James Moeser
Credit: KPO Photography

“I like to stay active,” said UNC Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser, who begins his role as acting director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, effective July 1. “I have a lot of energy and a lot of interests… And my roots are in the faculty.”

Moeser says he is thrilled to serve in the coming year at the IAH, which serves to recruit and develop faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences through fellowships and programming.

“The faculty is at the heart of what we are about as a university” he said. “The administration exists to facilitate the life and work of the faculty and a student’s learning.”

But in many ways, Moeser never left the IAH. After stepping down as chancellor in 2007, Moeser chose to have his office at Hyde Hall instead of at Hill Hall or Kenan Music Building, where the Music Department resides.

“It was because of the very nature of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities,” Moeser explained in choosing to work at the building that houses the IAH. “I wanted to have a broader interaction with faculty and I knew this was the place where that would happen. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am so glad I was welcome here.”

After serving as university chancellor, Moeser looked forward to teaching. His first class after administrating for many years was the first-year seminar:  “Music and Culture: Understanding the World through Music.”

The first fall semester was always the most exciting. Students were” very open and very receptive. We did a lot of orientation to the world and the university.” He taught the class with Emil Kang, current executive and artistic director of the Carolina Performing Arts Center.

He was set to retire June 30. The request to work another year as acting director came quickly. “I said yes quickly,” Moeser explained. “I needed to talk with Mark [Katz] and I needed to talk with my wife, Susan.”

“People ask me if I will revive my performance,” said Moeser, who enjoyed a career as a concert organist. “I ultimately had to give that up when I rose through the ranks administratively… I love making music. This is one of the things I miss about my former career.”

How does Moeser take a break? Long walks with his wife across campus, serving on the search committee at his church, Chapel of the Cross. He is on the board of the Carolina Performing Arts. He is the major gifts chair for the Morehead Planetarium. He is currently reading Carolina History Professor Emeritus Bill Leuchtenberg’s The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton.

“I believe the best way–as one ages–not to lose one’s mind is to use it.”

For more on James Moeser, listen to the podcast below.

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