James Moeser is Chancellor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor of Music, and Senior Consultant for Special Initiatives at the UNC Institute for Arts and Humanities. As chancellor from 2000 to 2008, he articulated the vision that UNC should be America’s leading public university. In the academic year 2013-2014 he served as Interim Chancellor of the UNC School of the Arts.
At Carolina Moeser was a champion of academic freedom, defending the University from attacks against books chosen for first-year reading assignments in two successive years. In 2003, the Carolina Covenant, a program to provide a debt-free education to students from low income families, became a national model for improving access to higher education. The $2.4 Billion Carolina First Campaign, the largest private fund- raising drive by any university in the South, and the fifth largest in U. S. history, created 208 new endowed professorships, and 1,350 scholarships and fellowships.
The Carolina campus underwent a major transformation during his tenure, with over 6,000,000 new square feet of buildings in a $2.2 Billion construction program. He supported critical investments in scientific research to move UNC to the very top echelon of U. S. research universities. An early investment in genome research, for example, paved the way for UNC to become one of the major centers of cancer research in the world.
Carolina experienced a Renaissance of the arts during his administration. After the renovation of Memorial Hall, he created the Carolina Performing Arts program, which has transformed the cultural life of the entire region. He supported a new building for the Department of Music, the creation of the Kenan Music Scholars program for undergraduate music majors, and the renovation of Hill Hall Auditorium for the Department of Music.
His honors include the 2001 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Graduate School of the University of Texas at Austin; the 2007 American Council on Education’s Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award, a lifetime achievement honor that recognizes major advancements to diversity in higher education; election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007; and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Duke University in 2009.