Durham County

Ex-Carrboro alderman Herrera joins two alumni as new N.C. Central trustees

The statue of N.C. Central University founder Dr. James E. Shepard is pictured in front of the school’s Hoey Administration Building.
The statue of N.C. Central University founder Dr. James E. Shepard is pictured in front of the school’s Hoey Administration Building. N.C. Central University

Self-Help Credit Union executive and former Carrboro Alderman John Herrera heads a slate of three new trustees at N.C. Central University.

Joining him as new appointees to the board are chemical industry executive Kevin Holloway and retired banker Isaiah Tidwell. Holloway and Tidwell are NCCU alumni, while Herrera has degrees from the University of Delaware and N.C. State University.

Along with those new appointments, the UNC system’s Board of Governors also gave second terms to incumbent NCCU trustees Allyson Siegel and Kenneth Tindall.

The choices capped a behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by NCCU trustees that tried to size up the sort of expertise the campus board needs, figure out who might provide it and convince system leaders on both counts.

Ultimately, with system leaders “we had a meeting of the minds on what’s needed for the institution and the people we recommended to bring on,” trustees Chairman George Hamilton said, professing satisfaction with the outcome.

Holloway and Tidwell, he said, bring financial and operational experience that’s a timely additional given the sort of issues N.C. Central is likely to face in the next few years as it goes about “completing the funding” for a planned new business school and plotting enrollment expansions, Hamilton said.

Meanwhile, Herrera “understands the local community” and can help NCCU build ties to the state’s Latino community, the chairman said.

The university’s interest on that front stems from state-level demographics suggesting that Hispanics will account for a good bit of North Carolina’s future population growth. Hamilton said that creates a growth opportunity for N.C. Central given that it has a “tried and proven” model for serving first-generation college students.

Herrera is Self-Help’s senior vice president for Latino/Hispanic affairs and has been with the Durham bank since 1999. A native of Costa Rica, he served as a Carrboro alderman from 2001 to 2009, and is also the co-founder of the Latino Community Credit Union.

Holloway graduated from NCCU 1975 and went on to work for the Dow and Monsanto corporations. Tidwell, a Charlotte native, got his bachelor’s from Central in 1967, worked for a time for the Celanese Corp. and in 1972 went to work for the former Wachovia bank. He also has a degree from Wake Forest University and has been a trustee of Davidson College.

Tidwell is filling a partial term on the NCCU board opened by former trustee Darrell Allison’s promotion to a seat on the system Board of Governors. It runs until 2019. Herrera and Holloway are getting full, four-year terms. They’re replacing departing trustees Harold Epps and Paul Pope, who are term-limited after serving eight years.

Campus leaders are waiting to see whether the N.C. General Assembly gives new terms to two other trustees, Joan Higginbotham and Karyn Wilkerson. Both owed their place on the board to former Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who lost his re-election bid last year. The General Assembly, controlled by Republicans, moved quickly to strip McCrory’s Democratic replacement, Gov. Roy Cooper, of the power to select university trustees.

The move left the system Board of Governors in charge of appointing eight trustees, and legislators with four appointments. The trustees’ 13th seat goes to NCCU’s student-government president, who as of a campus election this spring is Michael Hopkins.

Locally, the system board also gave new terms to four trustees at UNC-Chapel Hill. Jeff Brown, Haywood Cochran, Chuck Duckett and Dwight Stone will each serve another four years. Stone is the UNC-Chapel Hill trustees’ chairman.

Ray Gronberg: 919-419-6648, @rcgronberg