UNC-Chapel Hill is saying goodbye to its second-in-command, but he won’t be going far.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin announced Tuesday that he would be retiring from South Building to rejoin the faculty in UNC’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy. He will continue his administration job until a new provost is named, according to the university. 

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz says the school plans to begin its replacement search next month and hopes to have a new hire by next fall.

“Bob goes the extra mile in everything he does and is routinely the first person in South Building and the last one to leave each day,” Guskiewicz said in a press statement. “I am grateful for his steadfast support and passion for Carolina’s mission to serve our state, nation, and the world.”

Blouin has been heavily involved with the university’s coronavirus planning this school year. He led the Carolina Together Roadmap Committee for the fall and spring semesters. After in-person instruction was canceled for the 2020 fall semester within a week of the first class, Blouin said at the time that he didn’t “apologize for trying.” The following semester the school implemented a more rigorous testing procedure.

Aside from his recent spotlight thanks to COVID, Blouin helped direct the university’s strategic planning and fundraising campaign “Carolina Next” and proposed the creation of the School of Data Science and Society, which the Board of Trustees endorsed in March 2020.

Blouin was previously dean of Eshelman for 14 years, during which it was named the best pharmacy school in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Before joining UNC, Blouin was a faculty member and administrator at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy for 25 years. 

Blouin was named UNC’s executive vice chancellor and provost in 2017, three days after James W. Dean Jr. stepped down from his four-year run as provost. Dean went on to become chancellor at the University of New Hampshire.

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