West Virginia University administrator named UNCW chancellor

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Dr. Jose Sartarelli. Photo courtesy West Virginia University.
Dr. Jose Sartarelli. Photo courtesy West Virginia University.

UNC-Wilmington now has a permanent campus leader.

Dr. Jose V. “Zito” Sartarelli–current chief global officer and dean of West Virginia University’s (WVU’s) College of Business and Economics–was elected to be the university’s next chancellor during a UNC Board of Governors meeting today at East Carolina University in Greenville, according to UNCW officials.

The board of governors oversees the 17-campus University of North Carolina system.

During the meeting, UNC System President Tom Ross recommended Sartarelli–one of three finalists–as the top choice for the job.

“Zito Sartarelli brings to the role of chancellor a rare combination of corporate and academic leadership experience, strategic thinking and a truly global perspective. In senior positions with major international companies and as an academic administrator, he has proven himself to be resourceful, collaborative leader who raises the bar, expects nothing short of excellence and leads by example,” Ross said. “He also has earned a reputation for great integrity, sound judgment and a strong commitment to student success and community engagement. I am convinced that Zito Sartarelli has the expertise, skills, experience and vision needed to be a truly great chancellor for UNC-Wilmington.”

The chancellor-elect will start work at UNCW on July 1, taking the place of interim leader Dr. William Sederburg. Sederburg was hired to step in last June to temporarily fill the vacancy left by Gary Miller, who resigned last spring to take a job as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Sederburg, a former Michigan state senator and retired college president, who resides full-time in Asheville, has said from the onset that he did not want to be considered for the permanent position.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome Dr. Sartarelli as the chancellor-elect of UNCW,” Sederburg said. “Dr. Sartarelli has an outstanding record in leadership positions overseeing the development and success of numerous programs at West Virginia University. Zito’s energy and professional background are an ideal fit for the university, particularly during this time of great growth and momentum.

“The campus community is fortunate to gain a leader with Dr. Sartarelli’s wealth of knowledge, passion for higher education and commitment to providing students with global opportunities to learn and flourish.”

Sartarelli has served as the Milan Puskar Dean of the College of Business and Economics at WVU since 2010 and was named the university’s first chief global officer in 2013. As dean, he leads a college with an enrollment of more than 2,700 students that has been ranked by Businessweek magazine as one of the top 100 undergraduate business programs in the country.

According to a release from UNCW, Sartarelli is “credited with improving the academic profile of the college’s students, faculty and staff, while setting all-time records in enrollment and fundraising.”

Soon after naming Sederburg as interim chancellor. the university’s board of trustees began the monthslong process of selecting a permanent replacement.

In September, the board assembled a 19-member search committee–comprised of UNCW faculty, staff and students, as well as community leaders and trustees–to help guide the selection process. That process also involved multiple forums with the community, staff and students.

After reviewing a pool of 54 applicants, the board of trustees recently sent a list of three finalists, which included Sartarelli, to the board of governors.

“This was a broad-based search process that involved the UNCW campus and community on many levels,” Michael Shivar, UNCW Board of Trustee Chair and Co-Chair of the Chancellor Search Committee, said. “Given UNCW’s outstanding reputation, the search committee had the opportunity to meet many candidates with leadership abilities, and Dr. Sartarelli impressed all of us. I have no doubt that he will guide UNCW toward a new level of success that will benefit the entire region.”

A native of Brazil, Sartarelli received a bachelor of business administration in marketing from the São Paulo School of Business Administration in 1973. He then attended Michigan State University as a Fulbright Scholar, earning an MBA in marketing and a doctorate in business administration.

Before transitioning into higher education, Sartarelli spent three decades in marketing and management for the international pharmaceutical industry.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or hilary.s@hometownwilmington.com.