Dr. Anne Ponder, Chancellor Emerita of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, is a consultant specializing in presidential transitions, college and university strategic planning, board development and coaching/mentoring new college presidents.
Anne has developed a unique portfolio of higher education experience, having worked in both the public and private college environments throughout her four decades in higher education.
Anne retired from UNC Asheville in 2014, having served for nine years as Chancellor, during some of the most tumultuous economic times of this era, particularly for public higher education. UNC Asheville, the designated liberal arts campus for the UNC system, is continually cited in all the major rankings for top-quality education, superb faculty, interdisciplinary learning, and rigorous academic programs, setting the pace for value in higher education. Under her leadership, UNC Asheville doubled the endowment, acquired additional property, built new buildings and became known as “Asheville’s university,” whose close and cordial collaboration with Asheville became a major driver of economic vitality in the region. In 2018, UNC Asheville honored Anne for her service to the university by re-naming Overlook Hall. Now Ponder Hall, this 300-bed student residence is just one of the many buildings added to campus during her stewardship of the largest building program in UNC Asheville’s history.
Previously, she served as president of Colby-Sawyer College for a decade. It was in this role that she created a four-page strategic plan and a model for campus planning that was published in Trusteeship Magazine, and is now widely emulated. During her presidency, Colby-Sawyer doubled both enrollment and the endowment, expanded curricular offerings, expanded the campus footprint and added new buildings. She also successfully completed the largest capital campaign in the college’s history.
Her previous experience includes leadership roles in information technology, interdisciplinary studies, undergraduate research and honors programs at Kenyon College, Guilford College and Elon University.
She served as president of the Southern University Conference, as president of the National Collegiate Honors Council (who named her a fellow in 2012), and wrote the chapter on strategic planning in the American Council on Education’s book Leading America’s Branch Campuses.
She was the first recipient of the Van Ummersen Presidential Leadership Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, in recognition of her demonstrated leadership and promotion of women’s opportunities in athletics. She was recognized by the governor of North Carolina with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, the state’s highest civilian honor. Anne earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.