Dr. Aswani Volety to be next chancellor of UNCW

Hannah Markov, Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Aswani K. Volety has been elected to be UNCW’s seventh chancellor and tenth leader overall. He was nominated by UNC System President Peter Hans during a Board of Governors meeting on May 26, 2022 after a rigorous nationwide search process that involved input from students, staff, faculty and alumni, as well as the Board of Trustees. Volety previously served as the Dean for UNCW’s College of Arts and Sciences from 2014-2019, and as the Executive Director of the Center for Marine Science from 2018-2019. He currently serves as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Elon University.

Dr. Volety is a first-generation college graduate who moved from India to the United States at 23 years of age. According to the statement released by UNCW on May 26, as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Executive Director of the Center for Marine Sciences Volety expanded learning opportunities and programs and “…secured a $5 million gift from Quality Chemical Laboratories in 2018, the largest outright philanthropic commitment by a corporate donor in UNCW’s history at the time.”

“We truly believe that this is a unifying moment for our campus community,” Gidget Kidd, Chair of the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor Search Committee, said at the meeting on May 26. “There has been an unprecedented level of consensus, collegiality, and unanimity during every step of the search. The search committee and the trustees have been guided throughout this process by their commitment to UNCW and its high standards.”

Chancellor-elect Aswani Volety speaks to the UNCW community in a ceremony on campus on May 26. Volety previously served as the Dean for UNCW’s College of Arts and Sciences from 2014-2019, and as the Executive Director of the Center for Marine Science from 2018-2019. (Kimberly Como)

Kidd added that Volety’s emphasis and commitment to the student experience are what inspired the Chancellor Search Committee’s endorsement of him.

“Dr. Volety impressed the committee with his understanding of the complex challenges facing universities today. He has the experience and vision to guide UNCW into its next 75 years of success,” Kidd said.

Volety’s expertise is in the field of marine biology, particularly in the studies of shellfish diseases, physiology, immunopathology, toxicology and restoration of shellfish habitats. He received a Doctorate in Marine Science from the College of William & Mary, as well as a master’s degree in Zoology and a Bachelor of Science from Andhra University in India. Before coming to UNCW, Volety worked for Florida Gulf Coast University for 15 years, first as a professor of marine science and Director of Vester Marine Field Station, and then as interim dean for the College of Arts & Sciences.

Volety will begin his term as chancellor on July 1, the day following Chancellor Sartarelli’s retirement. In his speech on May 26, he mentioned that one of his top priorities is to make sure that the courses offered directly correlate with the careers available following graduation.

“For the Seahawk community, it’s all about the students,” Volety said in his remarks. “I know from my previous experience at UNCW that the faculty and staff are dedicated to teaching, mentoring, research, and service, and I’m eager to support and cultivate those efforts moving forward. I am humbled to be able to give back to a university that has offered me so much and excited to lead UNCW’s future successes.”