Mark Lanier Announces Plans to Retire in December 2023

Thursday, December 08, 2022

UNCW’s Mark Lanier has announced his plan to retire in December 2023, closing out a campus leadership career that began 31 years ago. Lanier, assistant to the chancellor and assistant secretary to the UNCW Board of Trustees, has served six chancellors. 

“Mark Lanier has cared deeply about UNCW, our students and our community for more than three decades. He has quietly been a part of many of the university’s outstanding achievements over many years,” Chancellor Aswani K. Volety said. “Like many UNCW leaders before me, I value his extensive knowledge about the university’s history; his strong connections to business, government and education leaders statewide; and his unwavering confidence in UNCW’s potential for continued success.” 

As UNCW’s legislative liaison, Lanier has played an instrumental role in increasing UNCW’s annual recurring state appropriation from $31 million (FY1991) to $181 million (FY2022). On a per-student basis, UNCW’s state appropriation increased from $4,837 (FY1991) to $11,338 (FY2022). Lanier has also helped secure more than $1 billion in funding to construct and enhance dozens of buildings at UNCW, including the Center for Marine Science, the Shellfish Hatchery, Leutze Hall, the Education Building, McNeill Hall, the Teaching Laboratory Building, the rebuilding of Dobo Hall following Hurricane Florence, and the current Randall Library renovation and expansion.  

He also served as the founding chair of the New Hanover County Partnership for Children (Smart Start), helped develop UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, assisted with the creation of the film studies and creative writing programs at UNCW, advocated for growth of the NC film industry, and helped with the approval process for the university’s first doctoral degree, its first engineering degree and many other programs. Recently, Lanier co-chaired the successful effort by UNCW to obtain the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation from the national Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, announced in November 2022. UNCW is one of only 80 universities to earn the designation. 

Lanier came to UNCW in 1991 from Hampden-Sydney College, where he was an assistant to the president and a lecturer in political science. Previously, while in graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill, he was offered the opportunity to join then-UNC System President C.D. Spangler’s staff, where he worked closely with the UNC Board of Governors. He said he recognized UNCW’s “phenomenal potential” when he toured the university as a part of President Spangler’s staff, and he was eager to return to Wilmington as part of his mentor James Leutze’s leadership team. 

“Under various titles, yet always including some version of assistant to the chancellor and assistant secretary for the Board of Trustees, I have focused on governmental relations, board affairs, economic development and the ever-changing ‘other duties as assigned,’” Lanier said with a smile. “I also have had responsibilities over time in the areas of public and media relations, strategic planning, budgeting, endowment management, enrollment management and student success, a primary liaison to the UNC System Office, unofficial university ombudsman and historian.” 

Lanier, known among colleagues for his photographic memory of information contained in stacks and stacks of historic records in his office, looks forward to sharing his expertise with others before his departure. By announcing his plans a year in advance, Lanier hopes to work with his successors, once named, to smooth the transition for Chancellor Volety and the UNCW leadership team.

Read more about Mark Lanier's many accomplishments on the Board of Trustees site.

Mark Lanier