CHAPEL HILL, NC - UNC System Interim President Bill Roper issued the following statement on the passing of former UNC System Senior Vice President Ray Dawson, who died Sunday at the age of 91:
“There a few individuals who can claim a bigger influence on the current strength of the UNC System than Ray Dawson.
A World War II veteran originally from Arkansas, Dawson became a naturalized Tar Heel. He quickly rose up the ranks at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he obtained his Ph.D. in political science. Later, he joined the university’s faculty and would eventually serve as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1972, he was named by the Board of Governors, at the request of President Bill Friday, as the vice president of Academic Affairs, later becoming the first senior vice president of the System. For decades, he worked closely alongside Presidents Friday and C.D. Spangler, Jr., to guide the growth and development of the University. His contributions helped to shape the modern governance of the multi-campus System.
Mr. Dawson was a titan of higher education in North Carolina and is remembered fondly as a gentleman and a true professional. Our thoughts go out to his two daughters and his entire family as we honor and salute him.”