faculty and staff, ECU Board of Trustees and search committee chairman Phillip Dixon, a Greenville attorney, talked about Muse's accomplishments in his leadership roles on other campuses.
During his presidency at Auburn, Muse led initiatives to enable more students to graduate within four years, helped develop high-visibility interdisciplinary research programs, and achieved an increase to the university's endowment from $50 million to $250 million. Auburn recently completed a $201 million capital campaign. He is the president of the Southeastern Conference, in which Auburn's athletic teams compete.
From 1984-92, Muse served as president of the University of Akron, the third-largest university in Ohio with a total enrollment of about 30,000 students. At Akron, he provided leadership for significant gains in the enhancement of academic programs, growth in minority enrollment, expansion of private fund raising, and increased recognition of the university.
"Bill Muse captures what a chancellor can be to the university and to the region," Dixon said.
In recommending Muse to the UNC Board of Governors, President Broad said: "Bill Muse brings to East Carolina University a wealth of high-level administrative experience accumulated in leading public university settings. Over the course of his career, he has consistently demonstrated strong leadership and strategic planning skills, a commitment to academic excellence, and a deep understanding of the special relationship between public institutions and the regions they were founded to serve."
A native of Mississippi, Muse received a B.S. degree in accounting from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., in 1960. He earned an M.B.A in 1961 and a Ph.D. in business administration in 1966, both from the University of Arkansas.
In 1964, Muse joined the faculty of the School of Industrial Management at Georgia Tech. In 1965, he moved to Ohio University where he served as chairman of the Department of Marketing and director of the Division of Research. In 1970, he was selected as the first dean of the College of Business at Appalachian State University and was responsible for organizing and developing the new college. Assuming this post at age 31, he was one of the youngest business school deans in the nation.
From 1973-79, Muse se
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