The chance to lead one of the "big three" among historically black universities wasn't something the 55-year-old president of Baltimore's Coppin State University was going to pass on.
Stanley F. Battle was elected by the UNC Board of Governors on Friday as the next chancellor of N.C. A&T . He starts his new job July 1 with a salary of $255,000.
Battle said he was drawn by the east Greensboro university's consistent record and reputation, the state's support for higher education and the opportunity to mesh with the greater Greensboro community.
He has one goal for A&T: "To make it the finest institution in the country," he said.
"I enjoy rising early and going to bed late," he said. "I'm going to use every second and every minute effectively and efficiently."
UNC system President Erskine Bowles said choosing Battle was not a tough decision. He said Battle was the type of leader he could believe in, trust in and work with.
"I liked his passion. I liked his seriousness. I liked the fact that he was straight to the point, no nonsense," Bowles said.
"I liked the fact he understood how difficult this job was going to be and that he was tough enough to do it. You can't sense any fear in this man. He's ready for this challenge."
Other qualities — such as his integrity, communication skills and down-to-earth nature — endeared him to others.
"The way he treats the custodian is the same way he'll treat the chairwoman of the board of trustees," said Arnita Floyd-Moody, A&T's student body president and a search committee member.
Battle was a unanimous choice among committee members, said search Chairwoman Velma Speight-Buford.
"Greensboro is fortunate," said Lloyd Hackley, who has been A&T's interim leader since May 1. "They're getting an outstanding chancellor." Battle has been president of Coppin State since March 2003. A man of faith, he said some students at Coppin State call him "Bishop Battle." He's also an avid runner and has a twin brother who shares his love of singing.
Battle said it was too early to start outlining his priorities for the university; he wants a chance to get to know the campus community. But he did emphasize communication with two key constituents: students and alumni.
"A great deal of time will be spent with the students," he told the university's trustees and top administrators during an A&T luncheon Friday. "If anyone has a problem with that, we need to reorder our steps because students are the most important reason why we're here."