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Former NCSU chancelor now at Murdock Institute

KANNAPOLIS — Former N.C. State University chancellor James L. Oblinger has been named president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute.
He replaces Dr. Michael Luther, who stepped down in June after two years as leader of Murdock’s nonprofit research institute — the centerpiece of the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis.
“Jim Oblinger is exactly the type of president that DHMRI needs,” said Dr. Steven Leath, vice president for research of the University of North Carolina system.
Leath serves on the Murdock Research Institute board of directors and has overseen daily operations during the search for a new president.
Oblinger has worked since 2009 as a faculty member of the N.C. State Plants for Human Health Institute Research Campus. Prior to that, he served as chancelor, provost and dean at N.C. State in Raleigh.
He resigned his job as chancellor in June 2009 in the midst of controversy over the university’s employment and pay of Mary Easley, the wife of former governor Mike Easley, and a severance package he approved for another N.C. State official that came under scrutiny.
Research Campus officials praised Oblinger Tuesday and his career, they said in a press release, is “hallmarked by success developing organizations and programs that advance scientific discovery as well as public-private partnerships that create jobs and boost the state’s life science industry.”
Oblinger brings a background in food science and agriculture and 25 years of experience in administration and management to the Murdock Research Institute, the press release said. He is the author of more than 50 published research articles.
“Jim is experienced, thoughtful, and visionary. He has extensive experience managing and leading complex organizations. He understands science and how to build partnerships in the science world,” Leath said. “Just as important, he knows how to build bridges between DHMRI and the community, universities and other scientific organizations. I am certain he is the right person to lead DHMRI to great things.”
As president, the press release said, Oblinger will focus on furthering public and private partnerships that will continue to advance The Murdock Research Institute and the Research Campus.
“I am excited about becoming the president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute and working with all of the constituencies, on-campus and off-campus,” Oblinger said in the press release. “The unique public and private partnerships that exist here and those yet to come are only strengthened by the role that the DHMRI plays. As scientists push the frontiers of their disciplines, we will be there with scientific expertise and analytical capabilities that are, in some cases, uniquely available only through DHMRI. The work done here is good for people, good for the state, and good for global health.”

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